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Supporting Developing Countries at the G7's Hiroshima Summit

Alan Fan, G7 Research Group
May 28, 2023

As the G7 Hiroshima Summit approached, the G7's major priorities included regional security issues – mainly the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, economic issues such as building resilient supply chains and overcoming vulnerabilities in the global food system, and issues related to ecology and energy with specific reference to climate change and biodiversity loss. These priorities were reflected in the Hiroshima Summit's commitments that specifically addressed developing countries, with much of the G7's focus on shielding them from the negative impacts of Russia's war.

In the G7 Leaders' Statement on Economic Resilience and Economic Security, G7 members noted that Russia's war in Ukraine had disrupted supply chains around the world, which had a "devastating impact" on developing and emerging economies. Moreover, the G7 Hiroshima Leaders' Communiqué states that low- and middle-income countries are "disproportionately affected by Russia's war of aggression," which exacerbates the existing debt vulnerabilities in these countries. As a result, G7 members reiterated their support of measures aimed at promoting debt sustainability including the Common Framework of Debt Treatments. Moreover, in order to prevent the future weaponization of economic vulnerabilities, G7 members promoted a "rules-based multilateral trading system" based on World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines in order to facilitate cooperation with developing countries. G7 members referred to these guidelines in an attempt to promote critical mineral supply lines and encourage the recycling of critical materials in developing countries.

G7 members also noted that Russia's invasion of Ukraine aggravated the global food crisis and caused an energy crisis, which imperilled access to food and energy in many developing countries. On this front, G7 members committed to supporting the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the provision of emergency food assistance through the Global Alliance for Food Security, and welcomed the assistance of the International Energy Agency Task Force on natural gas and clean fuels market monitoring and supply security, among other measures.

Many G7 commitments on climate change and biodiversity specifically reference developing countries. In order to mitigate the effects of climate change on them, G7 members supported the development of climate-resilient debt clauses to "enhance the safety net for borrowers facing the impacts of climate change." In addition, they reaffirmed their commitment to the Glasgow Climate Pact, which urges "developed countries to at least double their collective provision of climate finance" from the 2019 level by 2050. Although these climate-financing efforts aim to mitigate the immediate harms of climate change, other efforts including urging multilateral development banks to support regulatory reform that hastens the transition to net zero emissions are aimed at slowing the rate of climate change. Other environmental commitments that explicitly reference developing countries include accelerating international natural disaster risk reduction in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and promoting biodiversity in ocean regions by developing a regulatory framework on deep seabed mineral exploitation under the International Seabed Authority.

Many of these commitments play an important role in shielding developing countries from ongoing crises. However, there may be years when the priorities of G7 members do not align with the priorities of developing countries. In these cases, G7 members should make commitments that align with those countries' interests rather than making commitments than align with their own existing priorities.

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