Briefing 02: G7/D11 Summit outcomes

  1. The G7 is a group comprising the seven largest advanced economies in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US). With the exception of Japan, all the other members are primarily focused on the Euro-Atlantic region. Compounding the group’s Euro-Atlantic focus, the G7 also includes representatives from the European Union (EU);
  1. Held in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, the 47th G7 Summit saw the UK in the driving seat as president, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson acting as the host;
  1. Like G7 summits in the past, the 47th Summit ended with a Communiqué, outlining several key commitments:
    • End the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for the future, by providing a further 1 billion doses of vaccines and ensuring future cooperation to meet global health challenges;
    • Reinvigorate the global economy by continuing support for crisis response programmes while shifting the focus to providing growth and employment;
    • Secure future prosperity by championing freer and fairer trade within a reformed trading environment, combined with global cooperation on tax to prevent escalation of the race to low taxes;
    • Protect the planet by reaffirming the commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 and to halving emissions by 2030;
    • Increase partnerships with developing nations by providing US$100 billion to ‘build back better’. This is in partnership with the goal of offering a greener and more liberal alternative to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Belt and Road Initiative (BRI);
    • Embrace the values of democracy, equality, freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human dignity through the promotion of equality on a global and personal level; included in this commitment is a target to get forty million more girls into education;
  1. Some of these commitments were criticised as being insufficient. For example, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General claimed that one billion doses of vaccine was not enough to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. Meanwhile, climate activists criticised the lack of commitment to end the use of coal power and the failure to phase out more quickly the construction of diesel and petrol vehicles;
  1. However, it may be beyond the Communiqué where the 47th Summit has lasting impact. Indeed, from a geostrategic standpoint, this summit may end up as a milestone in the reordering of the international order:
    • Although the language remained veiled, the G7/D11 began to turn up the heat on the CCP – and not only in terms of the aforementioned pushback against the BRI. Although the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is not mentioned specifically in relation to the use of forced labour in Xinjiang, the Communiqué makes reference to these abuses through a commitment to eradicate forced labour in global supply chains. In addition, the democracies called for:
      • Further unfettered investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 virus, led by experts and organised by the World Health Organisation;
      • A free and open Indo-Pacific, with the maintenance of stability in the Taiwan Strait;
    • After much debate over Biden’s interest in the UK – and his presumed preference for EU in relation to the thorny issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol – the 47th Summit re-established the UK-US partnership, which has acted for the past eighty years to bind the free and open world together. Critically, on the first day of the summit, Boris Johnson and Joe Biden committed to a ‘New Atlantic Charter’. The new charter is meant to replicate the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which marked the beginning of the ‘special relationship՚ between the UK and US, cementing their role as the two democracies at the heart of an open international order;
    • The 47th Summit gave fresh impetus to transforming the G7 into the ‘D10’ – or, with the addition of South Africa as well as Australia, India and South Korea, the ‘D11’ – concept. It has been clear for some time that the G7 will lose relevance if it remains primarily a Euro-Atlantic club. This is why Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, decided to invite extra guests, namely Australia, India, South Africa, and South Korea, all large democracies, with some clipping at the heels of Canada and Italy in terms of economic output. Together these eleven democracies – importantly, straddling the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific – comprise 60% of the global population and 61% of the global economy. The D11 also reaffirmed their commitment to democratic principles and openness through the publication of an ‘Open Societies Statement’;
  1. In sum, this G7/D11 Summit will probably be remembered as an important one. As the first major international gathering of the great democracies since Covid-19 ravished the globe and Johnson was elected as prime minister and Biden took office as US president, the summit marks the start of a new geopolitical era,, the summit was important in its own right. But it also marks the moment where the world’s leading democratic powers – ‘convened’ and ‘realigned’ by Britain – acknowledge that the Indo-Pacific and the Euro-Atlantic regions are merging together to the extent that they are ready to start coordinating their efforts to push back against revisionist powers such as the PRC. In 2022, Germany, the host of the next G7 Summit, has big shoes to fill if it is to take the group forward in a new era of intensifying geopolitical competition.

John Dobson is Policy Relations and Events Coordinator at the Council on Geostrategy

Disclaimer

This publication should not be considered in any way to constitute advice. It is for knowledge and educational purposes only. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council on Geostrategy or the views of its Advisory Council.