The G7 Research Group (formerly the G8 Research Group) is an independent source of information, analysis and research on the institutions, issues and members of the Group of Seven (formerly the Group of Eight) and the G7 Summit.
The G8 Research Group was founded in 1987 at the University of Toronto. It is a global network of scholars, professionals in the media, business, government and research communities, and students interested in the ongoing activity of the G7 and G8 and related bodies, including the G20. (In February 2008, the G20 Research Group was established to focus more directly on the G20.)
The G8 Research Group is supported by the International Relations Program based at the Centre for International Studies within the Munk School of Global Affairs, Robarts Library, University of Trinity College’s John Graham Library and the Department of Political Science. The G8 Research Group was founded by Professor John Kirton, who is also the current director.
During the year, the G8 Research Group conducts programs of research, teaching, and information and public education. Along with its companion the G20 Research Group, the G8 Research Group works with Newsdesk to produce special publications on the G8 and the G20.
The G8 Research Group runs the G8 Information Centre, which includes an electronic archive of documents related to the summit and its ministerial meetings as well as research and analysis. Trinity College’s John Graham Library hosts a physical archive for G8 materials.
Colleagues at the International Organizations Research Institute at Moscow’s State University Higher School of Economics have established the G8 Research Centre, which has been conducting research on Russia’s compliance with G8 commitments since 2006.
Colleagues at Oxford University and the London School of Economics created the G8 Research Group LSE/Oxford, which has produced reports on climate change and the G8 and the Outreach Five countries of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.
The G8 Research Group maintains a research division that consists of more than 150 undergraduate and graduate student analysts. The student research division produces internationally recognized reports on compliance by the G8+5 with commitments made at annual G8 summits. It also studies the influence of civil society organizations and the media on the G8 summit agenda and priorities. The student research division of the G8 Research Group is currently chaired by Michael Humeniuk. Past chairs include Netila Demneri (2010-2011), Erin Fitzgerald (2009-2010), Sarah Yun (2008-2009), Clifton van der Linden (2007-2008), Janet Chow (2006-2007), Vanessa Corlazzoli (2005-2006), Anthony Navaneelan (2004-2005), Bob Papanikolau (2003-2004), Salimah Ebrahim (2002-2003) and Gina Stephens (2001-2002).
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.
Humans are destroying the planet through unrelenting emissions of greenhouse gases, land use change and pollution, causing widespread biodiversity loss and ongoing land, forest and ocean degradation that are undermining human health and harming agriculture and food production. These challenges can be addressed in a limited window of opportunity. G7 leaders at Elmau should:
- Create climate clubs
- End fossil fuel subsidies
- Expand climate finance
- Bolster biodiversity
- Strengthen sustainable agriculture, food and water security
- Create climate–health benefits
These six recommendations should be implemented in SDG-supportive, jobs-rich, inclusive, equality-enhancing, gender-equalizing, independently monitored and continuously improved ways.
The world is facing an unprecedented series of clashing crises and threats, from democratic decline to health to digital disruption. Climate change exacerbates all of these threats and creates new ones. It also does not stop threatening human survival when other crises rear their heads. In the face of the current critical security challenge in Ukraine, it is imperative that strong climate governance does not become sidelined again, as it did in 2020 during the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic. At the G7’s Elmau Summit, the G7 needs to prioritize nature-based solutions for climate change, which can provide up to 37% of climate mitigation benefits and many other ones.[i] It needs to raise its ambition in protecting and restoring forests and peatlands, enhancing green infrastructure in cities, ensuring climate justice by empowering Indigenous Peoples and local communities, avoiding endorsing carbon capture technology and geoengineering, and creating a G7 nature-climate working group to help implement these proposals.
[i] IPBES. (2019). The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Summary for Policymakers. (pp.18).