Another meeting of the G7 or group of the seven most industrialised countries in the world has just ended in Germany and the question on most people’s lips is this, “was it worth the effort”?
Ever since the group was established in 1975, when former French president Giscard d’Estaing, invited the finance ministers and central bank governors from France, West Germany, Italy,Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, for an “informal gathering at the chateau of Rambouillet, near Paris, the impact of the organisation hasn’t really been felt by any other nation outside that circle.
Canada only became the seventh member in 1976, after which the name ‘Group 7’ or G7 was used for the first time. Russia joined briefly and the group became the G8 but has been expelled following their invasion of Ukraine.
The G7 countries represent more than 64% of the net global wealth ($263 trillion), 46% of the global GDP evaluated at market exchange rates, and 32% of the global purchasing power parity GDP.
They meet once every year under the tightest security arrangement usually at some remote and very expensive holiday resort for a couple of days to draw up agreements that no one can enforce and make promises that the member nations would be the first to break.
With China not being a part of the group, economically speaking, it’s as if they are missing a vital appendage as China manufactures one out of every five man-made product in the world.
On Climate Change, The eye-catching proposal here from the leaders of the highly industrialised countries, which have historically been most responsible for pollution and global reliance on fossil fuels, is that there should be a “decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century”.
In other words, we must wean ourselves off oil, gas and coal over the next 85 years, and rely instead on clean energy, renewable sources of energy and nuclear power.
Critics say these are mere words, as empty as many uttered in the past, and definitely qualifying for the 2015 Hot Air award. Oxfam was a little more generous, crediting the G7 with “a stuttering start on climate change” with new and significant steps, but the organisation also says the G7 is still not pulling its weight and must put words into action by phasing out coal, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels.
On Russia, they could only make a veiled threat by saying, “our commitment to uphold freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
On terrorism, you’d be forgiven for thinking Boko Haram and Isis terrorists are not even aware that such a group exists. Their commitment to stamp out terrorism is not worth more than the piece of paper it’s written on. The reason for this is simple, only citizens of countries like Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan are mostly affected – countries that are not part of the G7.
Don’t get me started on global poverty, conflicts all over the world and wealth disparity even in some G7 countries.
Most people have come to the conclusion that the annual G7 summit is nothing more than another CHOGM (Cheap Holiday On Government Money).
The only good purpose a G7 summit serves is that every time there is one it gives protesters an opportunity to gather – usually miles away from where the summit is holding – and air their grievances for the world press gathered to report.