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7 ways the G7 surprised us all

June 10, 2015

Set against the picturesque background of snowy alps, the leaders of the seven major developed economies on Earth convened last Sunday and Monday for their annual G7 summit in the Bavarian Schloss Elmau. 

With markets still in unstable waters and geopolitical tension on the rise, nobody expected the G7 to venture much out of their comfort zone of economic and political themes. Of course there was the support for free trade, financial market regulation and the Ukraine to name a few, but this G7 also delivered some strong commitments in unusual areas. We list the 7 major takeaways:

Following the IPCC recommendation to cut greenhouse gas emissions 70% by 2050, the participants foresee a decarbonization of the global economy. This will require transforming the energy sectors and developing long term low-carbon strategies.
Looking ahead to the sustainable development summit in September, the G7 recognizes the role of female economic participation in reducing poverty and inequality, and committed themselves to reducing the gender gap in workforce participation in their countries by 25% by 2025.
With the Climate Risk Insurance Initiative the G7 wants to extend insurance against the negative impacts of climate change to an additional 400 million people in low- and middle- income countries by 2020.
A unified commitment to keep average temperature rise caused by climate change below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels was perhaps the most surprising outcome, and is a clear position for the UN Climate Conference in Paris at the end of the year.
With a globalized economy, supply chains have become increasingly unclear, leading to poor working conditions and pollution – with tragic results. The G7 commits to making supply chains more transparent, safe and accountable.
Strongly tied in with the climate commitments, the G7 wants to increase investments in and access to renewable energy in Africa by 2020 with strong support from private investors.

The G7 recognized the severe threat antimicrobiological resistance poses to global health, and launched initiatives to protect the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and to scale up research. They also announced a thematic follow-up summit on the issue.

It seems that the participants of the G7 took the slogan “Think Ahead. Act Together” to heart and positioned themselves firmly for the upcoming sustainable development summit from the UN in September and the UN Climate Conference in December. 

Wim Van Aken

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