The Group of Seven - G7

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal forum of the seven leading industrial nations and democracies. Besides Germany, the G7 consists of Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

The G7 sees itself as a community of shared values committed, for instance, to freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, prosperity and sustainable development. The role of public health has also gained importance in recent years, not least due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global health. Although decisions adopted by the G7 are not legally binding, they nevertheless have considerable political impact on account of the combined political and economic clout of the G7 members, so that many other countries as well as international organisations look to its decisions.

The G7 is considered an informal forum since it does not possess fixed structures, such as its own administrative apparatus or permanent representation of members. That is why the presidency, which rotates annually between members, plays such an important role. The presidency sets the thematic priorities and organises the annual summits and meetings of the specialised ministers. Japan took over the presidency from Germany in 2023 and will be succeeded by Italy in 2024.

The highlight of every G7 presidency is the summit meeting of the heads of state and government. At the summit meetings, they have the opportunity to engage in face-to-face talks where they exchange views on global political issues and agree on common positions and goals. The topics to be discussed at the G7 Summit are prepared by the so-called Sherpas – the chief negotiators of the heads of state and government. The outcomes are then set down in joint declarations (communiqués) by the heads of state and government.

However, the G7 process involves much more than this – it is in fact a year-round operation. In working groups at expert level and at meetings of specialised ministers (Ministers’ Meetings), the G7 countries agree on joint positions and initiatives in various policy areas. While the G7 originally focussed on the development of the global economy (this is why their meetings are also known as “world economic summits”), today there are numerous working groups, including on foreign policy, trade, climate/energy/environment, science/technology and health.

Logo: G7 Germany 2022

Health was already a priority of Germany’s G7 presidency in 2015. At the time, the G7 presidency was leveraged to draw – jointly with the other G7 partners – vital lessons from the Ebola crisis to ensure a better response to similar global crises going forward. The theme of Germany’s G7 presidency in 2022 was “Progress Towards an Equitable World”. One key outcome was the commitment to strengthen global health by improving pandemic preparedness and response.

Last change: 31. July 2023
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