Il G7 Summit 2023 in Hiroshima has recently concluded, and even if the work of the Japanese Presidency will continue for another six months to implement the commitments made in the Leaders’ Communiqué, the Italian Presidency of 2024 is already on the horizon. public event organized by the Istituto Affari Internazionali in collaboration with Focus 2030 and the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation last May 29 offered the opportunity to discuss the Italian positions on the most urgent issues of this year and on those that promise to be priorities in 2024.
The G7 fifty years later
In his speech, theAmbassador Luca Ferrari, G7/G20 Sherpa for the Presidency of the Councilspoke of the role of the G7 in an increasingly geopolitically fragmented world. Unlike a few decades ago, the G7 today does not have the ambition to decide the fate of the world; the rise of the powers united in the BRICS or represented in the G20 is in fact irrefutable, the result of an inevitable process. In times of war and opposition between different types of political-economic regimes, the G7 is quite the forum where liberal democracies coordinate with each other and with partner countries to face global challenges.
In 2023, topics such as the war of Russian aggression in Ukraine, nuclear non-proliferation, economic security and strategic autonomy, artificial intelligence and demographics were at the top of the G7 agenda. But the G7 also paid particular attention to relations with the so-called Global South, seeking to initiate new forms of dialogue and cooperation to address pressing global challenges on which the stability of the international political and economic system depends, such as climate change, food security, energy supplies and migratory movements.
In light of these commitments, Ferrari has emphasized the importance of relationship of the G7 with the G20, whose basis of representativeness is broader. The G7 has been criticized for its apparent anachronism, but the countries that are members are not ignorant of the current global balance of power, indeed they want relations collaborative with the new poles of power, considering them essential to deal effectively with global problems. Cooperation between the G7 and the G20 is crucial and that there is room to develop it is demonstrated by the many topics – and even some fundamental objectives – that the agendas of the two groups have in common.
After taking stock of the Hiroshima summit, attention has shifted to the priority commitments of the Italian presidency of the G7 in 2024. Ferrari underlined the continuity between the different G7 presidencies, emphasizing that some themes from 2023 will remain on the 2024 agenda, even if global geopolitical dynamics could bring new challenges to the fore. In particular, the crises in the field climate, energetic e from the migration they will continue to be at the heart of our relationship with the Global South.
The importance of continuity it was also reiterated by panelists who discussed, from various perspectives, the G7’s relationship with the Global South. On the subject of climate change, Anna-Katharina Hornidge (German Institute of Development and Sustainability) underlined that, in the field of climate change, there are a number of tools and mechanisms to maintain international commitments for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and for strengthening climate finance . Carbon pricing, blended finance, climate clauses in debt restructuring agreements are some of the tools to be upgraded. Climate Club e Just Energy Transition Partnerships instead, they are mechanisms to be implemented and developed over the long term. Hornidge also called for continuity to be given to multilateral processes such as the COP for the climate.
Tetsushi Sonobe (Asian Development Bank Institute) stressed that continuity is also necessary for the community researchers and think tanks who support the work of the G7 (T7). Created during the German Presidency in 2022, the 2023 T7 took up the themes of the climate, food, debt and biodiversity crises, coordinating with a similar structure – the T20 – working in support of the G20, despite some differences between the two groups’ agendas. The T7 has also further developed the G7/G20 Dashboarda tool used to monitor the implementation process of the commitments made with the Communications, to make it more accessible and to identify ways and tools to improve it.
Francesca Useful (Ministry of Economy and Finance) underlined the different areas in which the Italian Presidency in 2024 will try to ensure continuity with the Japanese Presidency of the G7 in the financial sphere, also aiming to create synergies with the parallel Brazilian Presidency of the G20: reform of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), climate finance, energy security and access to raw materials, preparation and response to future pandemics. Paolo Lombardo (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti) highlighted the importance of coordination between banks and development finance institutions to mobilize the massive resources needed to address global existential challenges. Synergistic contributions of the public sector and that private they are an indispensable condition for following up on the financial commitments undertaken in the various international contexts.
Valeria Emmi of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), acting as a spokesperson for community most affected by the polycrisis, finally stressed the urgency of an incisive and long-term action by G7 leaders on all these fronts.
Il debate on the priorities of the Italian Presidency of the G7 has just begun. In the coming months, the Istituto Affari Internazionali will seek, with various initiatives involving policy makers and stakeholders, to promote its further development with the aim of contributing to making the process of elaborating the agenda and its implementation as inclusive and transparent.
Cover photo EPA/JAPAN POOL