The G7 summit for the year 2021 started on 11 June. The Group of Seven leaders hoped to wrap up their first meeting in two years with a bang on Sunday. They promised to vaccinate the world against the coronavirus, make big firms pay their fair share of taxes, and use a mix of technology and money to combat climate change.
They want to demonstrate that international collaboration has recovered. Post the pandemic and the unpredictable behavior of former US President Donald Trump. They also want to signal that the club of wealthy democracies, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, is a greater friend to poorer countries than authoritarian adversaries like China.
When the leaders publish their final communique, it's unclear how concrete the group's commitments on coronavirus vaccines, the economy, and the environment will be. It was also uncertain whether all of the leaders would support the US proposal for China to be sanctioned for suppressing its Uyghur minority and other human rights violations.
What is the G7?
The G7 (Group of Seven) is an association of the world's seven most developed economies. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the countries involved.
Despite having the world's largest economy and population, China has never been a member. Because of its low per capita wealth, it is not considered an advanced economy in the same sense that the G7 members are.
The European Union is represented, and this year India, South Korea, and Australia have also been invited.
What is the role of the G7?
Ministers and officials from member countries meet throughout the year, negotiate agreements, and issue joint remarks on world events.
The G7 finance ministers decided to raise taxes on multinational corporations ahead of this year's summit.
The major event takes place when the G7 leaders meet to discuss the most pressing concerns of the day.
What was on the agenda this year at G7 Summit?
The Queen and members of the Royal Family were present at a banquet at the Eden Project on Friday night.
For the rest of the meeting, the main topic of discussion was Covid recovery, which included "a stronger global health system that can protect us all from future pandemics." Climate change and trade were also on the agenda.
On Thursday afternoon, Boris Johnson met with President Joe Biden. They discussed a variety of issues, including the President's concerns about the state of the peace in Northern Ireland. Promoting their future prosperity by championing free and fair trade was also on the agenda.
What actually happened?
During the summit on the southwest coast of England, Brexit threw a cloud on that ambition. Problems with new UK-EU trade laws have heightened tensions in Northern Ireland, according to European Union leaders and US President Joe Biden.
The leaders grinned for the cameras on the beach in cliff-fringed Carbis Bay, a hamlet, and resort that turned a traffic-clogged fortress for the conference, but the mood has been good overall. Last year's G-7 meeting in the United States was canceled due to the pandemic.
After the Trump administration's "America First" strategy, America's allies were obviously relieved to see the US return to being an active international actor. Johnson praised Biden as a "breath of fresh air" at the G-7. "It's excellent to have a US president part of the club and very willing to cooperate," French President Emmanuel Macron said after chatting with Biden one-on-one.
During their sessions, the re-energized G-7 made bold declarations about girls' education, preventing future pandemics, and harnessing the financial system to fund green growth. Above all, they promised to share vaccination doses with less developed countries in desperate need. Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that the group will commit to at least 1 billion doses, with half coming from the United States and the other 100 million from the United Kingdom.
G7 leaders pledged to assist poor nations in their transition away from coal. The White House's commitment to help countries transition away from coal power includes a strategy to phase out coal-burning unless it contains carbon capture technology.
The G7 will stop subsidizing new coal-fired power plants in poorer nations and provide up to £2 billion ($2.8 billion) to countries that stop using the fuel.
The "Build Back Better for the World" initiative promises to provide funding for infrastructure projects ranging "from railways in Africa to wind farms in Asia" in order to hasten the worldwide transition to renewable energy. The strategy is in response to China's "belt and road" effort, which has boosted Beijing's global clout.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address
PM Narendra Modi described India as a natural ally of the G7, saying that democracy and freedom are part of India's civilizational ethos. He also expressed concern that open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber attacks, emphasizing the need to ensure that cyberspace is used to advance democratic values rather than to subvert them.
Modi's comments on cyberspace can be viewed in the context of disinformation, commercial data theft, and cyber-attacks becoming part of government's strategies when he was invited to appear as the lead speaker at a session on "Open Societies" during the G7 summit this year.
India called for global solidarity and open democratic societies to address issues such as health, climate change, and economic recovery on Sunday. The G7 Summit's Outreach Sessions reiterated the importance of embracing "values that bind us together," such as respect for international rules and norms, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message of global unity was well received.
PM Modi remarked during the climate change session that countries acting in isolation cannot maintain the planet's atmosphere, biodiversity, or oceans, and urged for collective action on climate change, according to the statement. India was the only G-20 country on track to meet its Paris obligations, he stated.
The G7 Summit produced a unified statement reiterating their shared commitment to open societies, democratic ideals, and multilateralism, which this year included countries like India, the Republic of Korea, and South Africa in addition to the primary members of the gathering.
"As leaders of over half of the world's population living in democracies, we believe it is imperative that we reaffirm and encourage others to embrace the values that bind us together, including our respect for international rules and norms," the statement said.
Criticism by experts about the G7 Summit
Rich nations reaffirmed their goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and agreed to safeguard and restore 30% of the natural world by the end of this decade at the G7 conference but failed to offer the finances experts believe are required to achieve such goals.
Boris Johnson was counting on a good G7 agreement on climate finance to pave the way for the crucial UN climate talks, known as Cop26, to take place in Glasgow this November. Rich countries contribute climate funding to poorer countries to assist them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the effects of climate change. It was expected to reach $100 billion per year by 2020 but has fallen far short.
Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace, said: "The G7 has failed to set us up for a successful Cop26, as trust is sorely lacking between rich and developing countries."
Malik Amin Aslam, climate minister of Pakistan, said: "The G7 announcement on climate finance is really peanuts in the face of an existential catastrophe."
G7 plan to donate 1 billion COVID 19 vaccine shots to poorer nations lacks ambition, is much too slow, and demonstrates that G7 countries are still grappling with the largest public health catastrophe in a century.
While UN Secretary-Antonio Guterres applauded the move, he also stated that more was required.
"We need more than that," he said of the G7 plan. The world needs a global vaccination strategy. There is still a long way to go in terms of acting logically, with a feeling of urgency, and with the priorities of a war economy, according to him.
According to Antonio Guterres, if individuals in poorer nations are not immunized as soon as possible, the virus will mutate and become resistant to the new vaccinations.