What is the G7 Summit?
This year, the 47th G7 Summit will take place between 11th and 13th June in Carbis Bay in Cornwall, but what is it and why is it important?
In a nutshell, G7 stands for ‘Group of Seven’ and it is a gathering of government leaders from 7 of the world’s wealthiest nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, The United Kingdom, The United States and Japan. These countries have been meeting annually since the 1970s to discuss problems facing the world. These issues include the climate crisis, health emergencies and economic issues. The last time it was hosted in the UK was in 2013.
This year, the G7 Summit is particularly important because it is the first time the G7 leaders have met in person since 2019, when they were hosted by France. In 2020 President Donald Trump postponed his hosting of the G7 Summit due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Whilst he intended to reschedule the meeting after the pandemic, the ongoing fight against the virus, and subsequent lockdown and travel restrictions, meant that the G7 Summit didn’t end up taking place last year at all. This will be the first to take place since Joe Biden was elected President of The United States.
Whilst the G7 Summit itself will take place on 11th to 13th June, ministers from G7 governments meet throughout the year to discuss health, climate change and the environment, as well as international development. On 12th February the first of this year’s G7 ministerial meetings took place with finance ministers and central bank governors taking part.
Why it is important
The heads of government who will be attending the summit are from the world’s richest and most powerful countries. They have the ability to make huge and positive changes that will impact people across the globe. This year the summit is particularly important because the agenda includes the topic of how the world can rebuild and recover from the effects of the pandemic. In November of this year, world leaders will gather again in the UK for COP26 to discuss climate change.
Who will be in attendance?
Canada – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
France – President Emmanuel Macron
Germany – Chancellor Angela Merkel
Italy – Prime Minister Mario Draghi
UK – Prime Minister Boris Johnson
USA – President Joe Biden
Japan – Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the European Council President, Charles Michel will also be in attendance as representatives of The European Union.
What will be announced?
As this is the first G7 Summit since Brexit, the UK government has announced it would like to discuss global trade. It has also said it would like to discuss plans to tackle climate change, as well as how leaders can work together to strengthen themselves, and their countries, against any future pandemics.
It is essential that the G7 Summit is used as a platform to engage G7 countries in leading the way towards tackling the immediate global health and economic crises, created by the Coronavirus pandemic. They also need to seriously think about the ongoing climate crisis.
Although Boris Johnson launched the global “Race to Zero” campaign last year, which is aimed at spurring a global zero carbon recovery, there is still a lot that needs to be done to engage more nations in supporting the challenge of reducing their carbon emissions. That is why this is a particularly important topic for this year’s G7 Summit because it is a crisis that isn’t going away any time soon, unless it is tackled with a top down approach. The nations involved in the G7 Summit are amongst those with the worst levels of carbon emissions in the world so they have a real responsibility to tackle this during the summit.
The hope is that the G7 governments will also be encouraged discuss the issue of cancelling debt payments owed by low-income countries so that they can have the opportunity to rebuild and recover after the pandemic.
There is no denying that this year’s G7 Summit will be one of the most important ever held. Boris Johnson has an opportunity, and responsibility, to set the bar on how the world rebuilds following the devastation of the pandemic. He needs to ensure he speaks on behalf of people worldwide, not just those in the richest countries, like the UK. He has invited Australia, India and South Korea to the 2021 G7 summit, stating that he would like to expand it to become a group of ten democracies, with a suggestion to change the name to the ‘D10 Summit’. It is uncertain whether they have accepted this invitation yet or not.
The hope is that decisions made at the G7 Summit will help the world rebuild and ensure that all nations have a better future in sight, instead of returning to the bad habits of the ‘old normal’. There is a lot of pressure on attendees this year to get the world back on track after the worst pandemic in history, as well making plans to avoid the rising temperatures that have the potential to ruin our planet.