What is the role of G7?
Originally “G8”, the group was established in 1975 as an informal forum to bring leaders from the world’s largest industrial nations together.
Over the years, annual G7 summits have evolved into a high-profile platform that shapes political responses to global challenges especially in areas like economics, trade, security, and climate change.
In response to policy issues, leaders from major economic powers can take political directions that exert ‘ripple’ effects worldwide across organisations and institutions.
Essentially, although G7 decisions are not legally binding, their political influence is huge.
Which countries are members of the G7?
The G7 is an informal group of seven countries - the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, the representatives of which attend an annual summit with European Union officials and other separate invitees.
The member countries collectively share 40% of global GDP and 10% of the world’s population.
Why are countries like Russia not G7 members?
The G7 forum was originally “G8” up until 2014 when it still included Russia. However, that year the country was expelled from the platform due to its invasion and annexation of Crimea, a peninsula of Ukrainian territory.
The G7 state their commitment to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, therefore Russia’s actions cost them their seat.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would veto any proposal from Russia to rejoin unless Moscow “ceases aggressive and destabilising activity.”
Other exclusions include China, a country that never received an invitation to the group. As liberal democracies, the G7 hosts nations that share similar values and international aims.
Therefore, an authoritarian political system that operates exclusively under the oversight of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is regarded as incompatible.
Unlike existing G7 countries with elected leaders, China’s system runs counter to this.
Furthermore, ongoing reports of China’s genocide of Muslim minorities (Uyghurs) in Xinjiang are also crimes against humanity under investigation, according to a BBC report.
Currently, China is rated “Not Free” according to the ‘Freedom in the World’ report by Freedom House in 2022.
China and Russia do however remain in the G20 (Group of 20) intergovernmental forum.
What has the G7 achieved in its history?
In its first few years, the G7 primarily focused on developing the global economy, and expanded into addressing security policy and foreign policy in the 1980s.
These days, a wider range of issues from environmental to socio-political are explored.
Recently, the G7 has seen achievements such as stabilising financial markets, containing AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and combating climate change.
Why is world closing watching the 2022 G7 Summit?
Germany assumed the G7 Presidency on 1 January 2022, and is currently hosting the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps.
This year’s forum, spanning June 26-28, is particularly vital as we are living through many alarming challenges: climate change, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and Russia’s war against Ukraine plus the global food crisis that it could cause.
These situations threaten to push more populations into extreme poverty, hence why the world is watching this year’s summit very closely.