Looking back at the outcomes of the G7 Summit
It has been almost a month since the G7 Summit took place in Elmau. Our conclusion: Some progress can be seen but the overall results are insufficient. Although investments in the infrastructure of countries in the Global South were announced, structural changes of the economic and financial system are missing once again.
The G7 agenda of the German government, set in the beginning of the year, was shaken by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Priorities relevant to development policy, such as the climate crisis, human rights, economic transformation and global health thus were no longer the focus of geopolitical discussions. Russia’s war of aggression is not only a humanitarian catastrophe for Ukraine. It also worsens the already inadequate food security in many countries. Since the G7 countries pledged to lift 500 million people out of hunger and poverty in 2015, the number of people suffering from hunger has steadily increased again. Nonetheless, there is still a lack of stocktaking or an action plan on how to achieve the goal by 2030.
“In addition to commitments to direct humanitarian aid, we would have wished that structural problems of the food system and world trade had been more on the agenda,” Mathias Mogge, chair of VENRO, evaluates “The results do not sufficiently take into account the interests of people in the countries in the Global South. Clear commitments are missing in the final declaration of the G7. We need a food system that feeds people without being dependent on imports, protects the environment and makes societies more resilient.”
In an interview before the G7 Summit, Patricia Miranda, member of the Steering Committee expressed her concern a: “It is important to also recognize the responsibilities of the G7 regarding the impact of this conflict for developing countries, such as the inflation and food crisis. Those regions are more affected by limited fiscal space with scarce or no access to liquid assets and concessional finance. More generally speaking, the current global financial architecture, sustained by the G7, is a threat for our countries as it exacerbates poverty and inequalities in times of crises.
Regarding financial issues, the outcomes of the G7 Summit are disappointing. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the ongoing debt crisis, which puts a heavy strain on public budgets. The G7 merely reaffirmed its commitment to the G20’s Common Framework for Debt Treatments. Private creditors are asked to participate in debt relief, without any further steps being taken in this regard.
The initiative to mobilise 600 billion US dollars for the development of infrastructure in developing and emerging countries is welcomed by the Civil7. Unfortunately, a large part of the announced sum comes from existing funds. Jürgen Maier, director of the German NGO Forum on Environment and Development furthermore, comments: “The promised investments must be geared towards social and ecological criteria as well as specific local needs. The global energy transition alone will require more than a trillion dollars in investment annually in developing countries by 2030.”
The climate policy results of the G7 Summit also fell short of the expectations of civil society organizations. Unfortunately, the G7 have not committed to a coal phase-out by 2030. The final declaration also states that investments in gas will continue to be made on a transitional basis. This is a step in the wrong direction given the G7’s previous commitment to exit international fossil fuel financing.
As a positive result Civil7 sees the support of all four pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which aims to rapidly develop and equitably distribute COVID-19 tools. However, the G7 countries in particular have stood in the way of a patent waiver which would significantly improve equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and medicines. The presented G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness does not make much progress in this respect and does not change the existing structural problems and dependencies.
Civil7 welcomes as well that the G7 as well as Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa have published the joint “Resilient Democracy Statement”. It intends to better protect civil society spaces online and offline, to strengthen transparent, accountable, inclusive and participatory governance, and to advance a program to protect human rights defenders and to fight against corruption.
What is important now is that all the commitments are translated into actions. After the Summit Civil7 calls the G7 to continue the dialogue with civil society actors, to fulfil their commitments and to contribute to maintaining multilateralism.
We call for #morethanapromise
Read the detailed analysis of the G7 summit results.