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The Summary of the G7 Summit in Cornwall

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

Jonny Rogers breaks down what was discussed at the latest G7 Summit, and how people have responded.

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Photo by Simon Godfrey

After last year’s G7 summit was cancelled due to Covid, this year’s event took place in the Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall, from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th June. Some of the world’s most influential leaders came together to discuss the biggest issues facing today’s world.

The G7 is composed of leaders of the world’s seven largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, though the EU also often partakes in summits. Leaders from Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea were also invited to attend this year’s summit.

The main topic of conversation was the global recovery from Covid, focusing on strengthening resilience against future pandemics, promoting “future prosperity by championing free and fair trade”, tackling climate change and biodiversity preservation, and “championing our shared values”. Ahead of the summit, the UK pledged to donate more than 100 million surplus doses to countries most in need, including 5 million in the coming weeks.

In a press release, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“[...] The G7 has long been the catalyst for decisive international action to tackle the greatest challenges we face. From cancelling developing world debt to our universal condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the world has looked to the G7 to apply our shared values and diplomatic might to create a more open and prosperous planet.”

Another significant topic of focus was China, who in recent years have received global criticism for their reported detainment of the Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities, as well as a new security law that makes it easier to punish protestors in Hong Kong. The committee also demanded a thorough investigation into the origins of Covid-19. In response, China has denounced G7, accusing the world leaders of “political manipulation” and vowing to seek a “blood debt” from NATO.

Protests and Backlash

Over the weekend, countless protests occurred across the area: Surfers Against Sewage staged a mass ‘paddle out’ to call for urgent action to protect our oceans, Greenpeace produced a lights display demanding leaders to ‘act now’, and members of Ocean Rebellion dressed as Boris Johnson and set fire to a boat.

A number of people were arrested after protestors glued themselves to the road, while others locked themselves to a minibus at a roundabout. At least 15 more people were arrested at another campsite near the location of the summit, while many activists affiliated with Animal Rebellion took part in a sit-in protest at a local McDonald’s restaurant.

Over 6,500 officers were involved in policing the summit, including extra officers residing on a cruise ship docked in Falmouth. The Devon and Cornwall Police established four approved sites for protests, though admitting that they expected they would extend beyond these. Since the end of the summit, the police have thanked the protestors for remaining largely peaceful.

The Prime Minister was heavily criticised for having travelled from Cornwall to London by plane while declaring his green ambitions. As the Green Party responded, “there's a big gaping hole between Boris's climate talk and climate action”. Greta Thunberg also criticised the G7 leaders for hosting a “steak-and-lobster-BBQ-celebration” while jet planes performed aerobatics above the resort.

What Was Discussed?

At the end of the event, G7 published a ‘communiqué’ which summarises what was discussed, as well as the following agenda for global action. The ‘Carbis Bay G7 Summit Communiqué’ highlights the following areas as priorities for the global agenda:

  • Ending the pandemic and preparing for the future by speedily distributing safe vaccines to as many people as possible, creating the appropriate frameworks to strengthen collective defences against threats to global health and supporting science in the development of safe vaccines, treatments and tests.

  • Reinvigorate our economies by advancing recovery plans, shifting the focus from crisis response and towards promoting future growth, supporting both people and public services.

  • Secure our future prosperity by collaborating to ensure “future frontiers” of the global economy, seeking to increase the prosperity and wellbeing of all people through championing free and fair trade within a reformed trading system and a fairer global tax system.

  • Protecting the planet by supporting a ‘green revolution’ which, among other goals, promises to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and conserve or protect at least 30 percent of the world’s land and oceans by 2030.

  • Strengthen partnerships around the world by supporting the International Monetary Fund for countries most in need of support, which G7 hopes will ‘deepen’ their current partnership with Africa.

  • Embrace our values by harnessing the power of democracy, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights to “answer the biggest questions and overcome the greatest challenges”. This includes a target to support 40 million more girls in education, with a $2.75 billion investment in the Global Partnership for Education.

“We shall seek to advance this open agenda in collaboration with other countries and within the multilateral rules-based system. In particular, we look forward to working alongside our G20 partners and with all relevant International Organisations to secure a cleaner, greener, freer, fairer and safer future for our people and planet.”

Whilst the G7 body itself cannot pass any laws, the meeting will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the decisions and policies made by the constituent members in the coming months and years. Although some of the communique’s conclusions are vague and presently lack detailed plans, it is important to hold world leaders accountable for the promises they make, as the decisions we commit to today will shape our future.


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