President Obama met with the other Leaders of the G-7 at Schloss Elmau, Germany on June 7-8 to make tangible progress on a wide range of economic, security, and development priorities. The G-7 stands resolved in its commitment to uphold the values of freedom and democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Promoting Peace and International Security
This year marks the second G-7 Summit since Russia’s participation was suspended in response to its actions in Ukraine. G-7 Leaders remain united in support of the efforts of the people of Ukraine to strengthen their economy and to build a deeper and stronger democracy that accommodates the rights and aspirations of all people in all regions of Ukraine. G-7 Leaders also expressed their resolve to work together to address other ongoing international security challenges and promote peace and stability globally.
- Russia and Ukraine: G-7 Leaders reaffirmed their support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and their condemnation and policy of non-recognition of Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea. The G-7 remains focused on supporting a diplomatic solution based on the Minsk agreements of September 2014 and February 2015. Further, the Leaders called for an end to Russia’s ongoing materiel and military support to the separatists, and reaffirmed that sanctions can be rolled back only after full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Leaders also agreed that the G-7 stands ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia if necessary.
Additionally, the Leaders confirmed their commitment to work alongside international financial institutions to provide the economic support and technical assistance Ukraine needs as it implements reforms that will transform its economy and make its democracy more responsive to the Ukrainian people. G-7 Leaders welcomed the significant steps Ukraine has taken in recent weeks to advance its reform agenda in line with this new IMF program.
- Iran: The G-7 affirmed the political understanding on the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of action reached by the P5+1 and Iran in early April. G-7 Leaders pledged to provide continued support to the P5+1 as it seeks to achieve a comprehensive solution that verifies the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and ensures that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. All G-7 governments call on Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency to address all outstanding issues, including those relating to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
- Libya: G-7 Leaders reiterated their staunch support for the U.N.-led efforts to forge a political resolution to the conflict in Libya and to help form a national unity government. They commended the leadership of those Libyans who are taking steps to deescalate violence through dialogue, and reiterated that spoilers who seek to undermine reconciliation efforts will be held accountable. They affirmed their readiness to substantially increase their support to a prospective new unity government to help it meet the aspirations of all Libyans and counter pressing terrorist threats in Libya.
- Counterterrorism: The G-7 Leaders re-affirmed their commitment to countering terrorist threats and the sources of extremism wherever they reside. They expressed strong support for the leadership and determination of Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi, Tunisian President Caid Essebsi, and Nigerian President Buhari, who were all present at the Summit, to confront extremist challenges, including those associated with the ISIL, threatening the peace, stability, and security of their countries. To this end, the G-7 committed to work together and with other international partners to develop a more systematic approach to direct, coordinate, and de-conflict the provision of counterterrorism and countering violent extremism resources to key partner nations and regions.
Achieving Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Global Economic Growth
G-7 Leaders reiterated key policy commitments to support the global economy, including commitments to market-determined exchange rates and to implement fiscal strategies flexibly to support growth and job creation. Leaders also emphasized the importance of protecting intellectual property rights, and the need to continue progress on efforts in the G-20 to strengthen the international financial system, combat tax evasion and eliminate incentives for tax avoidance.
Promoting High-Standard Trade and Investment
The United States is currently negotiating high-standard trade agreements with all other G-7 countries—Canada and Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Leaders resolved to make every effort to finalize negotiations on the TPP as soon as possible, and to accelerate work on all T-TIP issues, ensuring progress in all the elements of the negotiations, with the goal of finalizing understandings on the outline of an agreement as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the year.
- WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: The United States was among the first countries to complete domestic acceptance procedures for the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and the other G-7 Leaders decided to make every effort to complete their own domestic ratification processes by the time of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference this December in Nairobi. Also formally accepted by Japan last month, this historic agreement—the first fully multilateral agreement to be concluded since the WTO’s inception 20 years ago—will eliminate red tape and bureaucratic delay for merchandise shipped around the world, unlocking potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in global economic value once it enters into force. The agreement does not enter into force until two-thirds of the WTO’s membership (or 108 countries) ratify it.
- Concluding the Doha Round: The United States and other G-7 countries emphasized the importance of swiftly concluding the WTO post-Bali work program and reaching agreement on the Doha Round by the end of the year. G-7 countries shared the view that implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement and agreement on a post-Bali work program would set the stage for a successful upcoming 10th WTO Ministerial Conference.
- Promoting High Standards in Global Supply Chains: G-7 Leaders decided on meaningful actions to improve worker rights in international supply chains and help create a level playing field for labor. In particular, G-7 members will encourage multinational enterprises to implement due diligence procedures regarding their supply chains and strengthen multi-stakeholder initiatives, building upon similar efforts undertaken in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse. The United States has bolstered these efforts by working to prevent human trafficking in Federal contractors’ supply chains, and by developing a National Action Plan to promote responsible business conduct overseas. G-7 Leaders also welcomed the creation of a Vision Zero Fund administered by the International Labor Organization (ILO), which aims to prevent and reduce workplace-related deaths and serious injuries and will complement the United States’ ongoing partnership with the ILO on its new Global Initiative on Occupational Safety and Health.
Addressing Climate Change, Protecting the Environment, and Boosting Energy Security
Leaders affirmed their strong determination to reach a successful climate agreement this December at the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris. To help advance this objective, all G-7 countries have now announced or proposed post-2020 climate targets, including the U.S. target to cut carbon pollution by 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. G-7 Leaders encouraged other countries who have not yet announced post-2020 targets to do so well in advance of the Paris conference. Recognizing that these targets are only a next step, G-7 Leaders also articulated a long-term vision for decarbonizing our economies by the end of the century, as well as the need to be ambitious in setting goals for cutting carbon by 2050 in line with scientific evidence. The Leaders also announced the following concrete steps to address climate change, protect the environment, and boost energy security.
- Incorporating Climate Resilience Considerations into Development Assistance: Leaders pledged to incorporate climate change mitigation and resilience considerations into development assistance and investment decisions, a major step that builds on the “Climate-Resilient International Development” Executive Order issued by President Obama in September 2014. The United States has provided significant financial support for adaptation activities in developing countries, and such dedicated funding is critical. At the same time, the magnitude of the challenge requires not just dedicated adaptation finance flows but also a broader, integrated approach in which all relevant decisions on development support take climate impacts and mitigation opportunities into consideration.
- Expanding Climate Risk Insurance in Developing Countries: The G-7 announced action to support efforts by vulnerable developing countries to manage climate change-related disaster risk through insurance, with an aim to increase the number of people with access to direct or indirect climate risk insurance coverage by up to 400 million by 2020. This commitment will build upon existing risk insurance facilities such as the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). In 2014, the United States contributed $10 million to support expansion of catastrophe risk insurance coverage through the CCRIF to Central American countries.
- Mobilizing Clean Energy Finance in Africa: Climate finance has already risen to unprecedented levels, and Leaders reaffirmed their support to jointly mobilize climate finance. In this regard, the G-7 announced an initiative to coordinate efforts to increase access to clean energy in Africa, including by mobilizing financial resources from private investors, such as through instruments selected by the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance. In announcing this new initiative, G-7 Leaders indicated their intent to build on the progress that has been made by the United States’ Power Africa initiative, which President Obama launched in 2013 with the goal of doubling access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, and which has leveraged more than $20 billion in private sector commitments toward this goal.
- Addressing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: G-7 Leaders committed to continue efforts to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and to negotiate an amendment to the Montreal Protocol this year, as well as to assist developing countries in implementing such an amendment. Consistent with the goal of reducing HFC use, the United States is expanding the list of climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs, and proposed to prohibit the use of certain HFCs for specific applications. Last fall, the Obama Administration announced private-sector commitments to reduce HFCs by the equivalent of 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2025, equivalent to 1.5 percent of the world’s 2010 greenhouse gas emissions and the same as taking nearly 15 million cars off the road for 10 years.
- Reducing Incentives for Carbon-Intensive Investments: Promoting green finance flows requires a complementary commitment to reducing incentives for high-carbon investment and aligning official financing practices with climate objectives, including in the work of export credit agencies. G-7 Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and to continued progress in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to shift export credit flows away from carbon intensive investment. In 2013, the United States became the first country to end public financing, including through export credit support, for new conventional coal plants overseas except in rare circumstances. Other G-7 countries have since adopted policies in this area.
- Building on the Rome Energy Security Initiative: G-7 Leaders reaffirmed their commitment from 2014 to principles for energy security and specific actions under the Rome G-7 Energy Initiative, which they will continue. Key elements include reaffirming support for Ukraine and other vulnerable countries and reiterating that energy should not be used as a means of political coercion; continuing work on assessment of energy system vulnerabilities; and furthering diversification through the energy mix, fuels, sources, and routes. Leaders decided on the need to further assess vulnerabilities of our electricity systems, including cross-border flows, supply disruptions, demand response, and infrastructure.
- Launching New Work on Energy Sector Cybersecurity: The backbone of the energy sector is a network of electronic processes that assure energy is produced and distributed to the people and infrastructure that drive our economies. Cyber threats to these energy delivery systems are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated. Consequently, G-7 Leaders launched a new cooperative effort to enhance cybersecurity of the energy sector. This new work should include analysis of different approaches across the G-7; exchange of methodologies for identifying cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices; and investment in cybersecurity capabilities and capacity building.
- Combating Marine Litter: G-7 leaders committed to combat marine litter from land-based and marine sources, address debris removal, and focus on education, research and outreach. This work builds on existing U.S. efforts to reduce the volume of litter entering water bodies from land and sea-based sources and to remove marine debris from coastal areas. A significant volume of marine litter, especially plastics, enters the ocean from land-based sources in the developing world due to inadequate waste management systems. The G-7 committed to incorporate waste management activities into international development assistance, support implementing pilot projects to reduce waste entering water streams, encourage industry to develop sustainable packaging, and promote best practices along the whole plastics manufacturing value chain. These initiatives will be advanced through a series of G-7 workshops in advance of the second Our Ocean conference in October 2015 in Chile. U.S. national programs are actively supporting state and municipal litter reduction programs, conducting research on sources and impacts of marine debris, exploring innovative source reduction opportunities, and expanding public awareness.
- Promoting Resource Efficiency: G-7 Leaders announced an Alliance on Resource Efficiency to share knowledge and create information networks on a voluntary basis with businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, and other relevant stakeholders to advance resource efficiency, promote best practices, and foster innovation.
Supporting Sustainable Development
2015 is a landmark year for development. The United States and the G-7 expressed their commitment to achieving a successful outcome in the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in July and the UN Summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda in September 2015, which will set the global sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years. G-7 Leaders also announced several steps to advance key development priorities.
- Post-2015 Development Agenda: G-7 Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to achieving an ambitious and universal Post-2015 Development Agenda that integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development – environmental, economic, and social – in a balanced manner and anchored in a set of clear and measurable goals and targets, that finish the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals, eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequality, put us on our a more sustainable path, and strengthen peace and governance. G-7 Leaders also reaffirmed their political commitment to achieving a successful outcome at the Third International Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, and collectively committed to support measures that will help enable developing countries to meet the post-2015 sustainable development goals, including through domestic resource mobilization, private capital, assistance, and an ambitious policy framework. Leaders also reaffirmed the essential role that official development assistance (ODA) and other international public finance play as a catalyst for, and complement to, other sources of financing for development. The United States continues to underscore the importance of allocating more of total assistance where needs are greatest and capacity to raise public resources domestically and internationally weakest, including Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and fragile and conflict-affected states. To that end, G-7 Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to reverse the declining trend of ODA to the LDCs.
- Advancing Food Security and Nutrition: In support of the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals and as part of a broad effort involving partner countries and international actors, G-7 governments aim to lift 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, including by promoting sustainable agriculture and nutrition investments. Through President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, the United States is already making significant contributions to this goal: last year, Feed the Future helped smallholder farmers earn over $530 million in new sales, and delivered nutrition interventions for more than 12.5 million children. The United States also remains committed to achieving the goals of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, under which more than 250 global and local companies have committed more than $10 billion in agricultural investment in Africa to date, and the goals of the Nutrition for Growth Compact, under which the United States announced $10 billion for nutrition programming over three years. And as a founding member of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture, the United States is committed to promoting best practices for climate-smart food security by increasing agricultural production, adapting to a changing climate through innovative solutions, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
- Strengthening Assistance for Complex Contracts Negotiations (CONNEX): G-7 Leaders endorsed a Code of Conduct for assistance to developing countries for negotiating complex contracts with multinational enterprises, initially focusing on the extractives sector. They also encouraged support providers and other relevant stakeholders to incorporate the Code as a set of binding principles in their contracts worldwide. The United States and G-7 partners will further encourage existing support providers to enter into pilot projects that incorporate the Code of Conduct and welcome knowledge sharing platforms for developing countries through portals like the U.S. government funded www.negotiationsupport.org and through peer learning on negotiation support.
Advancing Global Health and the Global Health Security Agenda
The Ebola epidemic underscored the importance of strong health systems and the urgency with which the global community must act to establish capacity in every country to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats, whether naturally occurring, deliberate or accidental. At Schloss Elmau, G-7 Leaders committed to take action to attain zero Ebola cases, assist with recovery in West Africa, and enhance crisis response for epidemics, as well as to fight antimicrobial resistance, combat neglected tropical diseases, and advance the Global Health Security Agenda, including by establishing the capacity required to achieve the Agenda’s targets in at least 60 countries.
- Achieving Zero Ebola Cases and Supporting Recovery: The G-7 remains committed to achieving zero Ebola cases and pledged to assist Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to recover from the Ebola epidemic. To improve the global emergency response system, G-7 Leaders also supported steps to strengthen the WHO’s capacity and to draw upon the lessons learned from the Ebola crisis, as well as new approaches from the WHO, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank, to recommend enhanced approaches to disburse response capacity. The G-7 has led the response to end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, with a combined G-7 contribution of over $2.6 billion in assistance to date.
- Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda – Assisting At Least 60 Countries and Encouraging All Partners to Join: At Schloss Elmau, the G-7 made a historic, collective commitment to assist at least 60 countries over the next five years, including the countries of West Africa, to achieve the targets of the Global Health Security Agenda and the World Health Organization International Health Regulations. This commitment reflects a match of the United States’ commitment to assisting at least 30 countries, and the G-7 called on others to join this effort to synchronize assistance and close the gaps in the most vulnerable countries. This agreement reflects the need to change the way assistance is delivered to assure that all countries have the capacities in place to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to biological threats, whether naturally occurring, intentional or accidental. Last year, the G-7 endorsed the Global Health Security Agenda, which was launched in February 2014 to accelerate action and to achieve concrete targets. On September 26, 2014, President Obama convened 44 countries at the White House to highlight over 100 new commitments to advance the Agenda. In concert with these efforts, the World Health Assembly recently endorsed a timeframe to support at-risk countries by 2019 to achieve the needed capacity to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats. The G-7 called on partners around the world to aid in achieving this goal. Finland currently Chairs the GHSA, and in September in Seoul under the leadership of the Republic of Korea, partner countries of the Global Heath Security Agenda will come together to highlight concrete commitments and next steps to synchronize assistance.
- Countering Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR): At Schloss Elmau, Leaders announced their intent to prioritize national and global action to counter AMR by: fostering the prudent use of medically important antibiotics; phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals; and enhancing research and development for new antibiotics, therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics. G-7 Leaders also committed to develop and share national action plans, such as the Obama Administration’s “National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.” This work in the G-7 will also build upon President Obama’s September 2014 Executive Order and will continue the momentum from the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship held earlier this month.
- Supporting Gavi and the Global Fund: G-7 Leaders welcomed the $7.5 billion replenishment of Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance, to vaccinate an additional 300 million children by 2020. This included a pledge of $1 billion over four years from the United States. In addition, G-7 Leaders look forward to a successful replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2016.
- Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): G-7 Leaders will continue to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by strengthening community-based approaches to distribute therapies, fully leveraging drug donation programs, and enhancing research, development, and targeting for drugs, vaccines and point-of-care technologies. Since 2007, USAID’s NTD Program has supported the delivery of more than 1 billion treatments for NTDs.
Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment
G-7 Leaders are committed to advancing women’s economic empowerment both at home and around the world. Leaders realize that in order to do so, they must address discrimination, sexual harassment, violence against women and girls, and other cultural, social economic and legal barriers to women’s economic participation. At this year’s G-7 Summit, Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to reduce the gender gap in workforce participation, and announced the creation of a G-7 working group to advance progress on these new initiatives.
- Women’s Entrepreneurship: The Leaders articulated a set of principles specific to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs, including through efforts to increase women and girls’ awareness of the possibility to start businesses and to facilitate tailored training and resources to empower women as entrepreneurs.
- Women’s Technical and Vocational Training: In a further effort to increase women’s workforce participation, G-7 Leaders committed to increase the number of women in developing countries receiving technical and vocational education and training through G-7 assistance by one-third by 2030.
This work complements ongoing United States efforts to support women and girls around the world. Through the National Action Plan for Women, Peace, and Security, the United States is working to ensure that women are empowered as peace-builders, protected from violence in conflict, and receive access to relief and recovery resources in times of crisis. The U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally coordinates U.S. Department and Agencies in efforts to address the gender-based violence that prevents too many women from participating in the workforce and other aspects of public life. The Equal Futures Partnership, launched by the United States in 2012, brings together 27 countries, including G-7 members Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, to make domestic commitments related to women’s political and economic empowerment. Finally, through the Let Girls Learn Initiative, we are increasing our efforts to ensure that girls around the world complete secondary education and are prepared to enter the workforce.
The United States has also shown sustained commitment to improving work-life balance and to making work pay for women through its support of efforts to expand paid leave, raise the minimum wage, and ensure equal pay.
Source: White House