Research-based
policy recommendations
for the G7

Publications

The Think7 task forces will produce policy briefs on issues relevant to G7 policy-makers. On the basis of these policy briefs, one or two task force reports focusing on a limited number of key issues of relevance for the G7 process will be produced. This process is led by the Think7 co-chairs. The task force reports will provide a limited number of research-based policy recommendations for G7 policy-makers. The task force reports will be subject to an internal peer review process within each task force.

The finalized publications will be published below by summer 2022.

Finding Solutions to Common Digital Economy Challenges under Germany’s Presidency for the G7

Authors:

This policy brief addresses the two goals of better future as well as economic sustainability and recovery goal, which were outlined by the G7 under Germany’s current presidency to the G7. It aims to analyze four distinct digital trends that are existing in today’s global digital economy in both developing and developed countries with various degrees of penetration and adoption. These trends include data as a new type of infrastructure, Cross Border Flow of Data (CBFD), leveraging Private Public Partnership (PPP) business model in the uptake of 5G, in tandem with strengthening the regulatory bodies, leveling the playing field for all market players, and adopting effective market liberalization strategies. Finally, the fifth trend includes ensuring suitable and harmonized governance and regulatory frameworks for digital platforms on a global level.

This policy brief is meant to help developing countries’ policy makers make suitable decisions and drafting appropriate policies in this specific area. By leveraging best practices and international experience distinctively from the G7 context, the findings of this policy brief would help in achieving this goal. Finally, this contribution ends with suggested implementation plan that aims to strengthen the international cooperation and ties between G7 and developing countries by increasing the awareness of the latter with lessons learned and best practices to promote the above mentioned new digital trends in developing countries. This policy brief is consistent with the pillar of strengthening the common good pillar outlined in Germany’s priorities in its presidency to the G7.

Issue Paper: Ramping up investments in a better future: The need for a refreshed G7 approach to realize the opportunity of global sustainable development

The world’s systems of international cooperation are facing three great conflicts at once: violent conflict in Ukraine, political conflict between great powers, and a fissure between the near-term priorities of the world’s rich and powerful societies and the long-term needs of both poorer societies and the planet itself. The first two conflicts exacerbate the third. Amid massive investment shortfalls, the global sustainable development agenda is on the brink. Next year, 2023, will mark the midpoint to the Sustainable Development Goal deadline of 2030. It’s high time to start preparations for a better “second half” of the SDG era. The G7 needs to be a two-pronged leader, one that lends all its supportive muscle to mobilize required forms of capital while also leading through the power of its own influential example. Three deep structural changes over the past two decades have shifted the context for G7 contributions: (1) the smaller relative power of G7 countries on the global stage, (2) the more complex and fragmented policy terrain, and (3) the flawed heritage of high-profile G7/8 commitments. Amid the world’s deep practical interconnections between the “infrastructure agenda,” the “climate agenda,” and the “sustainable development agenda,” all G7 countries need to prioritize their domestic implementation of the SDGs. In parallel, they need to help mobilize a massive scale-up of public and private resources for global sustainable development. This includes partnering with other countries to instigate profound changes in the scale and business models of the multilateral development banks, while also taking a leadership role to promote SDG alignment in public and private financing systems. G7 efforts relating to infrastructure should be pursued in the larger context of the 2023 moment for the SDGs and existing efforts coordinated through the G20 and elsewhere. The G7 can further consider a range of proposals to boost a partnership-driven approach to international cooperation on specific issues.

G7 investment in peacebuilding for the global common good

G7 leaders at the Elmau Summit should commit to investing in peacebuilding efforts through three main avenues: development aid and reform, gender equality, and connecting the local to the global. They should do this through reallocating funds to peacebuilding efforts, tracking their progress on making the world more peaceful, and supporting the reform of UN peacebuilding efforts; focusing on investing in gender equality and access to quality education through peace processes; and supporting local and Indigenous people’s views in a peace process. These actions would directly address the global decline in peace, which the G7, as global leaders and defenders of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, should see as a priority.

This would also build on G7 leaders existing peace-related commitments that have been complied with. Of the G7 commitments that have been assessed for compliance, the average rate of compliance is 73%. The G7 is committed to peace but needs to take strong actions to increase the global level of peace as the global level of peace in 2022 is lower than the global level of peace was in 2008. While different members have different interests to invest in peace, the bottom line is that it is in the best interest of all G7 members to ensure a more peaceful world. Especially now, as Ukraine is ravaged by the illegal full-scale war launched against them by Russia. Conflict and violence do not just cost the world precious lives and resources, but also trillions of dollars annually.

Fostering a common Approach to sustainable and quality Infrastructure

An urgency exists to build sustainable, quality infrastructure to address the world’s infrastructure gap, especially in developing and emerging economies. The solution will require significant new inputs from both the public and private sectors. Two global infrastructure investment initiatives – FAST-Infra’s Sustainable Infrastructure Label (SI Label) and Blue Dot Network Certification – are independently being developed to create market signals that will attract and facilitate private- and public-sector investments in high quality, sustainable infrastructure projects, especially in Middle- and Low-Income Countries (MLICs). Both of these initiatives are built upon available existing guidelines, standards, rating systems, and certifications, with the aim of creating a streamlined, global infrastructure “meta-standard.” The degree to which these two meta-standards will succeed in becoming widely adopted and attracting new investments in sustainable, quality infrastructure will depend on whether they can overcome several critical challenges, including: clarifying the confusion among existing infrastructure standards; facilitating the simultaneous meta-standard adoption by investors, project developers, and client-country governments; and ensuring the MLICs are able to benefit from these meta-standards. The G7 member nations, with their recent pledges to support quality, sustainable infrastructure investments in MLICs through Build Back Better World (B3W), Global Gateway, and Clean Green Initiative, are uniquely well-positioned to catalyze adoption of infrastructure meta-standards. We propose that the G7 build on its Partnership for Infrastructure and Investment Task Force that was established in June 2021 in Carbis Bay to promote meta-standard cooperation and adoption. Specifically, we propose that the G7 Task Force (1) assists with the coordination of requirements, processes, and governance structures between the two recently developed meta-standard initiatives (Blue Dot Network and FAST-Infra); (2) facilitates agreement by development finance institutions from G7 member nations to a common set of meta-standard requirements; (3) supports the development of robust technical assistance and capacity development program for client-country governments and infrastructure developers in MLICs to support infrastructure meta-standard compliance; and (4) convenes a global summit to obtain input, customization, and buy-in on global infrastructure standards from a representative set of creditor and client countries.

Future Design: For the Survival of Humankind

Humanity has been experiencing a breakdown of peace due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, collapses of the Earth’s circulatory system including cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and a collapse of biodiversity. These problems are related to our survival.

At meetings of world leaders, including the G7 and G20, the only discussion has been from now to the future. Discussions about the future have been hampered by the short-term interests of individual countries, which have prevented us from reaching agreements and developing creative visions for the long-term future. As the future generations do not have any voice to bargain with the present generation, the present generation may take civil and military decisions which may unintentionally harm future generations.

Long-term future design has advanced greatly over the past three decades. Techniques such as Scenario planning, statistical long cycle forecasting and back casting have become popular. UNESCO’s Futures Literacy Labs seeks to improve Futures Literacy as a basic competency that anyone can acquire. It uncovers advanced approaches to designing and using the future to build capacity to discern and make sense of complex emergence. Future literacy can help overcome fear and antipathy towards the uncertainty that is inherent in a non-deterministic universe.

Research has found that in discussing long-term future issues, solutions become more creative and innovative by utilizing “future point of view”. We have developed the method of Future Design (FD) to systematically allow policy makers to imagine policies from a future point of view. When we think about the future from the present, we tend to get caught up in the present. Because the vectors of each proposal have different directions, we cannot reach consensus and have to make compromise. FD can provide individuals, organisations and governments access to a better understanding of the world, and to act in accordance with our values through the consideration of the richness of experimentation, innovation and creativity that surrounds us. We would like to see the leaders of the G7 use FD and become imaginary future presidents or imaginary future prime ministers, to debate and negotiate future policies. We propose to try out the Future Design method on a challenging contemporary issue at a smaller scale.

Let us reduce future failures that burden future generations and make sure that future generations say “thank you” to their ancestors who made bold transformations at Schloss Elmau in 2022.

People First – New Solutions to the Challenge of Displacement

More than 82 million people – equal to the population of Germany – are forcibly displaced across the globe. An increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons are living in long-term situations of vulnerability, dependency, and legal insecurity. This is despite the fact that every displaced person has the capacity and resources to build a new future in displacement but is rarely given the chance to do so by current aid, development, and migration policies. This policy brief makes the case for a paradigm shift towards a people-centred approach to displacement policy that 1) considers the human capital and social networks of displaced people and 2) enables them to use and further develop their potential, including through mobility. As the world’s most powerful countries, the G7 are well positioned to play a game-changing role in reducing the scale of global displacement by:

  • leading global cooperation on displacement;
  • promoting displaced people’s professional expertise so they can make better use of their skills;
  • strengthening human capital by promoting education and apprenticeship opportunities;
  • leveraging the power of family networks so that its easier for them to support one another; and
  • scaling up support for the most vulnerable individuals.

A Global Resilience Council as “UN Security Council” For Human Security Issues Like Climate and Pandemics

The world lacks an equivalent body to the UN Security Council with the authority to lead large-scale collective responses to non-military crises that are significantly impacting humanity and planetary stability, including the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the reason that today’s crises cannot be adequately addressed is that the post-World War II global governance system is organized on the basis of agencies specialized by sector / corresponding to national ministries. To address this, the establishment of a “Global Resilience Council” (GRC) is proposed as a mechanism to bring the various multilateral players together, involving also non-state actors, and ensure coherence in responding to the multi-dimensional and interconnected challenges of today. The G7/T7 has long expressed an interest in improving the global governance system. Supporting the proposal for a Global Resilience Council would be an opportunity to initiate a major upgrading of the UN system and signal support for the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report (September 2021) and its follow-up.

WTO 2.0 – Making the Multilateral Trading System Fit for the 21st Century and How the G7 Can Help

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in its deepest crisis since its creation. This relates to each of its three pillars: 1. trade liberalization and rules-setting, 2. trade policy monitoring, and 3. dispute settlement. Germany’s G7 Presidency will require a careful balancing between addressing long-standing issues such as aligning the WTO with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and reforming the dispute settlement process on one hand side and focusing on the immediate challenges presented by the geopolitical crisis as well as recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This requires, more than ever, multilateral collaboration and innovative and interdisciplinary solutions. The G7 countries, in close cooperation with their partners, have a unique opportunity to articulate a new vision for trade and the multilateral trading system. The G7 can lead by example while also incentivizing and supporting other nations to raise the level of ambition in aligning trade policies with current world challenges. As such, the goal should not be to try to re-establish the status quo but rather to adapt the world trading systems and its rules to the realities and necessities of the 21st century and the new geopolitical context. What is needed is a WTO 2.0 that responds to the world’s peace, health and environmental challenges and proactively contributes to solving them.

Reinforcing United Nations Funding: How the G7 can Strengthen Multilateralism

The Group of 7 (G7) comprises some of the largest donors to the United Nations (UN). This is why the G7 is uniquely positioned to address challenges stemming from a UN revenue profile that heavily relies on unpredictable forms of voluntary finance. If the G7 is serious about wanting a more effective UN system for managing an expanding list of global threats – in line with the programme of the German G7 presidency – individual UN entities must be solidly financed to ensure their independent capacity to act. The need to strengthen the UN has become even more urgent with Russia’s war against Ukraine that represents a major challenge to the legitimacy and effectiveness of a rules-based international order. With regard to UN funding, the G7 should work towards (1) raising assessed contributions across the UN system, starting with the World Health Organisation; (2) tweaking the formula used to calculate each member state’s share of assessed contributions to give due consideration to evolving global challenges; (3) ensuring that the formula is fit for delivering on the global functions of the UN; and (4) reinforcing mechanisms for penalising arrears. Such financing reforms would strengthen the UN’s role as a foundational global public good through which transnational challenges can be tackled.

Investing in the Economy is Investing in Peace

The world we live in in 2022 is less peaceful than in 2008. To address the global decline in peace, the G7 as global leaders and defenders of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, must refocus their official development assistance to positive peacebuilding. Conflict and violence have a significant impact on the economy, costing the world trillions of dollars annually. By earmarking a portion of a country’s ODA for positive peacebuilding through systems analysis and workshops, the G7 can support peaceful societies and economic growth simultaneously.