Germany’s G7 Presidency – A chance to drive global solutions?

At the turn of the year, Germany took over the G7 presidency setting the country’s brand-new government up to face its first test on the international stage. The presidency offers Germany the opportunity to convene the G7 to address global challenges amid a global pandemic and in a moment of major international tensions, and to build on its leadership role in global health during the last G7 and G20 presidencies. The program, presented by the government on January 21 under the title ‘Progress toward an equitable world’, suggests Germany's high ambitions in this regard. Although Chancellor Scholz has specifically highlighted climate action as a key focus, Germany’s G7 program features multiple development policy priorities within the five focus areas.

  1. Sustainable planet: The G7 aims to protect the climate and biodiversity and to accelerate the global energy transition. Among other goals, Germany seeks to:
    • Drive forward the G7’s discussion on the proposed “Climate Club” to collaborate on a socially-just transformation, providing a crucial boost for international climate action. The climate club is to bring together large economies pushing for more ambitious climate action to better coordinate climate policy, reach agreements on uniform standards for the emission and pricing of CO2, and avoid potential trade conflicts;
    • Promote contributions to climate protection made by agriculture, the healthcare sector, and the digital transformation as well as by urban development to serve the public interest and make societies and economies within and beyond the G7 more resilient and adaptable; and
    • Link climate aspects with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to tackle climate change as a driver of poverty, hunger, gender inequality, conflict, and displacement globally.
  2. Economic stability and transformation: A shared focus on sustainable economic recovery and inclusive growth will be guiding Germany’s presidency. Germany wants to coordinate closely within the G7 to shape the recovery of the global economy while at the same time setting the course for a sustainable future. Among other goals, Germany aims to:
    • Alleviate low- and middle-income countries’ (LMICs’) debt burden by strengthening the global financial architecture and ensuring the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments is implemented effectively; and
    • Ensure sustainable as well as intergenerational and gender-equitable public finances.  
  3. Healthy lives: As expected, Germany puts a strong focus on pandemic preparedness. The German government aims to expand the G7’s pioneering role in pandemic prevention and response and strengthen the international health architecture. To achieve WHO’s vaccination goal of 70% by mid-2022, Germany wants to accelerate the global vaccination campaign and promote support for all pillars of ACT-A, including COVAX and local vaccine production in LMICs. Further, Germany aims to:
    • Step up efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance and develop appropriate medical countermeasures;
    • Discuss the nexus between climate change, biodiversity, and global health issues under the ‘One Health approach; and
    • Strengthen WHO’s leading and coordinating role, ensuring sustainable and reliable funding for global health, and implementing International Health Regulations.
  4. Investments in a better future: Germany aims to advance international cooperation for sustainable development in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda. The G7 will launch an infrastructure initiative and take on a stronger global role in promoting socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable infrastructure and framework conditions, especially considering the need for investment in LMICs. A focus will be on the dialogue and cooperation with selected African and Indo-Pacific countries. Further, Germany aims to:
    • Enhance cooperation with LMICs on adapting to climate change and the approach to climate-related loss and damage;
    • Promote mobilization of private resources for LMICs, for example by strengthening the global tax architecture, developing local financial markets, and improving conditions for sustainable investment;
    • Involve national and international development banks and financing institutions and improve their coordination to enhance financing global public goods, among others, climate, gender equality, and health;
    • Leverage and drive forward existing initiatives such as the G20 Compact with Africa, Global Gateway, and Build Back Better; and
    • Make tangible progress in the areas of food security and girls’ education to reach the SDGs.
  5. Strong cohesion: Germany aims to leverage its G7 presidency to promote a strong commitment to human rights, social justice, equality, and inclusive digitalization. With the COVID-19 pandemic having negated hard-won achievements in gender equality in recent months, Germany plans to leverage G7 to turn this development around and to further promote gender equality. Therefore, Germany aims to:
    • Advance equality between women and men and non-binary people globally, especially address issues of paid and unpaid care work, equal pay, better education for girls, and equitable participation of women in leadership positions; and
    • Ensure that Germany’s approach is consistently guided by the principle of gender mainstreaming.

The presented program gives promising connecting factors to advance global solutions. Now it is for the German government to translate its program into concrete action and develop solutions with its G7 partners.

The G7 Leaders’ Summit will take place from June 26-28, 2022, at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps. The development ministers will hold a separate meeting from May 18-19, 2022 in Berlin. Part of the ministerial meeting will be shared with the Health Ministers to discuss the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For further details, see Germany's G7 Presidency Program.