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The G7 under Germany’s Presidency: An essential international crisis response centre

Family photo of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Münster

G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Münster, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.de

02.11.2022 - Article

Germany assumed the G7 Presidency for one year in January. The “Group of 7” brings together seven strong democracies as a community of shared values. What are the priorities of Germany’s Presidency this year?

Since 24 February 2022, the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the impacts of this conflict for Ukraine, Europe and the world have been at the heart of the G7’s work.

The G7 is resolutely opposing Russia’s war of aggression under Germany’s Presidency. The G7 quickly reached agreement on tough sanctions against Russia, while at the same time providing extensive support – including financial, humanitarian, political and military assistance – to the Ukrainians. The G7 is also working with partners around the world to find solutions to the global impacts of Russia’s attack, including in the area of food security. For example, joint efforts have helped to curb the rise in world market prices for grain and food.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock:

This war poses a danger not only to Ukraine, but to the entire international order. If Putin’s plan were to work – first drop bombs on a target, then annex it – he will have already delivered a blueprint for the next wars of aggression. If we don’t want to leave an even less secure world to our children, then we, as the international community, need to send as loud and clear a signal as we can right now that this must stop. This year, the G7 has become the essential international crisis response centre in this regard.

Strengthening democracies and tackling the climate crisis – the G7’s fields of action

While Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine continues, other crises have not gone away, however. That is why the G7 Foreign Ministers have set further priorities this year: combating the climate crisis – the greatest global security threat of this century, tackling the COVID‑19 pandemic and strengthening democracy, the rule of law and shared values.

Acting with foresight: The climate crisis as a priority

The worsening climate crisis is not only a threat to the livelihoods of each and every human being, but is also exacerbating conflicts in many regions of the world. Climate policy is preventive security policy and thus a key component of our foreign policy and our G7 Presidency.

Germany has expanded the G7’s climate commitment this year. Our energy and climate partnerships continue to offer a genuine opportunity for sustainable prosperity, especially for emission-intensive countries or those that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. We have also stepped up the focus on anticipatory humanitarian assistance within the framework of the G7 – as a tool to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis, such as floods and droughts.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock:

For many countries these days, the greatest risk to security, and therefore also to peace, is the climate crisis. The climate crisis is causing millions of people to flee, because where they call home is being flooded or has dried up, and it fuels conflicts around the world. This makes climate protection the most important peace project in the 21st century. That’s why it is so important for me, as Europeans and also as Germans, to present new ideas and proposals.

For the first time, the G7 reached agreement on the extensive or complete decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2035 as well as concrete steps for the accelerated phase‑out of coal. The G7 will also implement an energy partnership with South Africa and launch negotiations with a view to concluding further partnerships. The G7 also aims to establish an open and cooperative Climate Club by the end of 2022.

For the security of us all: Strengthening global health and combating disinformation

The COVID‑19 pandemic can only be countered internationally by working together. The international community must respond to future health crises in a timely and united fashion and on the basis of science and expert advice. The United Nations offers the right framework for this. That is why strengthening the global health architecture and ensuring sustainable global vaccine equality are also on the agenda of the G7 Foreign Ministers. One of the objectives is to learn the right lessons from the COVID‑19 pandemic.

We have seen how conflicts and crises around the world also arise or are fuelled by misinformation and attacks against critical infrastructure not only since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock:

No society is immune to false narratives. Disinformation is an attack on the very values of our liberal democracies: our openness, our transparency, our ability to debate and to argue fairly and freely. The G7 are partners with shared values and are united by the objective of making democracies around the world more resilient. Under Germany’s Presidency, for example, the G7 partners have strengthened education on disinformation and cybersecurity, for instance through concrete projects with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Milestones of the 2022 Presidency

There are normally only one or two regular meetings lasting several days in the G7 annual calendar. Under Germany’s Presidency, the G7 Foreign Ministers have already held a total of ten meetings in 2022, three of which took place virtually. Many of these meetings focused on Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The first meeting, which took place over the course of a number of days, was held in Weissenhaus in Land Schleswig-Holstein from 12 to 14 May. Foreign Minister Baerbock is hosting the second regular meeting in Münster from 3 to 4 November.

The G7 is not just meeting as an exclusive club. Foreign Minister Baerbock invited the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and Moldova to attend the meeting in May. The Foreign Ministers of Ghana and Kenya and the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union will attend the meeting to be held in Münster in November.

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