14 Jun The 2021 G7 Summit: Assessing Outcomes
Ahead of the G7 Summit, the BFPG outlined the UK’s objectives for the summit and prospects for success. Following on from this, this new briefing paper from the British Foreign Policy Group assesses the outcomes of the G7 Summit against the UK’s ambitions as host, including the key global issues at stake, the future of the liberal alliance, and the official launch of the Global Britain project.
The paper finds that G7 leaders successfully secured joint commitments against a number of the highest priority agenda items, and the UK proved itself to be a productive host in facilitating these pledges. The key achievements included new commitments towards climate action, global taxation, girls’ education, WTO reform, the pandemic recovery, and vaccine distribution. Crucially, the communiqué signalled a new language and era of coordination around China. While much of the detail behind these pledges still needs to be determined, and some crucial areas – ie. global vaccination, equitable taxation, carbon disclosure – fell short of expectations, these are tangible outcomes that point to the UK’s diplomatic capabilities and the encouraging degree of common purpose amongst G7 nations.
We conclude that the 2021 Summit broadly exemplified the resilience of the G7 forum, and demonstrated a renewed commitment by democratic nations to come together to reinvigorate the liberal world order, in the face of existential threats. The UK strengthened its most important bilateral relationship with the United States through a new ‘Atlantic Charter’, as well as forging meaningful ties with Indo-Pacific nations. However, despite the UK’s best efforts to push the focus of the Summit to the future, the ongoing dispute with the European Union over Northern Ireland, and the increasingly fragile domestic situation with the pandemic, continued to consume scarce bandwidth and resources. As ever, the best foundations of an effective and persuasive foreign policy are a well-functioning democracy, society and economy at home.
Looking ahead, this Summit suggests a more promising future for democratic cooperation after five bruising years, and confirms that the UK will play an important role in driving the momentum. Britain is back, America is back, and not a moment too soon.