On May 18 and 19, 2022, development ministers from Group of Seven (G7) countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US — met in Berlin to discuss the challenges and multiple crises threatening the security and prosperity of people around the world. From war and conflict to food insecurity and malnutrition; from economic decline and poverty to global health and global education emergencies; from climate change and environmental degradation to gender inequalities and gender-based violence; the challenges of the current moment are numerous and compounding. On May 19, 2022, the ministers released a joint communiqué outlining their common development policy responses to these challenges.
While the communiqué falls short of outlining any concrete financial commitments, it does signal G7 countries’ continued commitment to the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and the 0.7% ODA/GNI goal. Unsurprisingly, it also emphasizes G7 countries’ solidarity with Ukraine and deep concern about the impact of Russia’s invasion on hunger and malnutrition, poverty, and other inequalities within the region and beyond. This Donor Tracker Commentary summarizes the commitments outlined in the communiqué across four key sectors: agriculture, climate, global health, and gender equality.
Food systems took center stage at the development ministers’ meeting. Sustainable agriculture and food security are longstanding priorities of the G7 and the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on these issues have only served to highlight their continued relevance. This was reflected in the communiqué, in which the G7 ministers commit to:
- Mitigating food price inflation and its consequences, in particular concerning access to food and agricultural products and inputs, such as fertilizers;
- Strengthening the long-term resilience and sustainability of agriculture and food systems as the basis for supporting global and regional food and nutrition security;
- Using ODA to support the sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems in low- and middle-income countries — including through agroecology and other innovative approaches;
- Increasing support to smallholder farmers, including through compensation for the support they provide to ecosystem services, and agriculture and food security;
- Supporting sustainable supply chains that decouple agriculture production from deforestation and forest degradation;
- Continuing support to African partners in addressing the complex origins of food insecurity as well as identifying lasting solutions for more sustainable agriculture and food systems; and
- Helping the Afghan agricultural sector in overcoming the food crisis in Afghanistan.
In addition to these more general commitments, the ministers used the communiqué to highlight their support for several multilateral initiatives. They committed to:
The G7 development ministers recognize climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss as important impediments to inclusive and sustainable development. At this meeting, they discussed the need to strengthen climate change efforts in low- and middle-income countries, with particular emphasis on adaptation and gender-sensitive approaches to combatting climate change. For the first time in a G7 communiqué, they also mentioned climate-related loss and damage. The ministers acknowledge the importance of partnerships and collaboration, including strong alliances with low-and middle-income country governments (particularly in the energy sector) and with Indigenous Peoples and local communities (especially to address the interdependent challenges of biodiversity loss, global health, and climate change). The communiqué outlines the G7 development ministers’ commitment to:
- Enhancing their collective efforts to implement the Paris Agreement;
- Reiterating calls to double collective funding for climate change adaptation in low- and middle-income countries from 2019 levels by 2025 (in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact);
- Strengthening the implementation of adaptation actions and management of disaster risk reduction (DRR), engaging with the Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation;
- Increasing activities related to climate-related loss and damage, for example, those resulting from severe weather event disasters in low- and middle-income countries as a result of climate change.
- Ensuring an inclusive, gender-equal and socially just transition to net-zero emissions and climate-resilient and nature-positive societies;
- Strengthening and further developing Just Energy Transition Partnerships; and
- Establishing an international Climate Club with participation beyond the G7 (while this commitment lacked specifics, it is likely to be taken up in more detail by G7 leaders at the summit in June).
The communiqué suggests that G7 development ministers are cognizant of the interplay between the climate crisis and economic development and stability; this is indicated by their commitment to:
- Calling on multilateral development banks (MDBs), development finance institutions (DFIs), and multilateral funds to support fiscal reforms, regulatory and macroeconomic policies to sustain a green transition;
- Strengthening the global climate and disaster risk finance and insurance (CDRFI) architecture so it becomes more systematic, coherent, and sustained, working towards a Global Shield against Climate Risks; and
- Increasing the share of ODA funding employment and skills promotion programs that are directed specifically towards green sectors and greening traditional sectors by 2025.
Global health — particularly as it relates to COVID-19 — was high on the agenda of the development ministers’ meeting. While pandemic preparedness and response are mostly being covered by the G7 health ministers, in their communiqué, the G7 development ministers emphasize the need to end the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future health crises. Concretely, it commits to:
- Strengthening the equitable global distribution of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics as well as roll-out capacity in low- and middle-income countries;
- Supporting all pillars of the ACT-Accelerator, as well as substantial contributions to vaccine support for COVAX advanced market commitment (AMC) eligible economies;
- Backing up the African Union’s goal of reaching a 60% production rate of vaccines and essential medical products by 2040;
- Supporting the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) with developing a WHO convention, agreement, or other international instruments on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response; and
- Encouraging collaboration between multilateral organizations including through initiatives such as the “One Health High-Level Expert Panel” and PREventing ZOonotic Disease Emergence (PREZODE).
G7 development ministers recognize strong, resilient, gender-responsive, and equitable health systems are the foundation for strengthened health security and socio-economic development. In their communiqué, they reaffirm their commitment to work in partnership to strengthen health systems, public health functions, primary health services, and the health workforce. In particular, they commit to:
- Working in partnership to strengthen health systems, public health functions, primary health services, and health workforces;
- Increasing collective efforts to achieve comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all, especially considering the effects of the pandemic on access to SRHR; and
- Enhancing support for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), including through the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, with a focus on regions with the greatest need, particularly in Africa.
The communiqué also outlines G7 development ministers’ support for longstanding global health challenges such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio, anti-microbial resistance, and neglected tropical diseases. These commitments include:
- Supporting the Seventh Replenishment of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria;
- Combatting polio through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) including at the Polio Pledging Moment in October 2022 which aims to raise US$4.8 billion;
- Stepping up support for an integrated anti-microbial resistance (AMR) surveillance system within a One Health Approach, complementing or including the Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS).
- Fighting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in line with the WHO roadmap and the new Kigali Declaration.
Gender equality received significant attention during this meeting of the G7 development ministers. Significantly, their commitments on this issue were made “in the spirit of a feminist development policy”; this is the first time that this concept has been included in a G7 communiqué. It includes the following details:
- Increasing the share of the G7 countries’ bilateral allocable ODA advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, tracking performance through OECD DAC Gender Equality Policy Marker;
- Implementing gender-transformative approaches to enhance the gender equality impact of G7 countries’ ODA;
- Mobilizing additional private resources for gender equity and equality and women’s empowerment;
- Drumming up support for the 2x Collaborative and the development of an independent and universal certification mechanism to increase the impact and transparency of gender-lens investing;
The G7 development ministers’ discussions yielded commitments to increasing gender equity and equality of all genders and sexual identities by aiming to overcome the gender-unequal burden of paid and unpaid care work; focusing on the inclusion of LGBTIQ+ persons; ending harmful gender norms notably in and through education; and addressing the particular needs of girls, adolescent girls and women in conflict, crisis and displacement. They make concrete commitments to:
- Working to recognize, reduce, and redistribute unpaid care;
- Developing and sharing best practices for addressing care work and strengthening the care economy in partner countries, including through the Global Alliance for Care;
- Taking an active role in tackling all multiple and intersecting forms of violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ+ persons.
- Uphold commitments to girls’ education made in previous years, contributing to more resilient, inclusive, gender-transformative education systems;
- Encouraging meaningful participation of women in social, economic, and political decision-making and conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes, including through the Action Network on Forced Displacement and Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF); and
- Calling on the Taliban to recognize, respect, and promote the rights of Afghan women and girls.
Read the full communiqué here.