Whether the G7 can continue with the strong compliance it has achieved on commitments from the Elmau Summit is yet to be seen, but there are indicators that continued good performance is likely
At their summit in Elmau, Germany, in June 2022, G7 leaders made 545 commitments on a wide range of subjects, reflecting the transition to a post-pandemic and now war-scarred world. Alongside the ongoing economic, social and health recovery from Covid-19, climate change, the environment, energy, inclusive development and gender equality remained at the forefront of the summit agenda and action. Moreover, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 became a core focus, pushing the topic of regional security into the spotlight on Elmau’s centre stage.
Indeed, the 545 commitments were led by 65 on regional security, for 12% of the total, 59 on climate change for 11% and 49 on energy for 9%. Reflecting the G7’s distinctive foundational mission, leaders made 45 commitments on human rights and 42 on democracy, for 8% each. They made 40 on health and 36 on the environment, for 7% each, and 35 on food and agriculture for 6%, 25 on the digital economy for 5%, 22 on gender equality for 4%, and 19 on macroeconomic policy for 3%.
Priority commitments for assessing compliance
The G7 Research Group selected 21 priority commitments of the 545 total for monitoring members’ compliance. The selection was based on the proportion of the number of commitments on a particular subject. Thus, regional security, climate change and health had two each. One each was selected for energy, human rights, democracy, environment, food and agriculture, digital economy, gender, trade, macroeconomics, crime and corruption, labour and employment, infrastructure, non-proliferation, terrorism and development.
The G7 Research Group’s analysis of all eight G7 members, including the European Union, assessed their compliance during the interim period from the end of the Elmau Summit on 28 June 2022, when the commitments were made, to 6 January 2023, after Japan assumed the 2023 presidency and halfway to the G7 summit in Hiroshima on 19–21 May. The final compliance report, covering the full period since Elmau, will be published on the eve of the Hiroshima Summit.
By 6 January, average compliance with Elmau’s 21 priority commitments was 85%, the same as the 2021 Cornwall Summit interim score but substantially lower than the 2020 US Virtual Summit’s interim score of 93%.
By subject, interim compliance with the 2022 Elmau Summit’s priority commitments was highest – 100% – on four commitments: two regional security commitments on Ukraine, one on energy security and one on macroeconomic growth. At the bottom, with 63%, were a commitment on climate change and health sustainability and another on non-proliferation.
In between, but close to the top came labour and employment, and infrastructure with 94% each. They were followed by five commitments with 88%: on decarbonising the power sector, human rights, democracy, food and agriculture, and the digital economy. Next, with 81%, were six on gender, free trade, non-communicable diseases, cooperation on extremism, transnational crime and debt transparency. The commitment on pandemic preparedness had 75%, and the environment commitment on funding for nature had 69%.
By member, the United Kingdom and the United States ranked first with 93% compliance. They were followed by Germany and the European Union at 90%, Canada at 88%, France at 83%, Japan at 74% and Italy at 67%.
Final compliance will likely vary by subject. The primary driver will be how the war in Ukraine unfolds. Given the steadfast resolve of G7 members and allies, compliance with the regional and energy security commitments will remain at 100%, backed by continued sanctions on Russian president Vladimir Putin’s regime and his war effort.
On energy, the G7, and Europe in particular, will continue to focus on managing fuel shortages and price hikes. They have fared well here so far. As seasonal temperatures begin to rise, one can expect a renewed focus on decarbonisation and the green transition. This could help raise the G7’s compliance with its climate change commitments.
With the historical symbolism of Hiroshima as the summit site and the increasing threat of nuclear war, the G7’s relatively low interim compliance on its non-proliferation commitment may improve.
Compliance with the macroeconomic commitments on inclusive growth will remain high, following the trend of historically high G7 compliance on this subject over the years. Compliance on the health-related commitments will likely rise. Given the lasting economic and structural ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be appropriate for G7 members to acknowledge the need for concrete action to respond to the threat of another pandemic and the precarity of global health institutions.