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G7 Summit 2021: What is the G7, when is it meeting and where is the summit taking place?

UK - Birmingham - CAFOD supporters at Drop the Debt protests in 1999

CAFOD supporters have campaigned ahead of previous G7 and G8 summits for debt cancellation

A guide to the G7 Summit 2021, a meeting of leaders from seven of the world’s richest countries, which will be held in the UK between 11-13 June 2021.

What is the G7?

The G7 stands for the ‘Group of Seven’ and is a gathering of government leaders from some of the world’s richest nations.

The countries which make up the G7 have met each year since the 1970s. The 2021 summit will be the 47th meeting to take place and the first to be held in the UK since 2013.

The group used to be known as the G8 until Russia was expelled in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea.

What does the G7 do?

The prime ministers and presidents from the G7 countries meet annually to discuss problems facing the world – including economic issues, health emergencies and the climate crisis.

Previous G7 summits have focused on matters ranging from debt relief for developing countries, health emergencies such as HIV and AIDS and global security threats.

When is the G7 Summit in 2021?

The G7 summit is taking place between Friday 11 and Sunday 13 June 2021.

Ministers from G7 governments will meet throughout 2021 for discussions on health, climate change and the environment and international development.

Finance minsters and central bank governors from member countries took part in the first of this year’s G7 ministerial meetings on 12 February.

Where is the G7 Summit being held in 2021?

The G7 summit location will be Carbis Bay in Cornwall.

Although the US held the G7 presidency in 2020, the leaders’ meeting was cancelled by President Donald Trump.

The last time the G7 leaders met together in person was at the 2019 summit in Biarritz, France.

Why does the G7 Summit matter?

The G7 is an important meeting because the heads of government attending the summit are the leaders of some of the world’s richest and most powerful countries.

Decisions taken at these meetings impact people across the world.

The 2021 summit is especially important because G7 leaders will be discussing how the world can rebuild and recover from the pandemic.

The meeting will also be one of two gatherings of world leaders the UK will host this year, alongside the COP26 climate talks in November.

The summit will be the first to take place since Joe Biden was elected US President.

What will happen at the 2021 G7 Summit? What will Boris Johnson announce?

The government says it will focus the G7 summit on global trade, strengthening the international system against future pandemics and tackling climate change.

Boris Johnson has said he wants to use the G7 and COP26 climate talks to “build back better” from the coronavirus pandemic and “create a greener, more prosperous future”.

CAFOD Campaigns Manager Liam Finn says the “proof” of this will be “whether the summit is used to galvanise the G7 governments to immediately end all spending on oil and gas overseas and ensure the world’s poorest nations have the finance they need to rebuild" from debt cancellation.

What is CAFOD calling for from the G7 Summit?

G7 countries must lead the way in tackling the immediate global health crisis, the economic consequences of the pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis.

CAFOD is urging G7 leaders to support the poorest nations by cancelling all debt payments owed by low-income countries so that those countries have the money they need to recover and rebuild from the pandemic. This must include debts owed to private lenders.

Many of the world’s poorest countries are currently having to choose between paying those debts and helping their communities recover from the coronavirus.

The G7 must also provide support to poorer countries to tackle the immediate health crisis and poverty caused by the pandemic.

And the nations at the summit must set out urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions given that the countries in the G7 are amongst those with the greatest historic responsibility for the climate crisis. This includes ending all support for fossil fuels and adequate financial support for the hardest hit nations.

Liam Finn said:

“Boris Johnson has a crucial opportunity this year to set the tone for how the world rebuilds from the pandemic.

“CAFOD supporters will be demanding he use that opportunity to ensure that people worldwide are included in the plans for the recovery – not just those living in the world’s richest countries.

“Pope Francis has implored leaders to fix the injustices in our economies and societies which have made the effects of this current crisis so much worse.

“The Prime Minister has an obligation to make sure that any recovery from the pandemic genuinely builds a ‘better normal’ rather than reinforcing the problems of the past.”

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Are the G7 and COP26 linked?

The eyes of the world will be on the UK in 2021 as the host of both the G7 summit and the UN ‘COP26’ climate conference in 2021.

This means Boris Johnson is under pressure to work with other leaders and ensure that the summits succeed in putting the world on track to rebuild from the pandemic and avoid catastrophic temperature rises.

Has CAFOD campaigned on the G7 in the past?

CAFOD supporters have a long history of campaigning ahead of (what were then) G8 meetings.

In 1998, thousands of Catholics called for leaders to ‘Drop the Debt’ of developing countries ahead of the G8 summit in Birmingham.

Seven years later, in 2005, CAFOD supporters took part in the Make Poverty History campaign that urged leaders to make global trade rules fairer, to provide more and better aid to developing countries and to cancel unfair debts. The G8 summit in Gleneagles that year followed an historic march in Edinburgh and the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park.

CAFOD supporters also joined the ‘Enough food for everyone IF’ campaign in the lead-up to the 2013 G8 summit in Belfast.

Who will be at the G7 Summit 2021? Who are the G7 leaders and which countries are in the G7?

The countries in the G7 and the heads of government who will be attending the meeting are:

  • Canada – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

  • France – President Emmanuel Macron

  • Germany – Chancellor Angela Merkel

  • Italy – Prime Minister Mario Draghi

  • Japan – Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga

  • UK – Prime Minister Boris Johnson

  • USA – President Joe Biden

The European Union is also represented at the G7 by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the European Council President, Charles Michel.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he would like to expand the G7 to become a group of ten democracies – or ‘D10’ – and has invited Australia, India and South Korea to the 2021 G7 summit.

What is the difference between the G7 and the G20?

The G20 is a larger group of countries which includes all of the G7 nations but also countries such as China, Russia and South Africa.

Italy holds the presidency of the G20 in 2021.

CAFOD supporters have been campaigning for the G20 to cancel debts for countries struggling to pay debts to other countries, organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and private creditors whilst battling the coronavirus pandemic.

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