Traditionally G20 and G7 policy making has focused exclusively on the pursuit of economic prosperity, assuming that social prosperity would develop alongside it. The past decades have shown that this is not the case: market economies routinely give rise to environmental degradation and social crises (driven by rising inequalities, falling social solidarity and fear of disempowerment), leading to political crises (characterized by rising political fragmentation and conflict). Even where our economies serve our economic needs, they do not appear to have sufficient regard for our social and environmental needs.
Our future depends critically on our ability to transform our economic systems in accordance with our individual and collective goals: the pursuit of wellbeing of individuals in thriving societies within planetary boundaries. The requisite economic transformation must promote not just economic ends, but also social and environmental prosperity. Local, regional and national actions will have to be made coherent with global goals.
The G7 and the G20 have a crucial role to play in this transformation, with both forums serving different purposes to achieve the collective goals. Research institutions and civil society representatives, working alongside policy makers and business leaders, have a crucial role to provide knowledge and engagement that helps to support the transformation. Achieving coherence and consistency of policies – across G7 and G20, as well as across global, national and local levels of governance –will require an ongoing and reliable exchange among the relevant stakeholders to promote convergence or synergies among approaches to transformation.