People around the world are feeling the compounding impacts of entangled global crises: conflict, climate change, food and energy insecurity, and pandemics. With these crises driving up the cost of living, displacing people from their homes, disrupting traditional supply chains and sowing uncertainty for the future, G7 countries must once again do what we always do during tough times: pull together.
Last year, when Russian president Vladimir Putin made the grave mistake of invading a free and independent country, we pulled together to implement coordinated and hard-hitting sanctions to put pressure on him and his enablers. We have provided the training, military equipment, financial assistance and humanitarian aid the Ukrainian people need – and we will keep supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes. When it comes to standing up for human rights, for the rule of law, for democracy, and standing against disinformation and foreign interference, the G7 stands together, and more united than ever.
The impacts of Russia’s war of aggression have been felt far beyond the borders of Ukraine. The war compounded global inflation, making it harder for families to make ends meet at the end of the month. It caused concern about regional food supplies with Russia blocking Ukrainian grain from reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable regions. And it showed us that too many countries were reliant on Russian oil and gas to power their economies. So we pulled together to fill gaps where possible, now and into the future. But geopolitical uncertainty stretches beyond Russia too. Now, as countries around the world are seeking strong, reliable trading partners to develop the supply chains our economies need, we must keep pulling together to meet that demand.
The clean economy presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only keep 1.5°C of warming within reach and avert the worst impacts of climate change, but also to create and secure good, middle-class jobs for our people and grow our economies. For too long, it was taken as conventional wisdom that we had to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy. And there are still those who think that way. But if you ask the Canadian innovators developing clean hydrogen to ship to Germany or Japan or workers processing critical minerals to power the North American electric vehicle sector, they would tell you that we do not have to choose between clean air and good jobs. When we cut emissions, we can drive economic growth and build new strong, reliable supply chains that reduce our reliance on raw materials and components from countries such as China and Russia too. This is economic policy, it is climate policy and it is security policy.
Putting people first
Above all, what we must do in this moment is put people first. That means we, as G7 members, need to adopt policies at home that ensure the prosperity we are seeking to create is shared, not among the largest corporations and the wealthiest in our societies, but by everyone – including those who are too often left behind. For example, affordable child care, which we are already implementing in Canada, is delivering real results by driving economic growth with more women entering the workforce. Whether through the Sustainable Development Goals or the work of the Gender Equality Advisory Council and amplifying the voices of women, particularly in places such as Iran and Afghanistan, G7 members work together on our shared responsibility to support people. And we have a shared responsibility to demonstrate that our free, open and rules-based system not only works, but also delivers the strongest and most prosperous economies where people have the best chance of success. Because we know that only when everyone, everywhere has clean air and clean water, a good job and equal opportunity, can we all truly succeed.
For the past few years, we have spoken a lot about tough times. We have used the word ‘unprecedented’ and said ‘now, more than ever’ more times than we can count. But in this era of entangled crises, there is only one way we get through: by pulling together. Pulling together to seize the opportunity to build clean and reliable supply chains for our economies and our workers, pulling together to stand up for democracy and what is right, and pulling together to build a healthy future for our children and grandchildren. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together.