G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting: Communiqué
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.
3. We commit to renewing global cooperation, including strengthened G7-Africa partnerships and greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific. We welcome Australia, India, the Republic of Korea and South Africa to the Foreign and Development Ministers’ meeting as guest countries to take forward shared priorities ahead of these countries’ participation in the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June. We welcome the involvement of the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in our discussions.
II. Foreign and security policy
4. We are deeply concerned that the negative pattern of Russia’s irresponsible and destabilising behaviour continues. This includes the large build-up of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s borders and in illegally-annexed Crimea, its malign activities aimed at undermining other countries’ democratic systems, its malicious cyber activity, and use of disinformation. We express full solidarity with all partners affected by actions connected to Russian intelligence services against their interests and security, which will continue to be met with the staunchest resolve. We note with regret the deterioration in Russia’s relations with Western countries, and stress the importance of respecting the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as the essential foundation of diplomatic relations between states.
5. We recall our joint statement of 26 January on the arrest, sentencing and detention on politically-motivated charges of Alexey Navalny, as well as our condemnation of his poisoning on Russian territory with a military-grade chemical nerve-agent of the “Novichok” group. Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and contravenes international norms against the use of such weapons. In light of Russia’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, we urge Russia to investigate and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil without further delay. There must be accountability for those that use chemical weapons.
6. We remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, and the systematic crackdown on opposition voices, human rights defenders, independent civil society, and media.
7. We reiterate our interest in stable and predictable relations with Russia. We nevertheless will continue to bolster our collective capabilities and those of our partners to address and deter Russian behaviour that is threatening the rules-based international order, including in the areas of cyberspace security and disinformation. We will continue to engage with Russia in addressing regional crises and global challenges of common interest such as climate change; arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation; and peaceful, sustainable economic development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
8. We recall our statement of 12 April and call on Russia to de-escalate the situation on Ukraine’s borders and in the illegally-annexed Crimea. We reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders including its territorial waters. We call on Russia to uphold the OSCE principles and commitments it has signed up to on transparency about its military forces and activities, including by addressing the specific concerns and questions raised under Chapter III of the Vienna Document. In this regard, we regret that Russia failed to provide a substantive response and its failure to meet with Ukraine is wholly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Vienna Document. It is critical that Moscow now fully withdraws its forces and takes the necessary steps to help alleviate tensions. We express our deep concern over Russia’s actions to block access to parts of the Black Sea, including near illegally-annexed Crimea and the Kerch Strait, impeding access to Ukraine’s ports in the Sea of Azov. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint and diplomatic approach in this context. We underline our continued support for France’s and Germany’s efforts through the Normandy Process to secure full implementation of the Minsk agreements, as a diplomatic path for a political solution to the conflict and to lasting peace. We welcome the OSCE’s role within the Trilateral Contact Group and in this regard call on Russia and the armed formations it backs to recommit to the ceasefire. We remain fully committed to implementing sanctions, recalling that the duration of international sanctions is linked inter-alia to Russia’s complete implementation of its commitments under the Minsk agreements and to the return of Crimea to Ukraine. We unequivocally denounce Russia’s temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. We welcome in principle Ukraine’s initiative to establish an International Crimean Platform. We condemn violations and abuses of human rights on the peninsula, particularly of Crimean Tatars. We support efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy and institutions, and encourage Ukraine to make further progress on the reform agenda, namely on the rule of law, judicial reform, corporate governance, and in combatting corruption to strengthen their democracy, promote economic growth, and fulfil commitments to international donors and partners and to the citizens of Ukraine. We reiterate our full confidence in the G7 Ambassadors’ Group in Ukraine and acknowledge the role of this group in monitoring and supporting the implementation of reforms.
9. We are deeply concerned about the political and human rights crisis following the fraudulent August 2020 presidential election in Belarus. We call on the regime to implement the recommendations resulting from the OSCE’s independent expert mission, release all those who have been unjustly incarcerated for expressing their democratic aspirations, and end the ongoing repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We denounce the continuing repression of journalists and human rights defenders, and call on the regime to respect the right to peaceful assembly. We further call on the regime to enter into meaningful dialogue with all sectors of society, including genuine leaders of the opposition and civil society, and to accept the OSCE Chair’s offer of mediating such a dialogue as the means to resolve the political crisis. We call on the regime to hold new, free and fair elections conducted under international observation. We are committed to supporting the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people and to holding those responsible for human rights violations to account.
10. We reaffirm our shared commitment to the security, economic recovery and European perspective of the six Western Balkans countries as a crucial investment for peace and stability. We emphasise the importance of advancing the necessary internal reforms, in particular on rule of law, including tackling organised crime, illicit finance and corruption, with tough action taken against the most egregious cases. We therefore support the formal opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. We support further progress on regional cooperation especially through the Common Regional Market, Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and Berlin Process. We urge Kosovo and Serbia to engage constructively in negotiations in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue and to normalise fully their relations through a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement which contributes to regional stability. We support the implementation of the reform agenda related to the EU accession negotiations with Montenegro and Serbia. We call on the countries in the region to expand domestic political space and improve the environment for civil society and independent media. Unwarranted speculation about border changes along ethnic lines is no solution to the challenges faced by the region. Such changes would constitute a threat to regional security. We firmly reject any attempt to undermine the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We urge all parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to agree, and to implement, electoral and limited constitutional reforms, to implement European Court of Human Rights judgments, and to work closely with the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Venice Commission to move the country closer to realising its democratic aspirations. We welcome the candidacy of Christian Schmidt as High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11. We welcome our discussions with Foreign Ministers from G7 guests from the Indo-Pacific region and ASEAN. We reaffirm our support for the centrality of ASEAN and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and commit to explore concrete cooperation in line with the Outlook. We acknowledge that strengthened cooperation between the G7 members, ASEAN and other regional stakeholders is vital as we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic and pursue a sustainable recovery to address the pressing demands of climate change.
12. We reiterate the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific which is inclusive and based on the rule of law, democratic values, territorial integrity, transparency, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the peaceful resolution of disputes, and underscore our intention to work together with ASEAN and other countries on these endeavours through a wide range of activities. As a priority, we underscore the importance of improving regional connectivity through quality infrastructure development and projects consistent with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment, and the highest standards of transparency, green and digital transition. We recognise the need to incentivise private capital.
13. We encourage China, as a major power and economy with advanced technological capability, to participate constructively in the rules-based international system. It is in all of our interests, including China’s, to take action that addresses global challenges including climate change and biodiversity loss, to promote economic recovery from COVID-19 and to support the fight against the current pandemic and prevent future ones. We look for opportunities to work with China to promote regional and global peace, security and prosperity.
14. In line with its obligations under international and national law, we call on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. We continue to be deeply concerned about human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and in Tibet, especially the targeting of Uyghurs, members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, and the existence of a large-scale network of “political re-education” camps, and reports of forced labour systems and forced sterilisation. We agree the importance of tackling instances of forced labour through our own available domestic means, including through raising awareness and providing advice and support for our business communities. We strongly support independent and unfettered access to Xinjiang to investigate the situation on the ground. We continue to call therefore for such access for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
15. We recall our statement of 12 March and remain gravely concerned by China’s decision fundamentally to erode democratic elements of the electoral system in Hong Kong. We call on China to act in accordance with its international commitments and its legal obligations, including those enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, and to respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms. We call on China and the Hong Kong authorities to end the targeting of those who defend rights and freedoms and democratic values, to uphold the independence of the judicial system and to ensure cases are not transferred to the mainland.
16. As nations that support open societies and free and fair trade conducted within a system of transparent and predictable international rules and standards, we are united in our concern regarding practices that undermine such free and fair economic systems, including on trade, investment and development finance. We will work collectively to foster global economic resilience in the face of arbitrary, coercive economic policies and practices. We urge China to assume and fulfil obligations and responsibilities commensurate with its global economic role.
17. We encourage China to uphold its commitments to act responsibly in cyber space, including refraining from conducting or supporting cyber-enabled intellectual property theft.
18. To strengthen global cooperation on issues of concern to all we believe it is vital to ensure inclusive processes in international organisations. We support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in World Health Organisation forums and the World Health Assembly. The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
19. We remain gravely concerned about the documented accounts of human rights violations and abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), including in the regime’s extensive network of political prison camps. We urge the DPRK to respect human rights for all and to cooperate with all relevant UN bodies; to allow access by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in DPRK; and to resolve the abductions issue immediately. Following the closure of the DPRK’s borders, and in light of the lack of information about conditions in the country, we are deeply concerned about the welfare of vulnerable communities, in particular their access to adequate nutrition, clean water, and medical facilities. Humanitarian assistance should be delivered in a manner consistent with UNSC resolutions and humanitarian principles. We urge the DPRK to facilitate access for international humanitarian organisations and for independent assessment of humanitarian needs as soon as possible. We remain deeply preoccupied by the precarious humanitarian situation in the country, which is the result of the DPRK regime’s choice to prioritise its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programmes over the welfare of its own people.
20. We call on the DPRK to refrain from provocative actions and to engage in a diplomatic process with the explicit goal of denuclearisation. We remain committed to the goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment of all of the DPRK’s unlawful Weapons of Mass Destruction and ballistic missile programmes in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). We welcome the readiness of the United States to continue its efforts in that regard and we remain committed to providing support. We regret that the DPRK has not taken concrete, verified actions towards denuclearisation, and urge the DPRK to comply with all of its international obligations. It is critical that sanctions which target the DPRK’s unlawful weapons development remain in place while its programmes exist. The G7 is committed to working together to ensure the full implementation of all related UNSC sanctions which call upon the DPRK to abandon its WMD and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. We further commit to countering the DPRK’s sanctions-evasion tactics, particularly its illicit maritime activities including ship-to-ship transfers and the continued use of overseas workers. We call on the DPRK to return at an early date to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). We are concerned by reports of expanded malicious cyber activities, including financial crime and the targeting of sensitive industries, and call for greater international co-ordination to counter DPRK cyber activity which funds its illicit programmes. We call on all states to fully implement relevant UNSCRs. We note with urgent concern that some countries still fail to implement these resolutions, as documented in the latest report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to UNSCR 1874. We intend to continue our co-ordination on capacity building, counter-proliferation and proliferation financing. We support the peaceful resolution of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and call on the DPRK to resume inter-Korean dialogue.
21. We condemn in the strongest terms the military coup in Myanmar. We call upon the military immediately to end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically-elected government and to release all those arbitrarily detained, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, human rights defenders, journalists, civil society members, academics, teachers, medical staff, religious leaders and foreign nationals. We condemn the violence committed by Myanmar’s security forces and their violent repression of peaceful protesters. The military and the police must immediately cease the violence, exercise utmost restraint and respect international law, including international human rights law. Those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights and international human rights law must be held accountable.
22. We call on the military to restore Myanmar to the path to democracy. We reiterate our solidarity with all those advocating for and working towards an inclusive democracy. This includes efforts by the Committee Representing the Union Parliament (CRPH) and other pro-democracy leaders, along with the National Unity Government (NUG), the civil disobedience movement and others. We welcome the 24 April ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta and the leadership of the ASEAN Chair to bring parties together towards resolution of the crisis in Myanmar. We welcome the consensus on the need for immediate cessation of violence; commencement of constructive dialogue among all parties concerned; the appointment of a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair to facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, who must be able to engage all parties in Myanmar; ASEAN humanitarian assistance; and a visit to Myanmar by the Special Envoy. We are committed to constructively supporting ASEAN’s efforts including the work of the ASEAN Special Envoy, and we urge implementation as soon as possible. We reiterate our support for the ongoing dialogue efforts undertaken by the Myanmar Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General and her efforts with all parties.
23. We are deeply concerned at the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in Myanmar since the coup. We stress the importance of all people in need, including Rohingya and other minority groups, having rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance and reiterate our demand that the military grant immediate and unrestricted access to the UN to meet the critical needs of vulnerable populations. We call on the military junta to respect the safety of medical facilities and staff. We stress the need for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of refugees from Bangladesh and elsewhere in the region, and those internally displaced within Myanmar, when conditions allow. We continue to advocate for the rights and protection of persons belonging to minority groups.
24. We reiterate our readiness to take further steps if the military does not reverse its course. In that regard we commit to continuing to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment to Myanmar and the supply of technical cooperation. We commit to exercise due diligence in conducting business relationships with military-affiliated conglomerates, and call on others to do likewise. We will also cooperate to prevent our development aid from supporting the military-led regime and to ensure it benefits the people of Myanmar, especially those who are most in need in accordance with humanitarian principles. We call on all states to adopt similar measures.
East and South China Seas
25. We remain seriously concerned about the situation in and around the East and South China Seas. We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. We reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order and express serious concerns about reports of militarisation, coercion, and intimidation in the region. We emphasise the universal and unified character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and reaffirm UNCLOS’s important role in setting out the legal framework that governs all activities in the ocean and the seas. We consider the 12 July 2016 award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal under UNCLOS as a significant milestone and a useful basis for peacefully resolving disputes in the South China Sea.
26. A sustainable, inclusive political settlement is the only way to achieve a just and durable peace that benefits all Afghans. We support the continuation of the peace negotiations in Doha and efforts to convene a high-level conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul. It is important that countries in the region continue to work together to support efforts for peace. We call on all Afghan parties to renew their full engagement with the peace process. We continue to advocate for the meaningful participation and inclusion of the voices of women, young people and those from minority groups in all discussions regarding Afghanistan’s future. We also endorse mechanisms that allow the negotiating parties to include the diverse perspectives of Afghan civil society.
27. We will work to protect the rights that all Afghans, including women, young people and minority groups have fought for and come to enjoy and value. We support the desire of Afghans to live in peace and prosperity, building on the positive economic, social and political achievements of the last 20 years. G7 members commit to using international development assistance, advocacy and diplomacy to support the people of Afghanistan’s aspirations. Current and future support to the Afghan government relies on the adherence to the principles set out in the Afghanistan Partnership Framework and progress towards the outcomes in the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework II as decided upon at the November 2020 Geneva donors’ conference.
28. We call for an immediate end to attacks on civilians, including the targeted campaign of killings against women, journalists, and human rights activists, for which the Taliban are primarily responsible. We call for a significant reduction in violence as a pathway to a comprehensive ceasefire. We urge all parties to allow safe, unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.
29. We welcome the progress achieved in Libya since the start of the Berlin Process, including the recent endorsement of the interim Libyan Government of National Unity (GNU) and Presidency Council. We welcome the adoption of Security Council Resolutions 2570 (2021) and 2571 (2021) that reflect our shared priorities and objectives and urge the Libyan authorities and institutions to implement them in full. We call on the GNU to make the necessary preparations for inclusive, transparent and credible national Presidential and Parliamentary elections on 24 December 2021, as set out in the roadmap agreed by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum; to improve the delivery of basic services to the Libyan people; to respect human rights, and ensure the protection of refugees and migrants; and to ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation and protection of women and youth. We emphasise the importance of unifying Libya’s institutions and protecting Libya’s national oil infrastructure, ensuring that oil revenues are transparently budgeted and distributed for the benefit of all Libyan people.
30. We recognise the risks to international peace and security from violations of Libyan sovereignty, including from the presence of foreign fighters and mercenaries. The conflict in Chad, where rebel groups launched their offensive from southern Libya, serves as an acute reminder of this. We call on all Libyan parties to ensure full implementation of the 23 October 2020 ceasefire agreement and strongly urge all countries to respect and support its full implementation. This includes full compliance with the arms embargo and the full withdrawal from Libya without delay of all foreign forces and mercenaries.
31. We welcome the request in UN Security Council Resolution 2570 for the UN Support Mission in Libya to provide support to the 5+5 Joint Military Commission and the Libyan-owned Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism (LCMM), with the aim of implementing in full the 23 October 2020 ceasefire agreement. We commit to support the LCMM and UNSMIL’s wider efforts to support the Libyan political transition process. We underline the need to plan for the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed groups, and all relevant non-state armed actors. We highlight the need for security sector reform and the establishment of an inclusive, accountable, civilian-led security architecture for Libya as a whole. We also call for transitional justice and reconciliation. We welcome the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a fact-finding mission to Libya. We call on the Libyan authorities to continue their cooperation with the mission and to grant it full access.
32. The crisis in Syria is now in its eleventh year with an estimated 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. We condemn the Assad regime and its backers’ ongoing atrocities against the Syrian people and attempts to disrupt regular and sustained humanitarian access into and within Syria, and condemn the politicisation of aid access and delivery. We call for the full, unhindered humanitarian access into Syria that is vital for alleviating the impact of the crisis. We strongly support the reauthorisation of cross-border humanitarian assistance later this year so that those in need can get the assistance they require.
33. We welcome the fifth Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria and the Region as a strong expression of engagement and support for the people of Syria and support for a political solution to the Syria conflict in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2254.
34. In line with UNSCR 2254 and 1325, we urge all parties, especially the regime, to engage meaningfully with the inclusive UN-facilitated political process to resolve the conflict, notably the Constitutional Committee, to include the release of detainees and the meaningful participation of women. This includes a nationwide ceasefire and a safe and neutral environment to allow for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees. It should pave the way for free and fair elections under UN supervision, ensuring the participation of all Syrians including members of the diaspora. Only when a credible political process is firmly under way would we consider assisting with the reconstruction of Syria.
35. We urge the regime to adhere to its obligations under UNSCR 2118; and strongly welcome the decision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Conference of the States Parties to suspend Syria’s rights and privileges under the Chemical Weapons Convention, until it completes the steps set out in the OPCW Executive Council Decision of 9 July 2020 and refrains from further use of chemical weapons. We are firmly committed to accountability for those responsible for the use of chemical weapons and violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, and pledge support for the work of appropriate international criminal justice and investigative mechanisms and transitional justice mechanisms.
36. We are committed to ensuring that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon. We welcome the substantive discussions between JCPoA participants, and separately with the United States, to accomplish a mutual return to compliance with the JCPoA by the United States and Iran. The JCPoA remains the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. It is vital that Iran preserves the space for these discussions by avoiding any further escalation. The latest Iranian actions are very serious developments and a matter of deep concern. They have no credible civilian requirement and have particularly grave implications. We strongly support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its crucial monitoring and verification work to help ensure Iran’s compliance with the NPT-related safeguards obligations, as well as its other commitments. A restored and fully implemented JCPoA could also pave the way to further address regional and security concerns, including in support of the non-proliferation regime. We condemn Iran’s support to proxy forces and non-state armed actors, including through financing, training and the proliferation of missile technology and weapons. We call on Iran to stop all ballistic missile activities inconsistent with UNSCR 2231, refrain from destabilising actions, and play a constructive role in fostering regional stability and peace. We support efforts to ensure a thorough and credible investigation into the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 tragedy to hold Iran accountable. We are deeply concerned by the continued human rights violations and abuses in Iran, including those affecting the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of expression. Foreign and dual nationals and human rights defenders have faced arbitrary arrest, detention and lengthy prison sentences and should be released.
37. We remain fully committed to Iraq’s stability, sovereignty, and pluralism, which will be strengthened by free and fair elections in October 2021. We welcome continued efforts, led by the Government of Iraq and supported by the Global Coalition against Daesh, to continue the fight against Daesh and to stabilise and to restore essential public services to liberated areas. We also welcome the activities carried out, at the request of the Government of Iraq, by NATO Mission Iraq, helping to strengthen security forces and military education institutions so that Iraqi forces can prevent the return of Daesh. We support the Government’s efforts at economic reform for sustainable and inclusive development, and to pursue a foreign policy aimed at balanced relations with regional and international partners. We are concerned by the continuing volatile security situation in Iraq and the humanitarian situation of the country’s 1.2 million internally-displaced people (IDPs).
38. The ongoing conflict in Yemen, with its repercussions on the unity of the country and its independence, continues to be a cause of serious concern. We reiterate our support for UN Special Envoy Griffiths and call on all parties in Yemen to agree to UN proposals for an immediate ceasefire, the free flow of imports through Red Sea ports, the reopening of Sana’a airport, and the resumption of inclusive political talks, with meaningful participation of Yemeni women and youth. We condemn the Houthi cross-border attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their continued Marib offensive, which threatens at least one million IDPs, must stop. We call for accountability for human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. We emphatically stress the need for all the parties to the conflict to provide full humanitarian access and to ensure the protection of civilians. We reiterate the need for humanitarian aid and commodities, especially fuel, to flow unimpeded into and throughout the country. Noting the grave threat posed by the SAFER oil tanker, we call on the Houthis to facilitate urgently the access of the UN mission.
39. We reaffirm our determination to strengthen partnerships with African countries, regional organisations and the African Union, building on the progress made under recent Presidencies. We will work with them to boost prosperity, economic inclusion, and stability for all. In that context we particularly welcome the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, and commend the bravery of African peacekeepers across the continent. Our commitments on global health security and systems, strengthening open societies, gender equality, girls’ education, support for adaptation to climate change, and famine prevention will have tangible impact on the continent. We will look for opportunities to work closely with our African partners on shared challenges throughout our Presidency year.
40. We recall our statement of 2 April 2021 about the situation in Tigray, and remain deeply concerned about the continued violence and the worsening humanitarian and human rights crises. We condemn the killing of civilians, rape and sexual exploitation, and other forms of gender-based violence, destruction and looting of religious and cultural heritage sites, and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans and Eritrean refugees. We welcome the agreement between the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate human rights violations and abuses. We call on all parties to cease hostilities immediately, ensure the protection of civilians and respect human rights and international law as well as media freedom and access, and hold those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, including sexual violence, accountable. We urge parties to the conflict to provide immediate, unhindered humanitarian access, given the worsening food insecurity. The presence of foreign forces in Tigray is deeply disturbing and destabilising. We acknowledge the announcement from the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea that Eritrean forces will withdraw from Tigray but remain concerned that this has not yet commenced. The process of withdrawal must be swift, unconditional and verifiable. We call for the establishment of a clear inclusive political process in Tigray. We remain committed to the unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. We also call for a broader inclusive political process in Ethiopia to enable credible elections and wider national reconciliation.
41. We are deeply concerned about the political impasse in Somalia, recent violent clashes between government and opposition-aligned forces, and the humanitarian consequences. We were dismayed by the decision to extend the mandates of Mohamed Farmajo as President and of the Somali Parliament by two years which is not a solution to the ongoing impasse on the electoral process, but instead undermines the credibility of Somalia’s leadership, threatens the progress of Somali institutions, and risks the safety and future of the Somali people. We welcome Parliament’s 1 May endorsement of a resumption of talks between the Federal Government and Federal Member State leaders aimed at finalising the electoral model based on the 17 September agreement. We underline our opposition to any further initiatives leading to an extension of prior mandates without broad support from Somali stakeholders and oppose any parallel processes or partial elections. We urge Somalia’s leaders to show restraint and refrain from any further unilateral actions that could escalate political tensions or violence. It is vital that all parties remain calm and protect Somalia’s stability and security. We welcome the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council to appoint a Special Envoy and we stand ready to support these efforts. We urge Somalia’s leaders to uphold their responsibilities to the people of Somalia by returning to talks immediately. We ask that they engage in constructive dialogue, find practical solutions and reach consensus on remaining issues. Failure to do so will lead the international community to change its approach to Somalia.
42. We commend the efforts of the transitional government to deliver peace, prosperity and democracy in Sudan following the revolution of 2019. This includes the implementation of key economic reforms that will help pave the way to debt relief, progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement, and the continued and meaningful inclusion of women in the transition. The G7 are supporting this progress, politically and financially, and urge continued attention and assistance from the international community to ensure the transition is a success and delivers lasting change for the people of Sudan.
43. We condemn the killing of President Idriss Déby Itno and the recent violence and loss of life in Chad. We underscore our commitment to the territorial integrity and stability of Chad. In support of the African Union, we call on the Transitional Military Council to create the conditions for an inclusive national dialogue and a peaceful, civilian-led and timely transition to democratic, free and fair elections. In this context, we note that the appointment of a civilian government including members of some opposition groups is an encouraging step. We count on the Transitional Military Council, the government and the security forces to avoid violence and respect human rights, including the freedom of peaceful demonstration, and condemn the recent repression of protests.
44. We are concerned by continuing instability, increasing violence, and the deepening humanitarian crisis in the Sahel. We welcome enhanced efforts, led by African partners and supported by the Sahel Coalition and others, to tackle the drivers of instability in the region. In particular, we underline the importance of the Sahel Coalition’s Roadmap as a means to bring greater coherence to our efforts, support mutual accountability between international partners and governments in the region, and deliver a shift towards a more integrated approach to stabilisation with a strong focus on civilian and political dimensions, including through the Partnership for Stability and Security in the Sahel. As part of this, we welcome the commitments of the governments of the G5 Sahel to implement the “civil surge” agreed upon during the N’Djamena Summit in February 2021 and structural reforms to address the rule of law, anti-corruption and inclusive governance. We welcome the work of the Sahel Alliance to support development efforts led by the G5 Sahel governments, in particular its work to enhance mutual accountability and political dialogue, and its Integrated Territorial Approach. We underscore the need for all actors in the Sahel to respect human rights, including the right of women to participate in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes, and international humanitarian law as applicable. We call for improved humanitarian access, including better co-ordination between civilian and military actors. We call for the continued implementation of the Peace Agreement in Mali and credible and inclusive elections to achieve a timely return to a democratically-elected government that meets the needs of all Malians. We commend the efforts of MINUSMA, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, and Operation BARKHANE to deliver greater security in the Sahel.
45. We are deeply concerned by the escalating conflict in Cabo Delgado, and the increasing terrorist attacks by an ISIS affiliate. We urge Mozambique to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses and violations in Cabo Delgado. We encourage Mozambique to continue to work with the international community to resolve the humanitarian impact of the insurgency and to tackle the root causes and drivers of conflict and instability, and to prevent a further escalation of violence. In this regard, we welcome the Government of Mozambique’s work to respond to the humanitarian and security situation in the north and for the Government’s timely consideration of international support. We express our solidarity with the Government of Mozambique and its people in standing up to violent extremism.
46. We reiterate our commitment to promoting a cooperative system of international governance for the ocean and seas and to maintaining the rules-based maritime order based on international law. We reaffirm UNCLOS’s important role in setting out the legal framework that governs all activities in the ocean and seas. We reaffirm the need for all states to act in good faith, to build trust and ensure security on the oceans and seas, and to commit to the peaceful management and settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including through internationally recognised legal dispute settlement mechanisms, including arbitration, without using the threat of force or coercion. We reiterate our commitment to the freedoms of the high seas, including the freedom of navigation and overflight, and to other rights and freedoms, including the rights and jurisdiction of coastal states, and other internationally lawful uses of the seas. We welcome the progress achieved by the states bordering the Gulf of Guinea in the implementation of the Yaoundé Maritime Security Architecture, in particular in combating piracy and other criminal activities at sea, and the European Union pilot case of the co-ordinated Maritime Presence in the Gulf of Guinea. We encourage the states of the region and other states and international organisations concerned to address further the root causes of piracy, including within the co-ordination framework of the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea. We welcome the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Initiative on Maritime Security and Terrorist Travel.
Non-proliferation and disarmament
47. We underline the essential role of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The G7 priority is to have a meaningful outcome at the NPT Review Conference (RevCon) that advances the NPT’s implementation across all three of its pillars. We are committed to the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all. We urge all states to counter the threat of disease being used as a weapon, including by strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention at the RevCon. We also reaffirm the unique and valuable contributions of the G7-led Global Partnership (GP) of 31 states, which supports vulnerable countries around the world to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to prevent the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (CBRN) and related materials.
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.
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.
50. We welcome the work of the Media Freedom Coalition alongside other international initiatives and mechanisms, such as the Partnership for Information and Democracy, in striving to improve the media freedom environment globally and domestically. We welcome all efforts to defend media freedom through concerted diplomacy, advocacy and assistance. We ask our diplomatic missions to co-ordinate locally, including through the Coalition, to increase support to and engagement with journalists and independent media under threat. We each commit to lead by example, by undertaking domestic action, such as developing National Action Plans or similar measures, where appropriate, to improve the safety of journalists, access to information and sustainability of the media.
51. We recognise the importance of improving media sustainability, increasing access to independent and diverse media and supporting journalists, in the context of SDG 16.10. We commit to providing practical, technical and programmatic support to journalists and media, including through voluntary contributions to the Global Media Defence Fund where possible. We also commit to improving the effectiveness of our support to media by working together and with others to track, co-ordinate and share best practice in this area.
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.
53. We commit to work together to further a common understanding of how existing international law applies to cyberspace, and to build on the work of the Open-Ended Working Group on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (OEWG) and the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace in the Context of International Security (GGE), as well as the acquis of the G7, including the Dinard Declaration on the Cyber Norm Initiative, the Lucca Declaration on Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace and the Ise-Shima G7 Principles and Actions on Cyber. Our commitment to Open Societies extends to societies online, including the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet as set out in General Assembly resolutions 68/167 and 69/166. We will continue to promote Internet freedom at the UN and other international fora including through the Freedom Online Coalition.
54. We reaffirm a shared commitment to uphold international law, which is an essential and binding element of the framework for state action in cyberspace, and applies to state behaviour in cyberspace just as it applies to activities in any other domain. We encourage all states to share their national positions on how existing international law applies to state behaviour in cyberspace. We will enhance efforts toward the promotion of this approach at the UN and other international fora.
Freedom of religion or belief
55. As inclusive and rights-respecting nations, engaged in creating a safer, more stable, and more inclusive world, we are committed to promoting freedom of religion or belief for all. We strongly encourage all states to treat every person equally under the law regardless of their religion or belief. We commit to co-ordinated action, messaging, and targeted support, where possible, to defend freedom of religion or belief for all, which includes the right to change one’s religion or to have none, including through promoting and protecting freedom of expression and combatting all forms of hatred and discrimination. Where appropriate we commit to sharing information, data and research on this agenda through existing coalitions, stakeholder networks and multilateral organisations. Within existing fora, the G7 will enhance efforts toward the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief globally. This includes but is not limited to efforts at the UN, the OSCE, and through informal platforms such as the International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. We resolve to continue working on these issues throughout the Presidency year.
Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM)
56. We reaffirm our commitment to the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) as part of our ongoing shared efforts to defend our democratic systems and Open Societies from foreign malign activity. By working together, we will deter those who target our democratic institutions and processes, seek to undermine public confidence in the integrity of our democracies, and attempt to interfere in the information space. We commit to bolster our collective capabilities by joining up with the valuable work of other organisations and forums, including NATO. We commit to improve our analytical capability to increase our shared understanding of the threats to our democracies and enhance our ability to respond in a co-ordinated way. We will work towards a shared understanding of what constitutes malign activity in the information space, including vaccine disinformation. We will continue to share best practices and develop common approaches to issues such as tackling foreign interference, safeguarding our elections, responding to disinformation and information manipulation and engaging with social media platforms.
57. We reiterate our commitment to working through a whole-of-society approach, engaging closely with civil society and other relevant stakeholders and to supporting partner countries in their own efforts to tackle these challenges. As part of this, we will ask the RRM to produce annual thematic reports on different aspects of the evolving threat landscape and possible responses.
Arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations
58. We reaffirm that arbitrary arrests and detentions are contrary to international human rights law. We recognise that persons in marginalised and vulnerable situations, as well as human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists are more often arbitrarily detained, and that persons who are arbitrarily detained are vulnerable to other human rights violations.
59. We further reaffirm our support for the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations adopted in Ottawa on 15 February 2021. We call on states that engage in the practice to stop immediately, and to respect their international obligations and commitments. We stand in solidarity with those states whose nationals are so detained, as well as the individuals themselves.
60. We commit to work together and with likeminded partners to deter those who conduct arbitrary detention to compel to action, or to exercise leverage over a foreign government, by amplifying the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. We further welcome the Partnership Action Plan Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations and invite countries that have endorsed the Declaration and other likeminded partners to actively consider taking part in the voluntary areas of cooperation and engagement outlined in the Partnership Action Plan.
IV. Sustainable recovery
61. We reaffirm our commitment to achieving an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for all. We recognise the far-reaching economic, social and political impact of the pandemic on vulnerable countries and populations, and the significant rise of hunger and malnutrition. We recognise the compound threat of COVID-19, conflict, climate change and biodiversity loss, and the need to act with urgency. The pandemic has exacerbated gaps in gender equality. Women are at the frontlines of the response in many countries, and are often excluded from economic opportunities. We are steadfast in our commitment to intensify cooperation on the health response to COVID-19, including through enabling global and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and through ensuring that we take concrete action to build better health systems. We commit to reinforcing the central role of the WHO in global health. We commit to achieving more resilient health and education systems, and better pandemic prevention and preparedness against future threats. We are determined to focus on sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard, we welcome the work of Climate, Environment, Health and Finance colleagues to support a global, green and resilient recovery.
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. We recall in this regard the Charter for Equitable Access to COVID-19 Tools. We recognise the importance of effective and well-functioning global value chains for VTD supply and will work with industry to encourage and support on a voluntary basis and on mutually agreed terms, including licensing, technology and know-how transfers, contract manufacturing , transparency, and data sharing, public-private costs and risk sharing. We recognise the need to enable a sustainable environment for local, regional and global productions, beyond COVID-19 products for long-term impact. We welcome the collective G7 commitments of over $10.7 billion USD to date in funding to these initiatives and encourage all partners to increase their support as the next critical step in controlling the pandemic and strengthening health security. 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.
64. We support the work of G7 Health Ministers and continued G7 efforts to work with partners to improve pandemic preparedness and global health security, with WHO as the leading and co-ordinating authority, to strengthen health systems, develop solutions that embed a One Health approach, tackle antimicrobial resistance, and accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. We welcome the establishment of the One Health High Level Experts Panel supported by WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP. We are determined to ensure that lessons are learned and applied from the pandemic. We look forward to the forthcoming G20 Global Health Summit in Rome and to its Declaration, and to further close cooperation on strengthening the global health architecture, including longer-term considerations such as exploring the potential value of a global health treaty, to strengthen global pandemic preparedness and response. We will deploy our foreign and development policies and programmes to build a more resilient world that is better protected against health threats, including encouraging new public health guidance in consultation with national and relevant international organisations on international travel by sea or air, including cruise ships, and supporting an expert-driven, transparent, and independent process for the next phase of the WHO-convened COVID-19 origins study, and for expeditiously investigating future outbreaks of unknown origin. Together with G7 Health Ministers, we commit to work in partnership with low- and lower-middle income countries by improving coordination of G7 support for, and collaboration with, public health and health security capacities and their regional bodies in Africa, Asia and other regions, building on the G7 commitment to support implementation of and compliance with the International Health Regulations (IHR) in 76 countries, taking into account the recommendations from the IHR Review Committee. We will align with and support national and regional health priorities and leadership to improve public health. We look forward to the publication of the G7 Carbis Bay Progress Report on global health and what we can learn from its conclusions on G7 commitments to strengthening health systems to advance universal health coverage and global health security.
65. We note the continuing need to support health systems and health security and secure sustainable financing, together with partner countries’ domestic resources, to help accelerate global vaccine development and deployment, recover and then sustain access to essential health and nutrition services and health commodities, including in humanitarian settings and for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and to bolster the global health architecture for pandemic preparedness, including through stronger rapid response mechanisms. We look forward to working with G7 Finance Ministers to build consensus on practical actions to facilitate access to existing global financing sources to meet demands for access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, as well as how best to tackle the ACT-A funding gaps, with the aim of shortening the lifespan of the pandemic and with particular focus on the needs of vulnerable countries. In this regard, we look forward to the outcomes of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) initiated by the WHO, and the High Level Independent Panel on financing the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response (HLIP) established by the G20.
66. We reaffirm the G7’s continued global leadership on gender equality and the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls, in all their diversity. We recognise the importance of focusing on three intersecting goals as we build back better from COVID-19: educating girls, empowering women, and ending violence against women and girls. We are committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We commend and are committed to close alignment with the goals of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) this year, convened by UN Women and co-chaired by Mexico and France, and its six ambitious Action Coalitions, and welcome the inclusion of Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact. We also look forward to the Italian G20 Presidency Ministerial Conference on Women’s Empowerment in August.
67. We recognise that COVID-19 has been the largest disrupter to education in modern history, affecting all children, but especially girls and those already left behind. We reaffirm that education is a fundamental human right, and a bedrock of gender equality and poverty reduction. We commit to rebuilding education systems that are better, fairer, and more resilient.
68. We note that millions of poor, teenage girls around the world have been forced out of school because of the pandemic; many of these girls are also affected by conflict, crisis, and displacement, and are already out of school as a result. With less than 10 years to achieve SDG4 by 2030, we call upon all governments and the global community to work together as never before to unlock progress to achieving 12 years of safe and quality education for all children. We commit to two new global ambitious milestone objectives to accelerate the achievement of SDG4, and call upon the international community to also adopt and rally behind them:
a. 40 million more girls in school by 2026 in low and lower middle-income countries; b. 20 million more girls reading by age 10 or the end of primary school in low and lower middle-income countries, by 2026.
69. We endorse the approach to meet these objectives as outlined in the Girls’ Education Declaration annex to the G7 Foreign and Development Communiqué. We commit to mobilise financial and technical resources, including through the Global Partnership for Education, and to work with national governments to protect domestic spending on education.
70. We recognise that women and girls have always shouldered the majority of unpaid care work and are more likely to be in informal, unstable employment with less access to finance. The COVID-19 pandemic has further damaged women’s economic opportunity and participation. We recognise the importance of affordable and quality care services, including childcare, and inclusive social protection for all, in order to respond to the specific risks facing women and girls.
71. We recognise that women’s rights organisations strengthen women’s and girls’ inclusion in public life and play a vital role in ensuring their issues are heard and amplified, and their needs are met. We affirm our commitment to SDG 5.5, and call for the full, equal, active and meaningful participation and leadership of women and women’s rights organisations at local, national, and international decision-making in the COVID-19 recovery. This includes meaningful participation and leadership in COVID-19 taskforces, the development, delivery and review of gender-responsive recovery action plans and initiatives, climate action and initiatives, and humanitarian response and crisis management.
72. We recognise universal access to quality and affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including comprehensive sexuality education, as life-saving and critical to achieving universal health coverage. The G7 reaffirms our full commitment to the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of all individuals. We further recognise their right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, which should be enjoyed free from discrimination, coercion, exploitation and violence. We commit to working together to prevent and address the severe impacts on SRHR from the pandemic. We commit to intensify our efforts, including by working with other countries and civil society, to accelerate progress towards the universal enjoyment of SRHR, with specific attention to the most marginalised and inadequately-served groups, including adolescents, those belonging to racial and ethnic minority groups, and LGBTQI+ individuals.
73. We recognised that we must act specifically to support women as they recover from the damaging economic impact of COVID-19. Following the success of the first 2X Challenge launched at the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, we welcome a new target by our Development Finance Institutions working with others to invest USD $15 billion to provide women in developing countries, including those who are at risk and marginalised, with improved economic opportunities over the next two years (2021-22). An expanded group of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) will support businesses, financial institutions and fund managers to mobilise finance and support women with decent work and quality employment opportunities, access to leadership opportunities, financing, more flexible workplace practices, and affordable products and services.
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. Evidence, including from the UK’s What Works to Prevent Violence Programme and the Spotlight Initiative, shows that this violence is preventable. We commit to preventing, eliminating, and responding to GBV through scaling-up support and implementation of evidence-based, survivor- and victim-centred policies and programmes.
75. We reaffirm the Whistler Declaration on Gender Equality in Humanitarian Action, and as partners of the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, commit to work together to strengthen the response to GBV in conflict, humanitarian and other development contexts, including preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence.
Sexual exploitation and abuse, and sexual harassment in the aid sector
76. We acknowledge our collective responsibility as G7 members to beneficiaries, their communities, victims and survivors to do more to address sexual exploitation and abuse in the humanitarian and development sector. We recall the UNSG’s Zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment, and the 2018 London Summit and the 2019 OECD Development Assistance Committee Recommendation. We call for all others involved in the delivery of aid to adhere to the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance.
Famine prevention, humanitarian crises and food insecurity
77. We are gravely concerned by the UN’s reports that over 34 million people are already facing emergency levels of food insecurity, are one step from catastrophe or famine, and that almost 80 million have been forcibly displaced and 237 million need humanitarian assistance. We note that Yemen, South Sudan and north-east Nigeria face immediate risk, while Tigray in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and the Central Sahel, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria and Haiti are of particular concern. We are concerned that the humanitarian system is under immense strain and that the scale and severity of needs is growing while the UN’s response plans are increasingly underfunded. We believe that armed conflict is a primary cause of the food insecurity crisis, including as a result of obstructions to humanitarian access and a lack of compliance with International Humanitarian Law. We note that this situation is compounded by climate change and socio-economic shocks, including the impact of COVID-19.
78. We endorse the work of the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crises Panel and the Compact which aim to prevent famine in 2021 and begin to stem the growth of humanitarian need. We commit to: provide assistance, and seek to broaden and diversify the donor base, including from the private sector and foundation resources, required to address the critical funding challenges to prevent famine; promote humanitarian access and protect civilians; scale-up anticipatory action to prevent crises deteriorating further; partner with the World Bank Group to strengthen crisis preparedness and response through countries’ own national systems; and support the co-ordinated data gathering and analysis required to get aid to those who need it most when they need it. Recognising that chronic hunger is also rising, we reaffirm our commitment to the Broad Food Security and Nutrition Development Approach agreed by the G7 in Elmau (Germany) in 2015. We reaffirm our commitment to the work of the Food Security Working Group, and stress the importance of coherent multilateral action in light of the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit and Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit later this year.
Climate change adaptation and resilience
79. We note with grave concern the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable communities and welcome the progress made at the UK-hosted Climate and Development Ministerial on 31 March 2021. We commit to continue scaling up finance contributing to adaptation action, taking into account the priorities and needs identified by ambitious adaptation plans at local, national and sub-national levels, and adaptation communications.
80. We reaffirm our commitment to the collective developed-country goal of jointly mobilising US$100 billion annually through to 2025 and reaffirm our aim, in line with the Paris Agreement, that the provision of scaled-up financial resources should aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation, taking into account country-driven strategies. We welcome the commitments already made by some of the G7 to increase finance contributing to adaptation action and look forward to new commitments from others well ahead of COP 26 in Glasgow. We commit to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of our climate finance, including nature-based solutions. This finance will strive to advance gender equality and inclusion and reflect the needs and voices of marginalised groups, indigenous peoples and women and girls. We call on the Multilateral Development Banks and other public and private finance institutions to increase finance for climate and nature and set ambitious plans for delivery. We welcome the Principles for Locally Led Adaptation and recognise the need for vulnerable communities to shape the decisions that affect them.
81. We recognise the important role businesses and investors must play to support vulnerable countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to adapt to climate change. We emphasise the need for greater public-private collaboration to achieve enhanced private finance mobilisation and domestic market creation for adaptation and resilience solutions and further efforts to incentivise increased private sector commitments. We welcome the work of the Collaborative on Accelerating Investment in Adaptation and Resilience and the additional G7 Development Finance Institutions that have joined this year. We are pleased G7 participants of the Collaborative have put forward practical plans to collectively pursue mainstreaming and substantially increasing investment into adaptation and resilience, and will develop specific detailed actions on managing climate risk before COP 26, with an initial focus on agriculture. We welcome the positive progress since the Collaborative was established at the Finance in Common Summit in 2020 and look forward to further progress by the 2021 Summit which will focus on agriculture. We call on major agri-food firms to improve the sustainability, and reduce the climate impacts, of their operations and supply chains and will work with G7 agri-food firms to take further steps to achieving this.
82. We welcome progress on disaster risk finance following the G7 Summit in Elmau in 2015. We note the ambition of vulnerable countries to mobilise risk finance to better assess and manage climate risk. We encourage partner governments to commit to strengthening and expanding coverage of national social protection programs as part of managing their ex-ante and ex-post risk. We recall our previous commitments to support preparedness and early action in developing countries and welcome the significant and important protection that these investments have provided to poor and vulnerable people. We recognise opportunities for the global risk finance architecture to develop, including in the depth and breadth of the risk pools, as well as in terms of mechanisms for the targeted sustainable provision of premium subsidies where appropriate. We welcome the intention of individual G7 members to make further ambitious financial commitments by the time of the June Summit. We will aim to improve the impact of this funding by establishing best practice principles by COP 26 in co-ordination with the InsuResilience Global Partnership. We support early action, climate and disaster risk finance and insurance on climate-linked disasters initiatives such as the InsuResilience Global Partnership and Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP). We support the G7 ambition of covering 500 million poor and vulnerable people by 2025 through such solutions, in line with the InsuResilience Global Partnership’s Vision 2025 and contributing to REAP’s target to make 1 billion people safer from disaster by 2025.
83. We welcome the important work of the members of Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. We recognise the need to strengthen international risk forecasting, prioritisation and advice to vulnerable countries on contingent finance. We call on the existing disaster risk finance initiatives and key international institutions to increase collaboration and to improve synergies. We recall the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ commitment to strengthen the global risk monitoring, including by further integrating natural disasters, climate, environmental and other high-impact tail risks more systematically into the global risk monitoring and preparedness. We welcome the intention of individual G7 members to work with vulnerable countries, including SIDS and Least Developed Countries, and partners to explore options to strengthen disaster risk forecasting and to publish the findings of this work before COP 26.
84. Finally, we call on all states and encourage non-state actors to cooperate to enhance adaptation, including through the Adaptation Action Coalition and the Race to Resilience campaign and showcasing the activities undertaken within the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. We affirm our commitment to building resilience to the water-related impacts of climate change and to mobilising the global agriculture research system to help the world recover from COVID-19 and addressing the climate change impacts on and of food systems. We commit to leveraging the power of national and multilateral research institutions, such as the One CGIAR (formerly Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), and the public and private sectors. This is critical to generate knowledge, strengthen innovation systems, and ensure partnerships accelerate the pace and scale of innovation required to make food systems resilient and stable, and transform food systems to adapt to a changing climate while delivering nutritious, affordable food to growing populations in an inclusive way as well as protecting water and land resources.
85. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, we will take concrete action to address priority development finance challenges, and take note of the policy options developed through the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond Initiative, co-convened by Canada, Jamaica and the UN Secretary General. We welcome the partnership with our Finance and Health Ministers, as well as international and philanthropic organisations, to help mobilise urgent financial support for vulnerable countries as well as sustainable financing for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and pandemic preparedness. We welcome the International Monetary and Financial Committee’s call for the IMF to make a comprehensive proposal on a new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) general allocation and to explore ways for voluntary post-allocation channelling of SDRs to support the recovery efforts of vulnerable countries. We also welcome the G20’s commitment to support a further and final extension of the G20/Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) by 6 months, through end-December 2021. We welcome the current work to implement the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI, to address debt vulnerabilities on a case-by-case basis. This will help ensure that debt treatment is co-ordinated between Paris Club and emerging G20 creditors for the first time, and that other official bilateral and private creditors participate in line with the comparability of treatment principle.
86. In the context of the IMF projecting a financing gap for Africa of around $425 billion 2021-2025, we welcome the work of Finance Minister colleagues and the International Financial Institutions to mobilise additional urgent financial support for Africa. We urge our G7 Development Finance Institutions towards greater collaboration in order to unlock private investment opportunities and support a sustainable recovery in Africa. We also recognise the far-reaching impact of the pandemic on Africa, the need to enable equitable access to vaccines, and to support African plans for VTD production, while supporting the development of resilient health systems. We will encourage African governments to set the optimal conditions to increase trade, attract investment and create sustainable and decent jobs.
87. We recognise we are meeting in an exceptional and fast-changing context. We commit to working together, with partner countries and within the multilateral system, to shape a cleaner, freer, fairer and more secure future for the planet. We resolve to keep working on tangible issues and outcomes together and in partnership with many others. We eagerly anticipate the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Carbis Bay in June. We look forward to making further progress on these issues at the second G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ meeting later in the year, which will welcome the participation of African Foreign Ministers.