What to know about the 2022 G7 Summit

IReaders from seven of the world’s richest countries are gathered at this year’s G7 Summit in Germany’s Bavarian Alps on Sunday to discuss the world’s most pressing issues. On the agenda for the June 26-28 event are the Russian invasion of Ukraine, war-exacerbated global economic crises, vaccine equity and the climate emergency.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is the chair of the G7 this year, said earlier at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin in March that the war in Ukraine “must not lead us, as the G7, to neglect our responsibility for global challenges, like the climate crisis or the pandemic.”

What is the G7?

The G7 is made up of seven of the world’s richest countries, which meet annually to discuss global security, economic and climate issues. This year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the US President Joe Biden must be present.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel will also be present this year, as is usual for EU leaders.

“It’s a gathering of some of the most economically and politically powerful democracies in the world… that is taking place at a time when we have the biggest authoritarian expansionist threat since Nazi Germany invaded Europe,” says Nicole Sedaca, Executive Vice President of Freedom. House, a US nonprofit that tracks democracies. “What we will look for is how much of their political and economic power they will use to really quell Russian aggression.”

The G7 president can invite other nations, and the leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa are expected to attend.

Although Russia joined the group in 1998 – and the name changed to G8 – the country has been excluded since 2014 after annexing Crimea.

The G7, as it is now known, was first formed after the 1973 oil crisis, which led to a deep recession and rising inflation. France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and West Germany formed the initial Group of Six in 1975 to discuss the economic concerns that followed. Canada joined the group in 1976.

See More information: What is the G7? Here is the Conference History

What’s on the agenda?

Despite Scholz’s comments that the war in Ukraine should not cause G7 leaders to neglect other global priorities, the issue should dominate the three-day summit. “There is a real premium in conveying unity and a credible response, because this war will not be short-lived,” says Michael Hanna, US program director at the International Crisis Group.

This year’s summit could be particularly important for crafting impactful global economic responses, he adds.

A main focus will likely involve dealing with economic shocks that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions – areas where experts believe finding a unified approach will be an easier task.

“(Russia) deserves most of the blame, but there is no doubt that the Western response and sanctions are playing some role,” says Hanna, referring to the state of the global economy. “This adds to the kind of inflationary pressures and economic shocks we’ve seen during the pandemic.”

The effect of the war on food distribution has been dire. Ukraine is one of the world’s leading suppliers of grain and vegetable oil; The invasion of Russia disrupted regular production and contributed to world record food prices. The G7 urged all nations to “keep their agricultural and food markets open” and questions about food production, distribution and supply and aid to hard-hit countries could be talking points.

“Many of these challenges that we are facing globally are man-made challenges,” says Sedaca. “It’s not a lack of wheat. It’s not lack of grain. It is a country’s choice to disrupt global markets for its own authoritarian gain.” She cautions against focusing solely on food or refugee crises without addressing the root cause. “When the root cause is authoritarianism, we need to address that instead of focusing solely on results.”

The G7 also reiterated ahead of the summit the need to work towards achieving the World Health Organization’s target of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population against the coronavirus by mid-2022. But doing so “would require a substantial acceleration” of the global vaccination campaign, according to a statement on the official G7 website.

How G7 Nations Supported Ukraine So Far

G7 nations agreed last month to provide an additional $19.8 billion in economic aid to Ukraine. They have imposed sanctions on Russia, which target some of the country’s biggest banks, large Russian state-owned companies and elites and their families. They also pledged to work to eliminate or ban Russian oil.

More recently, the US announced last week that it would send another $1 billion in military aid. The country has already committed $4.6 billion in security assistance since the February 24 invasion of Russia. France promised last week it would send six more truck-mounted artillery guns to Ukraine. Germany’s defense minister has signaled that three multiple rocket launchers will be available for Ukraine’s use in July or August. Canada announced on June 15 that it would provide at least $9 million in additional military aid; since the start of the war, Canada has pledged $274 million in military assistance to Ukraine.

There are more signs of Western determination to continue to support Ukraine.

Last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and affirmed their support for the country’s EU bid. The EU granted Ukraine “candidate” status on Thursday. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also arrived in Kyiv late last week for his second surprise visit to the besieged nation.

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write to Sanya Mansoor at [email protected]

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