G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting, May 2021: communiqué

Governance – G7

G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting, May 2021: communiqué

Published 5 May 2021

[Editor’s Excerpts; Full text of communique here]

1. We, the Foreign and Development Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7), and the High Representative of the European Union, are meeting today at a critical juncture for our people, our planet, our security and our future prosperity. Democracy is under pressure globally; the pandemic continues to pose acute global challenges; new technological threats are mounting; and the catastrophic effects of climate change are increasing. We commit to strengthening open societies, shared values, and the rules-based international order. We affirm that free and fair trade, and the free and secure flow of capital, data, knowledge, ideas and talent is essential to our long-term prosperity. We affirm that liberal democracy and free and fair markets remain the best models for inclusive, sustainable social and economic advancement. We commit to tackling threats jointly and committing our resources to achieve shared security. We will promote respect for, and protect, human rights for all individuals, regardless of where they live and whatever their identity, faith, gender, disability or race. We commit to working with the international community to further advance gender equality; and reaffirm the importance of focusing on educating girls, empowering women, and ending violence against women and girls…

2. We affirm the need to take collective action on the most pressing foreign and security challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored that global challenges require global collaboration. We reaffirm that investments in health systems will strengthen economic growth and our ability to respond to future pandemic threats. We reaffirm our commitment to working with developing partner countries, especially in Africa, to achieve a green, inclusive and sustainable recovery from COVID-19, aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, including urgent equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. We commit to supporting developing partner countries to tackle and prevent the interlinked threats of conflict, climate change, poverty, food insecurity, and the health, humanitarian, human rights and economic effects of COVID-19; and building back better so that we are more prepared for future pandemics. We are deeply concerned that the pandemic has further set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We commit to making increased efforts towards achieving the SDGs by 2030, and commit to ensuring that no-one is left behind…

III. Open societies

48. We believe that all people can benefit from a more open world, where democracy, respect for human rights, effective and accountable governance, and the rule of law can thrive; and where the benefits of prosperity are shared by all, through free and fair trade and global growth. We commit to work collectively to strengthen the foundations of open societies, promote human rights and inclusive connectivity. We commit to protect in a coordinated way against threats, including from disinformation and information operations, surveillance, malicious cyber activities, censorship, corruption, illicit finance and the closure of civic space. We also commit to reinforcing inclusive democratic institutions that protect the rights and freedoms of all persons: including safe and vibrant civic spaces, promoting digital inclusion, and supporting independent media. We support the important work undertaken by our Interior Minister colleagues on anti-corruption, addressing online harms and on working with the technology industry on public safety in system designs in protecting open societies online. We welcome and support the initiative of the United States to convene a Summit for Democracy. We commit to the following measures on media freedom, Internet shutdowns, cyber governance, freedom of religion or belief, the Rapid Response Mechanism, arbitrary detention. We look forward to Leader-level discussions on Open Societies with Australia, India, the Republic of Korea and South Africa at the G7 Summit in June.

Media freedom

49. We commit to championing media freedom as a vital part of upholding democracy and human rights around the world. We condemn intimidation, harassment and violence against journalists, noting that women, and those in marginalised and vulnerable situations, are disproportionately targets, both online and offline. We recognise the importance of diverse voices in shaping public debate, promoting transparency and ensuring accountability…

Internet shutdowns

52. We are concerned about actions by states to intentionally disrupt their own populations’ access to, or dissemination of, information, knowledge, and data online. Internet shutdowns and network restrictions undermine civic space, online and offline and unjustifiably limit access to information and the rights of peaceful assembly, association and freedom of expression online. We reaffirm our commitment to a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance and urge all countries, in accordance with their international legal obligations and commitments, to refrain from intentional disruptions that render Internet and mobile network services inaccessible or unusable, thereby undermining the exercise of individual rights and freedoms. We will improve our co-ordination, together with likeminded countries, civil society and the private sector, to address and respond to Internet shutdowns as they occur. We welcome the Freedom Online Coalition’s Joint Statement and Accompanying Good Practices for Government on State-Sponsored Network Disruptions…

Enabling equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTDs)

62. We affirm our belief that commitment to an open, transparent and multilateral approach is essential in responding to the global health impacts of COVID-19. A global health emergency on this scale requires co-ordinated action and global solidarity. We reaffirm our support for all existing pillars of Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), including its COVAX facility. We recognise that equipping the ACT-Accelerator with adequate funding is central. We support the strengthening of health systems, and affordable and equitable global access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and we will further increase our efforts to support affordable and equitable access for people in need, taking approaches consistent with members’ commitments to incentivise innovation… In this context, we look forward to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Summit to be co-hosted by Gavi and Japan following the COVAX AMC One World Protected Event co-hosted by Gavi and US.

63. We commit to the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Equitable Access and Collaboration Statement to help accelerate the end of the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. We commit to supporting COVAX financially, including by encouraging pledges to the Facility, including at the COVAX AMC Summit in June, disbursing as soon as possible, providing in-kind contributions, and coordinating with and using COVAX, which is the key mechanism for global sharing of vaccines to supplement its own direct procurement, to enable the rapid equitable deployment of vaccines

Ending violence against women and girls

74. We note with concern that COVID-19 has increased all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) and that women and girls facing multiple forms of discrimination are often at greatest risk. Stronger political will, greater resources and accountability are urgently required to address this issue…