08 Jun The 2021 G7 Summit: The UK’s Objectives and Prospects for Success
This new briefing paper from the British Foreign Policy Group (BFPG) ahead of this weekend’s G7 Summit in Cornwall identifies the UK’s primary objectives for the Summit, assesses their feasibility, and potential obstacles to achieving them.
The paper finds that, while the UK has already been able to secure significant commitments in the lead-up to the Summit, the success of the UK’s Presidency in 2021 remains in the balance – with many core objectives still lacking concrete financing commitments, and no guarantee of alignment around some of the most pressing and complex issues of the day. The lack of a consensus around the steps forward in engagement with China remains a particular problem, as this heterogeneity underpins the asymmetry of nations’ perspectives and will on a host of other contingent issues. More broadly, the coronavirus pandemic, and the past five years of social and political instability, have intensified domestic pressures to safeguard national interests.
We conclude that the stakes of the G7 Summit could not be higher, representing a litmus test for the future of the liberal world order in the face of rapidly fragmenting threats. This G7 must mark the beginning of a new era in which connectivity and cooperation are able to be reframed as a source of resilience, not vulnerability. Leaders must consider how to ensure that alliances such as the G7 are able to function in a manner that supports domestic democratic governance – after all, the future of liberal democracy will be decided within, not between, nations. Beyond making the case for the self-interested and collective benefits of such actions, emphasising the language of burden-sharing and allies chipping in to play their part is likely to prove a successful route to persuasion.
The briefing paper defines the UK’s 10 key G7 objectives as follows:
- Ambitious and tangible commitments from the G7 nations towards climate action, paving the ground for the COP26 Summit in November
- Ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and improving global health resilience
- Building a resilient and sustainable global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, including through establishing a global minimum corporation tax
- Reaffirming the G7’s commitment to free trade and endorsing WTO reform
- Forging a baseline of consensus around the parameters of engagement with an increasingly risk-tolerant China, and the best means of coordinating responses to transgressions
- Generating tangible solutions to respond to the shifting global power landscape, reasserting the G7’s commitment to human rights and open societies
- Securing financial commitments to ensure girls across the world are able to access 12 years of quality education
- Facilitating ambitious commitments from the G7’s invited guests, exploring the possibility of germinating a D-10 alliance of democracies
- Restoring a sense of community and shared productive focus, after a bumpy period during which many key G7 nations were consumed with domestic matters
- Reasserting the UK’s position as a global leader and diplomatic powerhouse, following the decision to leave the European Union