Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU at this year’s G7 summit hosted in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
During the three-day meeting the G7 leaders discussed a wide range of pressing topics, including COVID-19, pandemic preparedness and economic recovery; geopolitical challenges and foreign affairs; trade and development; promoting open societies and democratic values; and fighting climate change and protecting the environment.
The summit took place under the UK presidency of the G7, the overarching theme of which is ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic. The UK invited leaders from Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa to attend part of the meeting as guest countries.
At the end of the summit, the G7 leaders adopted a leaders’ communiqué.
The leaders set a collective goal of ending the pandemic in 2022. This will require vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the global population. Accelerating the rollout of safe, effective, accessible and affordable vaccines is therefore an international priority for the G7.
The G7 committed to providing one billion vaccine doses over the next year. These will primarily be channelled through COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), towards those in the greatest need. Taken together with the dose equivalent of the G7’s financial contribution of $8.6 billion, this gives a G7 total contribution of over two billion vaccine doses.
Emphasising the need for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, the G7 leaders committed to supporting the manufacture of COVID-19 tools in low-income countries and accelerating their manufacture on all continents. The leaders will engage constructively with discussions at the WTO on the role of intellectual property, including by working consistently within the TRIPS agreement.
The priority was to ensure we can meet the demand for vaccines and here the EU has taken leadership. Partners have now joined us to accelerate the production and delivery of vaccines worldwide.
European Council President Charles Michel
How to be better prepared for future pandemics and tackle long-standing global health threats was at the heart of discussions on global health. The G7 leaders acknowledged their particular role and responsibilities in strengthening the global health and health security architecture.
The G7 leaders welcomed the Rome Declaration adopted at the Global Health Summit on 21 May and are looking forward to working with the G20 and relevant international organisations in a quest for multilateral action on pandemic preparedness and response, including exploring the potential value of a treaty on pandemics.
The leaders also adopted the Carbis Bay Health Declaration, which sets out a G7 commitment to better prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from future pandemics through effective multilateral action and a strengthened global health system with the World Health Organization (WHO) at its centre.
The leaders joined the call for research into the origins of COVID-19.
We also call for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.
G7 leaders’ communiqué
Economic recovery and jobs
To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, G7 countries have provided unprecedented support to citizens amounting to more than $12 trillion. The G7 will continue to support their economies for as long as is necessary, shifting from crisis response to promoting strong, resilient, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth into the future.
To create a fairer global tax system, raise more tax revenue to support investment and crack down on tax avoidance, the leaders endorsed the creation of a global corporate minimum tax of at least 15 per cent on a country-by-country basis, through the G20/OECD inclusive framework. The goal is to reach an agreement at the July meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.
Free and fair trade
The G7 stand united in their commitment to free and fair trade as foundational principles and objectives of the rules-based multilateral system. The leaders agreed however on the need for a shared vision for a reform of the multilateral trading system, with a modernised rulebook and a reformed World Trade Organization (WTO) at its centre. In this context they highlighted the importance of a proper functioning of the WTO’s negotiating function and dispute settlement system.
The leaders committed to working collaboratively to address the risk of carbon leakage and to aligning their trading practices with their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
They also committed to continuing to work together to ensure that global supply chains are free from the use of forced labour.
The G7 will promote stronger collaboration on research and development, and promote principles of research security and integrity and open science. To this end, the leaders endorsed the G7 Compact on Research Collaboration.
Climate and the environment
The G7 will continue to increase their efforts to keep the limit of a 1.5°C rise in temperature within reach. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement and collectively committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest.
The green transition is expected to cut emissions, increase adaptation action worldwide, halt and reverse biodiversity loss, create new high-quality jobs, and increase prosperity and wellbeing. It will be technology-driven and supported by tangible actions in all sectors of the G7 economies and societies.
Specific commitments include further accelerating the transition away from unabated coal capacity while supporting affected workers, and ending new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021.
The transition to net zero economies poses particular financing challenges for developing countries. The G7 leaders stand by their bilateral and multilateral commitments to support these partners’ decarbonisation efforts through climate finance.
They reaffirmed the collective developed country goal to jointly mobilise $100 billion per year from public and private sources, through to 2025 in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation.
The leaders also underlined the importance of high-integrity carbon markets and the optimal use of policy levers in order to move towards fair and efficient carbon-pricing.
The G7 leaders committed to halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, and supported an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted by parties at the COP15 on biodiversity. They adopted the G7 2030 nature compact, which sets out action on biodiversity across four core pillars: transition, investment, conservation, and accountability.
Under the compact, the G7 commit to conserving or protecting at least 30 per cent of global land and at least 30 per cent of the global ocean by 2030. They will contribute by conserving or protecting at least 30 per cent of their own land and coastal and marine areas by 2030 according to national circumstances and approaches.
The G7 leaders recognised the devastating and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, which risks reversing hard-won gains especially with regards to gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and education and jobs.
The advancement of gender equity and equality is a central pillar of the G7’s plans and policies to build back better from the pandemic and is informed by three key priorities: educating girls, empowering women, and ending violence against women and girls.
The leaders committed to two new global SDG4 milestone girls’ education targets:
- 40 million more girls in education by 2026 in low and lower-middle income countries
- 20 million more girls reading by age 10 or the end of primary school by 2026, in low and lower-middle income countries
To ensure that these targets are underpinned by sustainable financing, the G7 leaders announced a combined pledge of $2.75 billion in funding over the next five years for the Global Partnership for Education ahead of its replenishment in July.
Global responsibility and action
The world’s major democracies are committed to working together to promote their shared values in the international system. This commitment is reflected in the Statement on Open Societies, which was adopted at the summit by the leaders of the G7 and those of Australia, India, the Republic of Korea, and South Africa.
In this statement, the leaders reaffirmed and promoted the values and principles of human rights, democracy, social inclusion, gender equality, freedom of expression, the rule of law, an effective multilateral system, and diverse, independent and pluralistic civil societies.
The leaders recognised the particular responsibility of the largest countries and economies in upholding the rules-based international system and international law. They committed to working with all partners and as members of the G20, UN and the wider international community to this end, and encouraged others to do the same.
The leaders also discussed the most pressing geopolitical and foreign policy issues, including China, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Tigray, the Sahel, Libya, Afghanistan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, the Indo-Pacific, Iran, and Iraq.
With regard to China, and competition in the global economy, the G7 will continue to consult on collective approaches to challenging non-market policies and practices which undermine the fair and transparent operation of the global economy.
In the context of their respective responsibilities in the multilateral system, the G7 will cooperate where it is in their mutual interest on shared global challenges, in particular on addressing climate change and biodiversity loss in the context of COP26 and other multilateral discussions.
At the same time and in so doing, we will promote our values, including by calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.
G7 leaders’ communiqué
The leaders reiterated their interest in stable and predictable relations with Russia. They called on Russia to stop its destabilising behaviour and malign activities and to fulfil its international human rights obligations and commitments.
On Ukraine, they called on Russia to alleviate tensions, act in accordance with its international obligations, and to withdraw its military troops and material at the eastern border of Ukraine and on the Crimean peninsula.
We remain firmly of the view that Russia is a party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, not a mediator.
G7 leaders’ communiqué
With respect to the continuing attacks on human rights, fundamental freedoms and international law by the authorities in Belarus, the G7 will work together to hold those responsible to account, including through imposing sanctions, and continue to support civil society, independent media and human rights in the country.
The leaders expressed their deep concern about the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. They called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas, the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces, and for all parties to pursue a credible political process.
Seven months of conflict, atrocities, ethnic-based violence, and human rights and IHL violations are leading thousands of innocent people to one of the worst man-made famines ever. We call on the entire international community to act.
European Council President Charles Michel
The G7 leaders acknowledged that COVID-19 has a far-reaching impact on the poorest countries who already were grappling with the effects of conflict, climate change, socio-economic shocks and a chronic lack of resources and infrastructure. To help the most fragile countries, the G7 support a set of complementary measures including debt relief, development finance and support through the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The G7 leaders recognised the significant infrastructure needs across low and middle-income countries, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. They committed to a step change in their approach to global infrastructure financing, with a specific focus on Africa. DFIs and multilateral partners intend to invest at least $80 billion into the private sector in Africa over the next five years to support sustainable economic recovery and growth.
For some years already, with some leaders in Europe we have been convinced that this engagement with Africa needs to be at the heart of our future international relations. Increasingly, we’ve been able to unify the positions of European countries on this issue and now we have convinced our partners to further mobilise funds to secure a win-win strategy for Africa and Europe.
European Council President Charles Michel
About the UK G7 presidency
The UK holds the G7 presidency from 1 January until 31 December 2021. Its main priority for this period is for leading democracies to help the world fight, and then build back better from COVID-19 and create a greener, more prosperous future by:
- leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening our resilience against future pandemics
- promoting our future prosperity by championing free and fair trade
- tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity
- championing our shared values
For more information about the UK’s presidency priorities and the Cornwall summit, visit the UK G7 presidency website:
In preparation for the Cornwall summit, the UK hosted a video conference of G7 leaders on 19 February 2021. At the meeting, President Michel called for a global treaty on pandemics and for equitable and affordable access to vaccines for all.
At the end of the video conference, the leaders adopted a joint statement.
Compliments of the European Council.