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Key takeaways from this year’s G7 summit

Over the weekend, leaders of countries with international influence gathered in Hiroshima to discuss the most pressing challenges our world is currently facing. We break down the outcomes of these talks and make clear what remains to be achieved.

For the last few days, leaders of the world’s most advanced democracies have held meetings in Hiroshima to discuss the most pressing challenges we currently face as a global society.

The Group of 7, known as G7, comprises countries with outsized international influence including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US.

On the agenda was the war in Ukraine, the West’s supply chain dependency on China, nuclear non-proliferation, artificial intelligence, economic cooperation, and the climate crisis.

In an open letter prior to the summit, Global Citizen (GC) asked for a stronger focus on extreme poverty and the environmental emergency, stressing that a more concerted push for a fundamental shift in the scale, urgency, and quality of funding to tackle these issues was necessary.

The central targets they called for were that wealthy nations keep their promises, that development banks reform to free up funding, and that big polluters commit to going net zero.

In the aftermath of the event, we break down the outcomes of the talks, whether GC’s cries were heard, our own key takeaways, and make clear what remains to be achieved.

EU @ G7 Summit 2023


G7 declarations issued on Saturday singled out China on problems including Taiwan, nuclear arms, economic coercion (using trade to bully other countries), and human rights abuses, underscoring the wide-ranging tensions between Beijing and the group of powerful nations.

While attempting to maintain a united, balanced position, leaders pledged to ‘de-risk’ without ‘decoupling’ from China, stating they would reduce exposure to the world’s second-largest economy in everything from chips to minerals.

Stressing their commitment to ‘economic resilience’ they vowed to take steps to ‘reduce excessive dependences in out critical supply chains,’ but they also said they wanted ‘constructive and stable relations’ with China and added that their policies were not designed to harm China, nor to ‘seek to thwart its economic progress and development.’

Going forward, the G7 will push for a ‘level playing field for their workers and companies and seek to address the challenges posed by China’s non-market policies and practices and foster resilience to economic coercion.’

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In addition, they reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across Taiwan and voiced concerns about the human rights situation in China, calling on its leaders not to conduct interference activities or undermine the integrity of the G7’s democratic institutions.

‘The de-risking approach I think was the easiest way for the G7 to reach some consensus moving forward on China,’ Jonathan Berkshire Miller, director of a public policy think tank, told Reuters.

‘The language shift indicates that U.S. allies understand the risks of deep economic engagement with China but also realise that a complete severance of economic ties is not realistic.’

Following the release communique, China expressed ‘strong dissatisfaction’ with the G7’s joint statement, complaining that the group ‘insisted on smearing and attacking China.’

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In response to Russia’s ‘war of aggression,’ leaders announced a set of concrete actions to intensify the G7’s diplomatic, financial, humanitarian, and security support for Ukraine, to increase the costs to Russia and those supporting its conflict efforts, and to continue to counter the negative impacts of Russia’s war on the rest of the world, particularly on the most vulnerable people.

Though the group’s sanctions have so far failed to stop Russia’s invasion, President Biden pledged military assistance – from ammunition and artillery to armoured vehicles and training – worth up to $375m to Kyiv, telling Zelenskiy the US was doing all possible to strengthen Ukraine’s defences.

‘Together with the entire G7 we have Ukraine’s back and I promise we’re not going anywhere,’ said Biden.

Leaders also announced new efforts to further disrupt Russia’s ability to source inputs for its war; close evasion loopholes; further reduce reliance on Russian energy and limit its future extractive capacity; and squeeze Russia’s access to the international financial system.

Ukraine's Zelenskiy Meets World Leaders on Sidelines of G7 Summit

‘Russia’s brutal war of aggression represents a threat to the whole world in breach of fundamental norms, rules and principles of the international community,’ reads the final communique. ‘We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes to bring a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.’

Zelenskiy, who arrived in Hiroshima on Saturday, is seeking wider support for a ten-point peace plan that demands that Russian forces retreat from Ukraine before any negotiations can begin.

He’s doing so by turning his attention to winning over non-aligned countries such as Brazil and India to increase the pressure on Russia. Indian Prime Minister Modi, who has so far refused to condemn the invasion, said India would do ‘everything we can’ to help end the war.’

By contrast, Brazilian President Lula de Silva said that he ‘vehemently repudiates the use of force as a means of resolving disputes.’

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Economy and the environment

Climate and development finance were top priorities, especially as they are increasingly being perceived as a vector of competition with China and Russia. This has triggered greater G7 cohesion on proposals such as jointly mobilising $100bn annually in climate finance by 2025.

Leaders outlined the way that G7 partners are working to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Recognising that this urgently requires significant new incentives, industrial policies, and public as well as private investments, they committed to work together to ensure that regulations and investments will make clean energy technologies more affordable for all nations and help drive a global, just energy transition that will leave no one behind.

‘In order to address the current energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and achieve our common goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, we highlight the real and urgent need and opportunity to accelerate clean energy transitions also as a means of increasing energy security at the same time,’ reads the communique.

However, the group’s vague commitments to phasing out fossil fuels and meeting their common goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest in order to keep a global warming limit of 1.5C within reach once again attracted criticism.

Official] G7 Hiroshima Summit 2023

‘The gap between G7 ambition and what climate science demands is stark and widening,’ said campaign organisation Greenpeace in a statement. ‘When G7 leaders refuse to shift gear, they doom current and future generations to sink deeper in a climate crisis. Time is running out.’

In terms of combatting extreme poverty, engagement with non-G7 members took centre stage as the group released a collective statement on food security, concrete offers to emerging countries on minerals and energy, as well as a bid to better represent Africa at the G20 to reflect this.

Leaders highlighted their concern that serious challenges to debt sustainability are undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

They reiterated the urgency of addressing debt vulnerabilities in low- and middle-income countries, mobilised $14.9bn to build more resilient, secure, and inclusive food systems, and praised the efforts underway by multilateral development banks to review and transform their business models to better address climate change, pandemics, fragility, and conflict, which are integral to achieving poverty reduction and shared prosperity.

‘The question is how these countries execute what they pledged and whether the efforts to implement those pledges actually gel together,’ says political scientist Ian Chong, who deems how G7 member states translate this consensus into tangible, progressive action in the future essential.