Explainer: The 2021 G7 and NATO summits

The environment, global economy, security, and human rights were discussed at the annual meetings

European Council President Charles Michel, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a joint press conference on EU -Canada Summit in Brussels, Belgium. (Flickr/ madison.beer)

The annual G7 Leaders’ summit in the United Kingdom covers several global issues, from the current pandemic to climate change, over a three-day period that started June 11. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the summit before joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14.

The G7 summit is an international meeting of leaders, ministers, and policy-makers that spearhead initiatives to address world problems. The G7 itself includes seven economically successful countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the United States. Also included in the G7 is the European Union, which joined the organization one year after Canada did back in 1976.

As detailed in their 25-page communiqué, the G7 laid out its commitments to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing vaccination and ensuring 870 million doses will be available for next year.

Working with several health organizations, the G7 will ensure vaccines, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies are available for this and possible future pandemics.

To tackle the climate crisis, the G7 committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but 2050 is the latest year leaders have set to meet this goal. And a $100 billion fund is being planned to protect biodiversity and provide disaster insurance for developing countries.

The summit discussed advancing gender equality, protecting women’s reproductive rights, and supporting diverse identities. Leaders addressed violence against women, girls, and marginalized groups and discussed developing policies that will support their wellbeing.

By 2026, the G7 wants to ensure access to education for 40 million more girls who would otherwise be restricted by socio-economic conditions.

One of the biggest topics covered by the G7 was addressing the different human rights violations experienced or committed by different countries. China and Russia’s human rights violations prompt the G7 to demand they respect the autonomy of other regions.

Among the summit’s action plans, Canada specifically committed to contributing $1.3 billion to the G7 health care fund for vaccines and $5.3 billion over five years to aid developing countries in mitigating climate change and COVID-19.

Canada is also working with its energy sector to end thermal coal emissions impacting the environment the most by 2030. The country will support workers from this industry by helping them to smoothly transition into and develop skills for new jobs and economic opportunities.

As a response to the pandemic affecting marginalized minorities, Trudeau pledged $300 million to improve education systems globally so children everywhere can better use and access them.

At the subsequent NATO summit, the alliance of 30 members met to talk about plans and goals catered for safety and security worldwide. There, they unpack current issues like terrorism, cybercrimes, and collective defence.

Canada will partake in NATO’s cyber operations, donate $1 million to help peacekeeping missions, and work with other leaders for world peace and to address climate insecurity.

“The advances we made at this Summit will ensure NATO continues to adapt to meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow, including those brought on by climate change, and will build a safer and more resilient world for our people,” reads a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office attributed to Trudeau.