G7 Recognizes Persistent Inequalities, Does Not Reach Consensus on Climate
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The 2017 Group of 7 (G7) agreed on a Leaders’ Communiqué that addresses commitments on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate and energy, inequalities, human mobility, trade, and other topics.

On the 2030 Agenda, the Communiqué recognizes persistent inequalities and observes that the world is “still far from making poverty history, from reaching the ‘zero hunger’ objective and from ensuring that future generations will enjoy justice and peace as well as a cleaner and safer environment”.

On climate, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the European Commission (EC) “reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, as previously stated at the Ise-Shima Summit”; the Communiqué states that the US is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.

27 May 2017: The 2017 Summit of the Group of 7 (G7) issued a Leaders’ Communiqué and adopted the G7 Roadmap on a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment, a G7 People-Centered Action Plan on Innovation, Skills and Labor, and the G7 Taormina Statement on the Fight Against Terrorism and Violent Extremism.

The Taormina Summit brought together the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US from 26-27 May 2017, in Taormina, Italy. Under the Presidency of Italy, the Summit addressed the theme ‘Building the Foundations of Renewed Trust,’ with a focus on three pillars: citizen safety; economic, environmental and social sustainability and the reduction of inequalities; and innovation, skills and labor in the age of the Next Production Revolution. The Summit further discussed food security, human mobility, women’s empowerment and international relations. It also featured a session on innovation and development in Africa.

The G7 Communiqué states that the US “is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.”

On the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Communiqué recognizes persistent inequalities and observes that the world is “still far from making poverty history, from reaching the ‘zero hunger’ objective and from ensuring that future generations will enjoy justice and peace as well as a cleaner and safer environment.” Leaders stress their intention to improve knowledge and competences across all sectors and regions by fostering innovation and skills and investing in education, health and training.

On climate, the Communiqué states that the US “is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.” The Heads of State and of Governments of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission (EC) “reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, as previously stated at the Ise-Shima Summit.” In 2016, leaders’ committed to take the lead by, inter alia: promoting increased ambition over time; participating in the regular review of global stocktake every five years; formulating and communicating low greenhouse (GHG) gas emissions development strategies in advance of the 2020 deadline; and continuing efforts to provide and mobilize increased climate finance from public and private sector sources.

On energy, the leaders commit to strengthen collective energy security and to harness economic opportunities offered by the transformation of the energy sector and clean technology.

On food security and nutrition, the leaders confirm their commitment to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Leaders state their commitment to support food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa through a number of possible actions, including better targeting, increasing Official Development Assistance (ODA) and encouraging blended finance and public-private partnerships, including to reach the most neglected areas and most vulnerable people.

On inequality, the Communiqué welcomes the ‘Bari Policy Agenda on Growth and Inequalities’ adopted by the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors as a framework to foster inclusive growth. Leaders recognize that inequality can contribute to regional disparities within countries, undermine intergenerational mobility, jeopardize social cohesion and put stress on institutions and state their commitment to strengthen capabilities and resilience of economies and communities to adjust to the pace of change and make the global economy work for everyone.

On gender, the Communiqué recognizes gender equality as “fundamental for the fulfillment of human rights” and a crucial contribution towards sustainable development. Leaders commit to mainstreaming gender equality into all policies. The Roadmap focuses on structural policies to deliver gender equality through enabling women’s labor force participation, entrepreneurship, economic empowerment and full and equal participation in society.

On trade, the Communiqué supports the removal of all trade-distorting practices and commits to working to improve the functioning of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and better application of environmental, social, labor, safety standards and tax cooperation.

On human mobility, the leaders call for coordinated efforts at national and international levels to address the large-scale movement of migrants and refugees, among other actions.

On Africa, the leaders emphasize Africa’s security, stability and sustainable development as “high priorities” and state their goal of strengthening cooperation and dialogue with African countries and regional organizations to better prevent, respond to and manage crises and conflicts and contribute to progress on the 2030 Agenda. They further support efforts to expand reliable access to energy on the continent and unlock Africa’s potential through education, gender equality, human capital development and innovation, as well as progress on food security, decent employment and health, in line with the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.

The Communiqué further addresses a number of issues related to foreign policy and the global economy.

Speaking during a session on reinforcing the partnership between the UN and Africa, UN Secretary-General António Guterres identified six ways the G7 can foster inclusive, innovation-driven growth and development in Africa, including through: investing in young people and addressing high levels of youth unemployment through education and capacity building, particularly for women; disseminating new technologies; investing in productive sectors to create decent jobs; investing in infrastructure that links regions, countries and communities; and leveraging resources and financing for development. He emphasized the importance of changing the narrative about Africa “from crisis-based” to “opportunities-based,” stressing that the “full and true story of Africa is that of a continent with enormous potential for success.”

In advance of the Summit, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urged the G7 leaders to adopt its six-point action plan to protect refugee and migrant children. The six points focus on: protecting child refugees and migrants from exploitation and violence; ending detention of children seeking refugee status; keeping families together; keeping all refugee and migrant children learning and giving them access to health and other quality services; pressing for action to address the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants; and promoting measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization. [Summit Website] [The G7 Taormina Leaders’ Communiqué] [G7 Roadmap for a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment] [G7 People-Centered Action Plan on Innovation, Skills and Labor] [UN Press Release on UN Secretary-General Statement] [UN Secretary-General Statement] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on 2016 Summit]

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