7 PM Editorial |Limitations of G7 and Possible Alternatives to it| 11th June 2020

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Limitations of G7 and Possible Alternatives to it

 What has happened:

US has postponed the G7 meeting which is supposed to be held in June. It has also proposed including other countries in G7 to make it more representative and more impactful. G10 or G11 are proposed which includes India, South Korea, Australia and possibly Russia(if G11). Intention is to make such alternatives more effective than G7. Such alternatives must be able to respond to global crises like COVID.

Let us understand history and current ineffectiveness of G7 as well as alternatives to the same.

G7 – History and members:

G7 currently consists of US, UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, France and Canada. From1998 to 2014, it was G8 which included Russia. Due to Crimean crisis G8 has become G7 due to expulsion of Russia. In addition European Union is an invitee.

G7 was initially established to tackle the oil crisis of 1973 due to Arab-Israel war and recession of the time. It was established as a grouping of restricted club of rich democracies.

The major purpose of the G-7 currently is to discuss and sometimes act to help resolve global problems, with a special focus on economic issues. The group has discussed financial crises, monetary systems, and major world crises such as oil shortages.

Ineffectiveness of G7:

G7 is not representative in current times. When it was established it accounted for 2/3rd of global GDP. But now it accounts only for 1/3rd on PPP basis and less than 50% on nominal basis(market prices). Emerging 7(E7) economies of India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Turkey are not part of it. This makes the group ineffective in tackling global economic crisis as was seen in the 2007-08 global crisis. G20 is more representative than G7 in this respect.

G7 failed in tackling global issues and challenges of Climate change, terrorism(ISIS etc), West Asian crisis, COVID 19 pandemic. Its failures include:

  1. G7 accounts for 59% of historical CO2 emissions and pledged phase out fossil fuels. Yet there is no visible progress of the same and they currently account for twice the CO2 emission than African continent.
  2. In terms of terrorirsm, ISIS has thousands of fighters from G7 countries.
  3. West Asian crisis in Syria, Yemen, Iraq has led to a migrant exodus to European nations. G7 nations failed in addressing this migrant crisis leading to deaths and inhumane statelessness for millions.
  4. Weakening of rules based of trade regime through WTO and trade wars has active role of G7 countries
Alternatives and objectives to pursue:

In the context of COVID 19, multilateralism which promotes mechanisms which address global problems is needed.

These mechanisms need to be representative and must include current and emerging economies. “The World of 2050” report by PWC predicts top economies by 2050 include China, India, US, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia. Along with these, Mexico, Turkey, UK. France, Germany, South Korea and Australia need to be included in the new mechanism.

Global issues that needs to addressed in order of priority are:

  1. Tackling COVID 19 crisis
  2. Reviving international trade and growth in a sustainable method to reduce environmental impact and inequalities
  3. Tackling Climate change
  4. Counter terrorism and preventing state sponsorship of terror
  5. Counter proliferation of nuclear and Biological weapons. In context of COVID 19, extra care must be taken to implement Biological weapons convention to prevent future pandemics
  6. Regional issues need to be taken up
    1. Preventing nuclear proliferation with respect to Iran
    2. Peace in West Asia, Afghanistan, Gulf
    3. Reduction of tensions in Korean peninsula and South China Sea

Only a representative institution which can resolve global issues can become a viable alternative to G7. Only such mechanism can generate confidence during global crisis like COVID 19. India must pursue such representative mechanisms irrespective of objections from China, to achieve Indian interests.

Mains Question:
  1. G7 has failed to generate confidence in addressing global issues. Discuss? [15 marks, 250 words]
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