For most of the world’s countries, especially developing countries, the SDGs and the broader Agenda 2030 frame a key marker of global cooperation, especially since they were agreed by all countries at the United Nations in 2015. In this context, the G7 needs to mobilize its full political support in order to change course toward success.
A G7 Infrastructure Club – Mobilizing the Transformative Power of Cities to Support Multilateralism and the Agenda 2030 in Post-COVID G7/G20
In the context of an increasing divergence of models, a highly divergent recovery and overlapping and multiple global crises, multi-level governance is critical to address systemic challenges. The benefits of such a strategy, too long ignored by national governments, was well documented during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, the G7 presidency of Germany has launched a G7 Urban development track to support investments for a better future and a sustainable planet and it has acknowledged the formation of an urban engagement group in the G7. The creation of an infrastructure club, complementing the G7 Germany proposal of a climate club would be an innovative way to support the transformative power of cities in the G7 and nurture a quality dialogue between G7 and G20 in support of the delivery of the Agenda 2030 despite times of uncertainties.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The proposal is in three parts but aimed at a singular goal: achieving measurable progress toward the successful fulfillment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first element is to have the G7 members collectively map the key “impact hubs” as described by Anne-Marie Slaughter and Gordon LaForge (2021). The second element is to obtain a G7 commitment to identify what principal SDG, or SDGs, is promoted or advanced with every policy initiative or announcement, whether administrative, legislative, or executive through the use of SDG Tags. The third and final element of the proposal urges G7 efforts to obtain G20 adoption of the initiative.
The G7 and Multilateralism in Times of Aggression: Maintaining and Strengthening Cooperative and Inclusive Approaches for the Global Common Good
President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine is, in the first place, a disaster for the people of Ukraine. At the same time, it is an attack on peace and security, international law, and a cooperative world order. Russia’s war in many ways also jeopardizes the efforts to maintain and strengthen other global public goods and to address humanity’s common and collective challenges, which have been growing over the past years with a steep rise during the ongoing pandemic. It will also affect international forums that are needed to facilitate cooperative action. Other concerns and the concerns of others are in danger of being massively overshadowed – to the detriment of global solidarity in times of aggression. Preventing this is
a core task of the G7 in 2022. The G7 under the German Presidency should position itself in a way that responds to Russia’s aggression without throwing its medium- and long-term priority agenda overboard as the addressed challenges remain equally pressing. While the summit and the ministers’ meetings will very likely show a strong focus on the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the G7 should overall stick to the five priority areas rolled out by the German Presidency – sustainable planet, economic stability and transformation, healthy lives, investment in a better future and stronger together. It should at the same time supplement, adapt, and link them to the evolving situation and necessities, including by supporting measures that address the negative economic and social impacts of the war and the sanctions on third countries. When implementing its policy initiatives, we recommend that the G7 takes an extra effort and invests its political and economic clout in intensified international cooperation for the global common good. The G7 should do so by linking up its activities with other partners, by bolstering inclusive global governance institutions, and through tethering plurilateral and multi-stakeholder formats to a strengthened United Nations and other multilateral organisations.
Africa’s representation on the global stage, including and especially in terms of its contribution to global policymaking in key areas that impact its development, is disproportionate to the extent to which it is affected by these policies. Therefore, in order to bolster Africa’s contribution to efforts supporting climate-related policies, public health, and economic development, this policy brief proposes that the G7 establish a ‘G7 Partnership with Africa’ analogous to that of the G20 Compact with Africa. Setting the G7 Partnership with Africa apart from the G20 is its multifaceted focus and low barriers to entry. It is envisioned as a mutually beneficial arrangement for G7 and African countries to improve cooperation on critical issues in health, climate and business related affairs, allow African countries greater agency in determining the policies that affect them the most, while developing inclusive and systematic engagement between the G7 and the African continent.