Research-based
policy recommendations
for the G7

Global Solutions Initiative

The Global Solutions Initiative is a global collaborative enterprise comprised of a network of world-renowned think tanks.  It proposes policy responses to major global problems, addressed by the G20, the G7 and other global governance fora.

The Global Solutions Initiative was founded during the 2017 German G20 Presidency by the Initiative’s President Dennis J. Snower. The Global Solutions Initiative is a stepping stone to the T20 and G20 Summits and supports the Think20 process for think tanks.

The Global Solutions Initiative is primarily funded by major German foundations and public institutions. Please find a complete list of our partners here. Funds are mainly used to support independent research serving the G20’s global public interest.

Publications

Implementing an Individual-Empowered Data Governance Regime

Although the digital revolution has unleashed a vast array of new opportunities for economic, social and political exchange, there is a misalignment of interests between the users and suppliers of digital services. This policy brief identifies a central flaw of current digital governance systems: “third-party funded digital barter”. Consumers of digital services get many digital services for free (or under-priced) and in return have personal information about themselves collected for free. In addition, the digital consumers receive advertising and other forms of influence from the third parties that fund the digital services. The misalignment between the digital consumers and the digital third-party funders is responsible for a wide variety of malfunctions, which ultimately threaten the continued functioning of our economic market systems, weaken mental health, expose users to far-ranging manipulation of attention, thought, feeling and behavior; erode appreciation for objective notions of truth, undermine our democratic processes, and degrade the cohesion of our societies. The benefits from the digital revolution are not immutably tied to the current digital governance regimes. The central challenge of digital governance regimes lies in finding ways of making these regimes human-centred without sacrificing the technological benefits. The policy brief presents four policy guidelines that aim to correct this flaw by shifting control of personal data from the data aggregators and their third-party funders to the digital consumers. The proposals cover “official data” that require official authentication, “privy data” that is either generated by the data subjects about themselves or by second parties, and “collective data.” The proposals put each of these data types under the individual or collective control of the data subjects. There are also proposals to mitigate asymmetries of information and market power. The policy brief outlines in detail the technical mechanisms and business models which will enable the proposals to be practically implemented in very large scale.

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.

Issue Paper: Social Cohesion, Economic Transformation and Open Societies

G7 nations have a significant opportunity to strengthen the social contract between their governments and citizens, reconciling their economies and societies in ways that foster greater social cohesion. Equipping citizens with the participatory tools to navigate through future periods of uncertainty – including the next set of economic and environmental transformations – should be a priority for G7 governments as they continue to strive towards open societies, democratic freedoms, and enhanced political participation. Achieving such objectives will require three actions. First, G7 governments must replace the inadequate social safety nets of the past with new robust and resilient welfare systems, tailored to the needs of economies and societies in the 21st century. We call these systems ‘Universal Social Protections’. Second, G7 countries must leverage the potential of digital democracy, recognising that data is a new form of capital which will be critical to the running of our economies and societies in the future. Redirecting the flow of benefits from the digital transition into the hands of citizens themselves is essential if we are to rebuilding trust and social cohesion throughout G7 and G20 countries, and the wider world. Third, G7 countries need to redefine prosperity to encompass social and environmental flourishing, and develop new metrices to measure progress against these goals.

Our recommendations in this Issue Paper thus reflect a ‘New Multilateralism’ for the 21st Century: the belief that many of the challenges facing us today are inherently global in nature, requiring collective participation and co-operation. This expanded notion of social cohesion will only be achieved through a series of interlocking actions and policies linking social resilience to economic transformation, digital citizenship and multilateral decision procedures. This will require new institutions and new forms of collaboration with citizens themselves.

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