47th Meeting of G-7 Kick-Starts in England with ‘Build Back Better’ Theme
The forty-seventh G-7 summit is being held in the United Kingdom since Great Britain has the presidency of the G-7 for this year. The theme for this year’s summit is to build back better. The two key items for discussion this time around are coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
India will also be taking part in the outreach sessions of the G-7 summit with the Indian Prime Minister participating in the discussions virtually.
G-7 has been a US-led initiative of rich industrialized democratic countries. It is primarily the US and Canada on one side, European countries on the other, and then Japan. It is more like the gathering of countries around the idea of liberal and western democracies. Although Japan is a bit of a misfit there it has also got the US alliance system.
For this year’s summit, all eyes are set on President Joe Biden; it is his first foreign visit as the new US president. After four years of the Donald Trump administration, there was a lot of disruption and doubt about whether the G-7 can maintain its relevance. This was because former president Trump had trade wars and other disagreements with all his allies. Now Biden is talking about rebuilding the alliance of democracies and emphasizing more and more of the value-based coordination of democratic countries. The main pressure is on Biden to show that he can again offer some leadership to the G-7 and bring it together. Many analysts have suggested this to be the background factor for them.
The US has been criticized for not sharing its vaccines with anybody for a long time while having a huge stockpile and a surplus. Only now Biden has started making some small announcements. The big announcement is that the G-7 is collectively going to give away 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines. The UK will give 100 million, the US 500 million and the rest will cover another 400 million. They want to show that the rich countries’ democracies are still relevant as Biden says and they are not losing the game. Because on the other hand China has been quite dominant and has been striding the world stage since the pandemic began.
Build back a better message from the G-7 also denotes that the G-7 is going to reduce the differences amongst themselves. In the true spirit of the theme, they are also partnering with other democracies like India, South Korea, Australia, and South Africa. Together with these countries, the G-7 will provide solutions for the pandemic, post-pandemic, climate, and other big global challenges.
The G-7 wants to position that this group still has relevance which was fading and had been overtaken by G-20 in many ways. Biden might be looking to use the G-7 as a means to re-establish western leadership in the world.