In addition to more ambitious climate protection, the major industrialized countries must do more to combat the global food and debt crisis and make healthcare systems more resilient worldwide. So far, the G7 has failed to protect its citizens from digital corporations and data abuse. Moreover, there is still a lack of common standards to measure progress in social and environmental projects.
Elmau/Garmisch-Partenkirchen, June 25, 2022 – On the eve of the G7 summit, leading scientists from G7 think tanks today made key recommendations to the heads of state and government meeting in Elmau, Bavaria tomorrow. The G7 must now create the necessary instruments to deal with the numerous crises and challenges in the world, Dennis Snower and Axel Berger, representing the G7 think tank group “Think7”, stressed to journalists at the G7 International Media Centre in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. “We are living in a time of multiple crises. The G7 will have to go to great lengths to combat these crises simultaneously and ensure that they no longer arise in the future. So far, we have experienced the opposite: while a new crisis is emerging, the previous one has not even been dealt with yet.” TheThink7 is one of the seven engagement groups officially mandated by the German Chancellor’s Office. It closely accompanied the German G7 presidency and handed over a final communiqué to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about a month ago.
The key recommendations are:
Measuring prosperity in a more diverse way
The G7 agree that the geopolitical situation, social divisions, and the climate crisis call for a comprehensive socio-economic and environmental transformation. However, they have not agreed on common standards for measuring transformation. “So far, only economic indicators have been measured, first and foremost gross domestic product (GDP). It is, thus, the most important measure of success for political action worldwide. Given the profound transformation of environmental, education, and social policies, we urgently need a metric that can also be used to measure these goals. The G7 should, therefore, determine annually, in addition to GDP, how solidarity, people’s empowerment, and environmental sustainability are developing. Because without measuring success, there is no success,” stresses Dennis J. Snower, President of the Global Solutions Initiative and one of the two chairmen of Think7. The call receives support from around a hundred renowned researchers, who have recently signed an appeal for a different model for measuring prosperity.
Strengthen climate protection
The G7 must deliver on its commitments to international climate finance and reform its financial regulation to automatically drive more sustainable investment. “The proposed G7 Climate Club must support the multilateral climate process, not undermine it. However, when we talk about it, we also need to think even more about the impact on developing countries,” says Axel Berger.
Progress in climate protection must also be measured against comprehensive indices, the Think7 experts emphasize: It is not just a matter of measuring how material prosperity and ecological progress change as a result of the ecological transformation. Instead, it is also to ensure an ecological transformation that strengthens social cohesion and people’s individual capacity to act. “Just transition must not only apply when we say goodbye to coal; it must also be the guiding principle for building a climate-friendly and socially inclusive energy supply,” stresses Dennis Snower.
G7 must wake up to digitization and data ownership
Global digital corporations are getting bigger and bigger and increasingly dominating entire sectors of the economy. Liberal democracy, social participation, freedom of science, and freedom of the press are already threatened by the power of digital corporations today. “In the area of our digital networks, which are critically important for our involvement in the economy and society, digital corporations are already the real power holders today,” says Dennis Snower. “This makes one think of digital feudalism, which the G7 must not accept. They must finally create a unified legal framework to give digital users true control over their personal information and ensure that citizens experience the same rights, protections, and opportunities in the online world as they do in the offline world,” the Think7 chairman insists.
The Think7 agree that the major global problems can only be solved in multilateral forums such as the G7 and the G20. The Russian attack in Ukraine does not change this. Rather, multilateral forums can be part of the solution. “If you think from the end, there is nothing left but to also talk to those countries that do not share your values. Because not doing so is less likely to lead to solutions to global problems and only encourages the formation of blocs around the world,” Snower says.
“The G7 is a necessary forum, but it is not enough on its own. The G7 would do well to invite partners from the African continent and major emerging economies from the G20 to Elmau. As long as the G7’s actions are embedded in inclusive, multilateral forums, it can be effective,” says Berger.
The Think7 base their assessment on more than 70 policy proposals developed by more than 300 researchers at 150 think tanks and organizations in the G7 and beyond. The essence of the recommendations is summarized in the Think7 Communiqué, which was delivered by representatives of the Think7 to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the end of May.
The Think7 is one of several engagement groups of the German G7 Presidency. The group develops and submits research-based policy recommendations to support the G7 Presidency. The Think7 process began earlier this year with a virtual kick-off conference. It progressed through many working group meetings and the Global Solutions Summit, concluding with the handover of the Think7 Communiqué to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz following the Think7 Summit. The Think7 process is jointly coordinated by the Global Solutions Initiative and the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) (previously: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)) during the German G7 Presidency 2022, which have been mandated for this purpose by the German Federal Chancellery.