G7 performance on health
G7 Summit

G7 performance on health

Compliance on health commitments is just below average, but there are measures the G7 leaders can take to improve their score and deliver the missing pieces that promise better outcomes for everyone

The G7 has discussed health since 1979, long before the start of COVID-19. The pandemic has put health high on the G7 agenda, including for the 2022 Elmau Summit.


There have been 56,471 words on health in G7 communiqués since 1979, averaging 1,152 (11%) per summit. There have been 108 dedicated documents on health, for an average of 2.2 per summit. The number of dedicated documents peaked at the 2020 US Virtual Summit, early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The G7 dedicated no more than 750 words to health until 1995. The focus on health increased after 1996 with 825 (5%) dedicated words and 1,400 dedicated words (11%) in 1997. Attention dipped in 1998 and 1999, but then rose after 2000. From 2000 to 2010, the G7 dedicated at least 1,500 words to health at each summit, ranging from 3% to 26%. The 2006 summit produced the most words on health at 7,072 (23%). From 2011 to 2014, the focus on health dipped below 800 words per summit.

The focus on health increased once again in 2015 with 2,190 words (17.3%) and 6,087 (26%) in 2016. It declined in 2017 to 885 (10%) and in 2018 to 713 (6%). It increased in 2019 to 1,145 words (16%). In 2020, the leaders dedicated 576 words (72%) to health. In 2021, the February virtual summit dedicated 550 words (84%) and the Cornwall Summit 4,909 words (24%). In 2022 the February virtual summit had 620 words (36%).


The G7 has made 548 core collective, politically binding, future-oriented commitments on health, beginning with one in 1979 on malnutrition and hunger. The first core health commitment was made in 1996. The first time multiple health commitments were made was in 1991, with three (6%). Since 1996, there has been at least one health or health-related commitment made at
each summit.

Health commitments did not make up more than 10% of the overall commitments until 2000, with 13%. This dropped to 5% in 2001. From 2001 to 2005, between 3% and 10% were on health. This increased substantially in 2006 where 18% of the commitments were on core health or health-related topics.

In 2007, 13% of the commitments made were on health, dropping to 6% in 2008 and 4% in 2009. In 2010, the G7 had a notably strong year with 17% commitments on health. The years 2015 with 16% and 2016 with 24% were also strong.

The G7’s focus on health then dropped, before increasing in 2020 to 44%, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attention decreased, but stayed high in 2021, with 30% made in February 2021 and with 21% at Cornwall. The virtual summit in February 2022 had 25%.


Compliance with the 86 health commitments assessed by the G7 Research Group averages 75%, marginally lower than the 76% average across all subjects. The first assessed commitments in 1983 and 1997 had 100% each. Compliance lowered, then rose in 2000 to 91%, in 2001 to 94% and in 2003 to 90%.

It then decreased in 2004 to 75%, in 2005 to 72% and in 2006 to 69%. It was strong in 2007 with 86% compliance. It dipped from 2008 to 2011 before rising again in 2012 to 100%, followed in 2013 with 95%, in 2014 with 92% and in 2015 with 86%. In 2016, it dipped to 68% and further in 2017 to only 25%. In 2020, it rose to 97%. By February 2022 compliance with the Cornwall Summit was 88%.

Causes and corrections

The G7 can increase compliance on health commitments by doing at least two things.

One, the G7 can host meetings of health ministers before the leaders’ summit. There have been five summits with pre-summit health ministerial meetings or working groups (2006, 2015, 2016, 2020 and 2021). These averaged compliance of 85%, or 10% higher than the overall health compliance average of 75%.

Second, the G7 can increase references to multilateral organisations, such as the World Health Organization. The 10 highest-scoring summits averaged 91% compliance and made at least eight references to multilateral organisations. This compares to the lowest scoring 10 summits, which averaged 60% and made fewer than seven such references.