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G7 leaders tackle migration, AI and economic security on second and final day of summit in Italy

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G7 leaders tackle migration, AI and economic security on second and final day of summit in Italy
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G7 leaders tackle migration, AI and economic security on second and final day of summit in Italy

2024-06-15 02:43 Last Updated At:02:50

BARI, Italy (AP) — The Group of Seven leading industrialized nations turned their attention to migration, artificial intelligence, economic security and the Indo-Pacific region on Friday, the second and final day of their summit in Italy. The G7 leaders stressed their determination to meet global challenges “at a crucial moment in history.”

The gathering in a luxury resort in Italy’s southern Puglia region also discussed other major topics, such as financial support for Ukraine, the war in Gaza, climate change, Iran, the situation in the Red Sea, gender equality as well as China’s industrial policy and economic security.

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FILE - From left, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stand for a group photo at the G7, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, Italy. Pope Francis is taking his call for artificial intelligence to be developed and used according to ethical lines to the Group of Seven nations’ meeting in Puglia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

BARI, Italy (AP) — The Group of Seven leading industrialized nations turned their attention to migration, artificial intelligence, economic security and the Indo-Pacific region on Friday, the second and final day of their summit in Italy. The G7 leaders stressed their determination to meet global challenges “at a crucial moment in history.”

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres arrives for a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres arrives for a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jordan's King Abdullah II arrives on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Jordan's King Abdullah II arrives on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, left, shares a light moment with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as he is welcomed on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, left, shares a light moment with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as he is welcomed on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, India's prime minister Narendra Modi, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and President of World Bank, Ajay Banga share a light moment on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, India's prime minister Narendra Modi, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and President of World Bank, Ajay Banga share a light moment on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope Francis sits during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Pope Francis sits during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope Francis greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives to a G7 Working Session with Outreach Countries and International Countries during the G7 Summit in Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

Pope Francis greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives to a G7 Working Session with Outreach Countries and International Countries during the G7 Summit in Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

G7 world leaders and other leaders from guest nations attend a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

G7 world leaders and other leaders from guest nations attend a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, front right, arrives for bilateral talks with U.S. President Joe Biden, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, front right, arrives for bilateral talks with U.S. President Joe Biden, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A skydiver flies with a Canada flag as the Italian skydiving team puts on an exhibition for world leaders during the G7 Summit in Borgo Egnazia, Italy, on Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

A skydiver flies with a Canada flag as the Italian skydiving team puts on an exhibition for world leaders during the G7 Summit in Borgo Egnazia, Italy, on Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

FILE -From right, U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and European Council President Charles Michel watch a skydiving demo during the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations are turning their attention to migration on the second day of their summit Friday. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)

FILE -From right, U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and European Council President Charles Michel watch a skydiving demo during the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations are turning their attention to migration on the second day of their summit Friday. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)

Clockwise from left; European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend a roundtable session entitled "Africa, climate change and development" on the first day of a G7 world leaders summit, at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Clockwise from left; European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend a roundtable session entitled "Africa, climate change and development" on the first day of a G7 world leaders summit, at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

World Bank president Ajay Banga, right, speaks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Fasano, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

World Bank president Ajay Banga, right, speaks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Fasano, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, listens to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in a working session with world leaders during a G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, listens to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in a working session with world leaders during a G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, left, attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, left, attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“We are working together and with others to address the pressing challenges of our time,” the G7 leaders said in a final communique, noting their solidarity with Ukraine, support for a deal that would lead to an immediate cease-fire and release of hostages in Gaza, investment in sustainable infrastructure in Africa and commitments to address climate change and migration.

Divisions did emerge during the summit, however, notably over the lack of a reference to abortion in the summit's final declaration.

Migration was the first topic of discussions Friday, with the leaders mulling ways to combat trafficking and increase investment in countries from where migrants start out on often life-threatening journeys.

The topic is of particular interest to summit host Italy, which lies on one of the major routes into the European Union for people fleeing war and poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Right-wing Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, known for her hard-line stance on migration, has been eager to increase investment and funding for African nations as a means of reducing migratory pressure on Europe.

The leaders “launched the G7 Coalition to prevent and counter the smuggling of migrants,” the summit's final declaration said, noting the seven nations would “focus on the root causes of irregular migration, efforts to enhance border management and curb transnational organized crime, and safe and regular pathways for migration.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he and Meloni - who he described as “fantastic” - saw “eye to eye” on migration.

“We can’t have criminal gangs decide who comes to our countries," Sunak said at a news conference Friday evening.

Meloni has a controversial five-year deal with neighboring Albania for the Balkan country to host thousands of asylum-seekers while Italy processes their claims. She has also spearheaded the “Mattei Plan” for Africa, a continent-wide strategy to increase economic opportunities at home and so discourage migration to Europe.

For its part, Britain has a deal with Rwanda to deport some asylum seekers to the African country, although no flights have yet taken off. Human rights organizations have blasted the agreement as unethical and unworkable.

The United States has also been struggling with a growing number of migrants at its southern border. President Joe Biden introduced new policies to curb migration after a bill he tried to get through Congress failed to pass.

However, immigrant rights advocates have filed lawsuits over the new policies, and it is unclear whether they will be able to withstand the legal challenges.

Apart from the G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S., the Italian hosts also invited several African leaders — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Kenyan President William Ruto and Tunisian President Kais Saied — to press Meloni’s migration and development initiatives.

But rights groups decried what they said was a lack of ambition in support for developing countries.

The ONE Campaign, which advocates for investment in Africa, said it had found the G7 and EU institutions' share of aid going to Africa was at its lowest point since 1973.

“Without any concrete action, the G7 in Italy amounts to no more than pointless platitudes,” said David McNair, executive director at The ONE Campaign. Although the summit's final statement “reflects promises of increased partnership between the G7 and Africa, there are very few specifics on what new financing, if any, will be available.”

Pope Francis also became the first pontiff to address a G7 summit, delivering a speech on artificial intelligence. Other invitees include Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The summit opened Thursday with a strong show of support for Kyiv: an agreement on a U.S. proposal to back a $50 billion loan to Ukraine using frozen Russian assets as collateral.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the freezing of Russian assets as “theft” and vowed it “will not go unpunished.”

Biden also signed a bilateral security agreement with Zelenskyy, aiming to send a signal to Russia of American resolve in supporting Kyiv.

But some cracks appeared among the G7 leaders, notably French President Emmanuel Macron deploring a lack of a reference to abortion in the summit's final document.

The statement after last year’s summit in Hiroshima, Japan, expressed a commitment to provide access to safe and legal abortion to women and girls, and pledged to defend gender equality and the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The word “abortion” was absent from this year's final communique, although it included a reference to promoting sexual and reproductive health rights.

“It was not possible to reach agreement on these things in the room,” a senior EU official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the private discussions.

Asked on Thursday about reports that abortion would not be included in the final text, Macron said it was something he regretted. France “has included women’s right to abortion, the freedom of decision on one’s own body, into its Constitution,” he said, adding that France defends “this vision of equality between women and men.”

“It’s not a vision that’s shared across all the political spectrum,” Macron said, replying to a question from a reporter.

Meloni, who campaigned on a “God, Family, Fatherland” motto, has denied she is rolling back rights to abortions, which have been legal in Italy since 1978. But the center-left opposition has warned that her initiatives are chipping away at those rights, including by giving pro-life groups access to women considering abortions.

Associated Press writers Colleen Long in Borgo Egnazia, Italy, and Maria Grazia Murru in Bari, Italy, contributed to this report.

FILE - From left, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stand for a group photo at the G7, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, Italy. Pope Francis is taking his call for artificial intelligence to be developed and used according to ethical lines to the Group of Seven nations’ meeting in Puglia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE - From left, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stand for a group photo at the G7, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, Italy. Pope Francis is taking his call for artificial intelligence to be developed and used according to ethical lines to the Group of Seven nations’ meeting in Puglia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres arrives for a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres arrives for a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jordan's King Abdullah II arrives on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Jordan's King Abdullah II arrives on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, left, shares a light moment with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as he is welcomed on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, left, shares a light moment with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as he is welcomed on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, India's prime minister Narendra Modi, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and President of World Bank, Ajay Banga share a light moment on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, India's prime minister Narendra Modi, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and President of World Bank, Ajay Banga share a light moment on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope Francis sits during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Pope Francis sits during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope Francis greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives to a G7 Working Session with Outreach Countries and International Countries during the G7 Summit in Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

Pope Francis greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives to a G7 Working Session with Outreach Countries and International Countries during the G7 Summit in Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

G7 world leaders and other leaders from guest nations attend a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

G7 world leaders and other leaders from guest nations attend a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, front right, arrives for bilateral talks with U.S. President Joe Biden, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, front right, arrives for bilateral talks with U.S. President Joe Biden, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A skydiver flies with a Canada flag as the Italian skydiving team puts on an exhibition for world leaders during the G7 Summit in Borgo Egnazia, Italy, on Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

A skydiver flies with a Canada flag as the Italian skydiving team puts on an exhibition for world leaders during the G7 Summit in Borgo Egnazia, Italy, on Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

FILE -From right, U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and European Council President Charles Michel watch a skydiving demo during the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations are turning their attention to migration on the second day of their summit Friday. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)

FILE -From right, U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and European Council President Charles Michel watch a skydiving demo during the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations are turning their attention to migration on the second day of their summit Friday. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)

Clockwise from left; European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend a roundtable session entitled "Africa, climate change and development" on the first day of a G7 world leaders summit, at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Clockwise from left; European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend a roundtable session entitled "Africa, climate change and development" on the first day of a G7 world leaders summit, at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

World Bank president Ajay Banga, right, speaks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Fasano, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

World Bank president Ajay Banga, right, speaks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Fasano, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, listens to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in a working session with world leaders during a G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, listens to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in a working session with world leaders during a G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, left, attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, left, attend the Partnership for global infrastructure and investment event at the G7 summit, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Caribbean officials on Friday demanded more access to funding and help in fighting climate change, weeks after Hurricane Beryl devastated the region.

The urgent request was made at an OAS meeting in Washington, D.C., where officials noted that the historic storm exposed the vulnerability of small islands. Beryl killed at least seven people in the Caribbean and razed nearly all infrastructure on some of the islands that make up Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“(We) are on the front line,” said Virginia Albert-Poyotte, the delegate for St. Lucia, who asked that climate financing be made more available and that financial institutions include special disaster clauses.

She and others noted that small Caribbean islands often have rickety infrastructure and fragile economies dependent on tourism and fishing.

A resolution approved Friday by the OAS stated that previous hurricanes have led to higher insurance premiums, unemployment and poverty. It called for the immediate operation of a loss and damage fund agreed upon at previous U.N. climate change conferences to help vulnerable countries rebuild and also prepare for future storms.

The resolution also requested that financial and development institutions release funds to small nations affected by disasters on a concessionary basis, “free from onerous conditions,” and to “cancel, defer or reschedule debt repayments.”

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro noted that funds flowing toward islands affected by Beryl are insufficient, with the U.N. and Caribbean leaders requesting at least $9 million in assistance.

He warned that the severity of natural disasters is increasing, with Beryl as proof.

“This is yet another indication that the climate crisis is worsening,” he said.

Chet Neymour, the Bahamian delegate, criticized how top greenhouse gas emitters worldwide have remained “silent and noncommittal” about their responsibilities, noting that the Caribbean is one of the regions most affected by climate change and among those that contribute least to it.

“Nations like my own have had to go at it alone,” he said, noting that Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Bahamas in 2019 for two days as a Category 5 storm. “Lives are at stake.”

Officials talked about the need to invest in early warning systems and resilient infrastructure, noting that the Atlantic hurricane season has just started.

Delegate Lynn Young of Belize said governments also must prioritize talks about climate financing.

“Hurricane Beryl underscores an urgent reality,” he said. “ The crisis is here.”

Scientists are debating what exactly climate change does to hurricanes, but they agree it makes storms more likely to rapidly intensify.

Hurricane Beryl was the first-ever Category 4 storm to form in the Atlantic in June, going from an unnamed depression to a Category 4 in just 48 hours. A major factor in its quick intensification was record warm waters in the Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a well above average 2024 hurricane season, with between 17 and 25 named storms. The forecast calls for as many as 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of them hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Follow AP’s climate coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

Palm trees wilt after being uprooted by Hurricane Beryl in St. Patrick, Grenada, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Haron Forteau)

Palm trees wilt after being uprooted by Hurricane Beryl in St. Patrick, Grenada, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Haron Forteau)

A fisherman looks at fishing vessels damaged by Hurricane Beryl at the Bridgetown Fisheries in Barbados, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

A fisherman looks at fishing vessels damaged by Hurricane Beryl at the Bridgetown Fisheries in Barbados, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Beryl lie in Clifton, Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thursday, July 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Lucanus Ollivierre)

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Beryl lie in Clifton, Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thursday, July 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Lucanus Ollivierre)

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