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G-7 Summit: Biden, world leaders pledge 1B donated COVID-19 vaccines

World leaders bumped elbows on the shores of Britain to begin the 47th G-7 Summit on Friday, laying out a pledge to donate COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the globe still in the throes of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Group of Seven, consisting of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan, is meeting meet from Friday to Sunday in the southwest of England. Representatives from the European Union will also attend.

The group posed for a socially distant photo on the beach Friday morning. For much of the last year, these countries have relied on virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

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G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, for three-day talks in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Last year’s summit was scheduled to be held in the United States before the pandemic caused its cancelation. British Prime Minister was excited to see everyone in person on Friday.

"Can I begin by welcoming you all here to Carbis Bay? It’s genuinely wonderful to see everybody in person, I can’t say what a difference it makes," Johnson said at the start of a roundtable discussion. "You’ve all been going through the most wretched pandemic the world has faced for at least our lifetimes."

"I actually think that this is a meeting that genuinely needs to happen because we need to make sure we learn lessons from the pandemic. We need to make sure we don’t repeat some of the errors that we have made in the course of the last 18 months or so and we put in place what is needed to allow our economies to recover.

Johnson dismissed the media to allow the dignitaries to conduct business in private.

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G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, for three-day talks in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a White House fact sheet, Friday’s agenda includes the COVID-19 pandemic, the Earth’s climate, Russia, China, the Middle East and the global economy.

"Today, President Biden will meet with G7 leaders to discuss ways to forge a more fair, sustainable, and inclusive global economy that meets the unique challenges of our time," the White House said. "President Biden and G7 partners are committed to a global recovery that benefits the middle class and working families at home and around the world."

Leading up to the summit, Biden made waves by encouraging fellow leaders to join the U.S. in donating spare vaccine doses to poorer countries. Biden pledged 500 million doses over the next two years.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccines: Biden asks world leaders to join US in donating doses

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the group would match the U.S., bringing the total to 1 billion doses.

"At the G-7 Summit, I hope my fellow leaders will make similar pledges so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and build back better from coronavirus," Johnson said, referencing a slogan that he and Biden have both used.

The summit marks the first overseas trip for Biden since taking office in January. On Wednesday, he and Johnson renewed longstanding ties by signing a new Atlantic Charter.

RELATED: Biden, Johnson meet for 1st time to reaffirm ties, manage differences

"Our revitalised Atlantic Charter, building on the commitments and aspirations set out eighty years ago, affirms our ongoing commitment to sustaining our enduring values and defending them against new and old challenges," the White House said in a statement. "We commit to working closely with all partners who share our democratic values and to countering the efforts of those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions.

The G-7 leaders will attend a banquet Friday evening, hosted by the Royal family. Biden is set to become the 13th American president to meet with Queen Elizabeth II during her 68-year reign.

Biden’s trip to the UK wraps up Sunday when holds another audience with her majesty. When he departs the UK, Biden will head to Brussels, Belgium for a NATO summit, then Switzerland for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This story was reported from Atlanta.