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"Think Ahead. Act Together" – What Germany’s G7 Presidency has achieved

30.12.2015 - Article

The motto chosen for the German G7 Presidency through 2015 was "Think Ahead. Act Together". The Summit at Schloss Elmau focused on joint efforts to foster a values and rules-based economic order and a values-based foreign policy.

Foreign and security policy priorities

Working session at the G7 Summit in Schloss Elmau, 8 June 2015
Working session at the G7 Summit in Schloss Elmau, 8 June 2015© Bundesregierung/Kugler

The debate at Elmau on foreign and security policy centred on the Ukraine crisis, action to counter the terrorist organisation “Islamic State” and the situation in Libya, Yemen and Iran.

The Heads of State and Government condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and reiterated the need to find a political solution on the basis of the Minsk agreements. They reaffirmed their support for Ukraine and called on the government in Kyiv to continue to implement reforms. A G7 support group was established in Kyiv to advise and support the Ukrainian government as it pursues economic reform. The G7 states reaffirmed their determination to combat terrorism and declared their readiness to do more to support countries affected by terrorist acts, in particular Nigeria, Tunisia and Iraq, whose leaders attended the summit.

G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Lübeck: "A signal of determination and unity of purpose"

The G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Lübeck (14-15 April) was held at a time of escalating threats when the international order was under increasing scrutiny; the G7, as a community of shared values, sent out a strong signal of determination and unity of purpose. In their extensive communiqué, the G7 Foreign Ministers stated their position on current crises including those in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and on cross-cutting themes such as combating terrorism, the climate and security, human rights and cyber issues.

The G7 Foreign Ministers also adopted a declaration on maritime security (the Lübeck Declaration) and an agenda to help prevent future crises and enhance security in Africa. They likewise endorsed a G7 statement on non-proliferation and disarmament. The G7 Foreign Ministers further decided to set up a working group to evaluate the recommendations of an international consortium of think tanks on the foreign policy risks of climate change, which is due to report back in time for the 2016 G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hiroshima. In implementation of the Lübeck Declaration, the German G7 Presidency hosted a high-level meeting of experts on maritime security in Berlin on 14 December.

Assistance for Syrian refugees

At an enlarged meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers in New York on 29 September, convened at short notice by the German G7 Presidency and attended by G7 countries, humanitarian donors and Arab Gulf states, we called with success for additional funds for humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees. A total of over 1.8 billion US dollars was pledged for further humanitarian support at the meeting.

Supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Participants of the G7 Outreach Meeting in New York
Participants of the G7 Outreach Meeting in New York© Photothek / Imo

In Elmau the G7 countries set themselves the targets of lifting 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, and, in the same period, increasing the number of women and girls given technical and vocational education by one third. These targets underscore the G7’s commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Growth and world trade

The G7 leaders further agreed to continue their efforts to achieve stronger and more inclusive growth, to close remaining gaps in the regulation of the financial markets and to cooperate yet more closely on international tax matters. They also expressed their commitment to the multilateral trading system and the WTO, whilst stressing the importance of regional trade agreements, especially the TTIP, for growth, jobs and prosperity.

The G7 furthermore agreed on concrete steps to strengthen responsibility in global supply chains and to improve the application of existing labour, social and environmental standards, in particular by ensuring consumers and purchasing companies are better informed, by providing advice and financial support for developing countries, by doing more to support small and medium-sized firms and by means of multi-stakeholder initiatives, above all in the textile industry.

Climate change

With a view to protecting the environment, the G7 leaders affirmed their determination to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, to decarbonise the global economy over the course of the century and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70% by 2050 compared to 2010. In this way the Heads of State and Government issued an important signal in the run up to the international climate change negotiations in Paris in 2015.

Germany also set various other priorities in the fields of health, women and the environment, in coordination with its G7 partners.

Further information

Final Report by the Federal Government on the G7 Presidency 2015 PDF / 5 MB

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