A new chapter began for the Think7 on October 31, 2022, as the Japanese delegation represented by Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) took over the reins from the departing chairs, the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) and the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS, formerly DIE). The Tokyo-based organization will now shepherd the Think7 process during the Japanese G7 presidency.
The ceremonial handover took place at a virtual handover event with over 70 invited guests and speakers representing the current and future G7 and G20 presidencies, including Indonesia, India, Japan and Germany. The event offered an opportunity for reflection, as participants and speakers engaged in dialogue around the key questions: What was achieved during the German G7 presidency? Which issues should remain crucial for the G7 under Japan’s leadership?
Taking stock: A look back at the German G7 presidency
The session was opened by Think7 co-chairs Prof. Anna-Katharina Hornidge (IDOS) and GSI President Prof. Dennis Snower. In her address, Hornidge underlined the important role played by the engagement groups in providing continuity despite the challenging geopolitical landscape, while Snower praised the close collaboration between the German government and the Think7, calling it essential to building a bridge between research and policy. In his view, interactions between the Think7 and Think20 are now taking center stage as the common sense of purpose between the G7 and G20 grows stronger.
In terms of specific policy proposals, Snower mentioned the German “Climate Club” initiative, which in his estimation should be taken up by the Japanese G7, as it offers a new approach to multilateralism – in which countries can pledge support for a goal, yet take steps to get there via individually tailored pathways – that has the potential to be adopted in many other areas.
Dr. Yose Rizal Damuri, T20 Executive Co-Chair, CSIS Indonesia, called for strengthening the voice of the T20 and ensuring it is represented in the global agenda and in Think7 recommendations. He also cited the need to improve inclusivity in the process by including researchers from the so-called Global South.
This point was echoed by Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, India, who said he was encouraged by recent developments from the G20 in Indonesia, where many researchers based in the Global South contributed policy briefs.
Outlook: Agenda for Japan’s Think7 2023
In his remarks, Prof. Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean and CEO of ADBI, emphasized the need for continuity in the new presidency. Further priorities mentioned by Sonobe include strengthening multilateralism, bringing in voices from the Global South, especially in light of the upcoming G20 presidencies in India, Brazil and South Africa, and building a bridge between the G7 and G20.
Finally, Naobumi Yokota from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out the crucial role that think tanks play in providing expert guidance – especially in uncertain times.