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The 'Group of Seven' (G7) and the 'Group of Twenty' (G20) are informal forums bringing together the Heads of State and government. The annually rotating presidency decides which topics will be discussed at the summit and ministerial meetings as well as the preparatory working groups. The forum groupings offer political decision-makers the opportunity to informally exchange ideas and reach agreements. The G7 and G20 see themselves as a multilateral community of values.
G7: Germany has held the G7 Presidency since 1 January 2022 until the end of the year. Under the motto 'Progress for a Just World', the German Federal Government, together with its international partners, addresses central issues of multilateral cooperation, cohesion within and between societies, and common challenges. The programme for this year's Presidency is geared to five fields of action:
- Strong alliances for a sustainable planet,
- Setting the course for economic stability and transformation
- Enhanced preparedness for healthy lives
- Sustainable Investments in a better future
- Stronger together
The topic of research accompanies Germany in the so-called 'G7 Science Track' (working group). The main areas of work are:
- Research on Covid: with a special focus on Post-Covid
- Research to combat climate change: in particular research on carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere and ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus
- Protecting the freedom, integrity and security of science and research: in particular endorsing the Bonn Declaration.
In addition to the above-mentioned focal points, the science ministers will continue topics from the previous G7 agenda. These include issues of global health, joint research and development of clean energy and the promotion of digital education. More information is available on the website of the German G7 presidency.
G20: Indonesia assumed the G20 presidency on 1 December 2021. Under the motto 'Recover Together, Recover Stronger', Indonesia aims to make progress in three priority areas: Global Health, Sustainable Energy Transition and Digital Transformation. Indonesia underlines the G20's leadership in the recovery from the Corona pandemic. 'Tackling inequalities' is a common thread running through the overall agenda.
In the thematic area of education, Indonesia has set four priorities:
- Universal and quality education: achieving inclusive and quality education for all (SDG4);
- Digital technologies in education: Expand digital structures in schools and train teachers to use digital technology;
- Solidarity and partnerships: greater involvement of stakeholders from politics, research, the private sector and civil society to improve education and training provision;
- The Future of Work Post-Covid: necessary adaptations to a changing labour market, lifelong learning, inclusion and engagement of business partners.
In the thematic area of science, the Indonesian Presidency has set two priorities:
- Greater collaboration in research and innovation through sharing of facilities, infrastructure and funding, particularly in biodiversity, marine research, renewable energy and space research/geosciences.
- Use of biodiversity to support a 'green' and 'blue' economy.
More information is available on the G20 website.
Currently, there are discussions about excluding Russia from the G20 due to Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, which is against international law.
The 'Group of Seven' (G7) and the 'Group of Twenty' (G20) are informal forum of for Heads of States and government from the most important industrialised and emerging countries. The annually rotating presidency is responsible for shaping the summit's agenda and organising all other thematic ministerial meetings. As a troika, the incumbent presidency is supported by the previous and the succeeding presidency. Each presidency selects its own focus topics that are commonly discussed. Often, the presidency is given a specific motto. Decisions in both forums are made by consensus - nevertheless, they have legally binding character. Neither forum has a permanent headquarters, offices or staff.
The G7 and the G20 consider themselves as a community of values for peace, security and a self-determined life worldwide. Freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law as well as prosperity and sustainable development are central principles. However, these concepts are sometimes understood and guaranteed in very different ways, especially in the G20 member states, or are not adhered to. Currently, there are discussions about excluding Russia from the G20 due to Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine (see also G20 members).
Since their foundation, the heads of state and governments (of the G7 and G20) have usually met annually on the invitation of the respective presidency. These meetings in general offer the opportunity to exchange views in person. For each summit, a Leaders’ Declaration summarising the most important results and, if necessary, accompanying reports and work plans are issued. The themes and topics for the summit’s declaration are prepared by the Sherpas as well as the thematic ministers and secretaries. The Sherpas are personal delegates of the heads of state.
In the final summit declarations, the heads of states and governments agree on common goals, tasks and guidelines. The implementation of those common goals is primarily a national responsibility. In the case of Germany, the federal government informs the committees of the German Bundestag about the results after each summit. The Federal Governments’ reports of recent years on the G7 / G8 and G20 summits can be found under'Reports and Declarations by the Federal Government'.
The 'Group of 7' includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA. The European Commission has permanent observer status. This observer role has expanded over time. Since the Ottawa summit in 1981, the EU Commission has regularly participated in all working meetings. However, as a supranational organisation, the EU Commission is not 'counted' as a country o the G7 and does not assume the rotating chair or presidency or is enabled to vote.
G7 countries © DLR
Each presidency has the liberty to invite further 'guest'-countries or other international organisations and institutions (such as bodies of the UN).
After having violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in 2014, Russia has until today been expelled from the G8.
In 1999, the G20 met for the first time at the level of finance ministers and central bank governors. In 2008, the G20 Heads of State met for the first time.
The forum consists of the following members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Unlike at the G7, the European Commission is a full member of the G20. Spain is a permanent guest country in the G20.
After Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, an exclusion of Russia from the G20 is currently being discussed. A unanimous decision in this sense is not to be expected due to China's position. As things stand, therefore, the G7 and EU member states among the G20 members each place a strong condemnation of Russia before their speech at the G20 meetings. The decision as to whether a joint summit declaration will be drafted at all under these circumstances and whether a final meeting of the education and science ministers and the heads of government will take place at all is still pending.
G20 countries © DLR
Next to the member states, other states and organisations participate in the work of the G20, if invited by the acting presidency. Regular participants within the G20 process are:
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF),
- the World Bank,
- the UN with its specialised agencies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
- the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),
- the World Trade Organization (WTO),
- the International Labor Organization (ILO),
- the Financial Stability Board (FSB)
- the presidential countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
It is the task of the respective presidency to set priorities in terms of content, shape the agenda and organize and prepare the meetings. Germany hosted the G7 / G8 in 1978, 1985, 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015 and thus has held the chair six times so far. In 2022, Germany will take over the G7 presidency again.
G7 presidencies © DLR
The presidency rotates annually among the G20 members. For the rotation process, the countries are divided into 'regional' groups. The group internally determines who will take the chair in the relevant year.
In, 1999, 2004 and 2017, Germany has held the G20 Presidency and also hosted the G20 finance ministers in 2017.
Indonesia currently holds the presidency. The G20 presidencies from 2015 to 2024 are distributed as follows:
G20 presidencies © DLR
It is the task of the respective presidential country to set priorities in terms of content. At the same time, references are often made to decisions and resolutions from earlier years, so that one can speak of a G7 agenda and G20 agenda.
At the annual G7 summit, the Heads of States and Governments meet to discuss themes and topics chosen by the respective presidency. In view of the economic challenges in the 1970s - the first oil crisis and the collapse of the system of fixed exchange rates (Bretton Woods) - the meeting originally served to develop approaches in international economic policy to counter the ongoing global financial crisis.
The G7 has expanded its agenda over the years so that it now covers a wide range of global issues and challenges. Some topics are regularly included in the agenda, such as world economy and trade, foreign and security policy, development policy and food security, climate and energy as well as labor and social affairs.
The main topics of the last G7 summits and ministerial meetings in the fields of education and science are listed below:
Meeting of the G7 Science Ministers, 12-14 June, Frankfurt
- Research on Post-Covid
- Research to combat climate change
- Protecting the freedom, integrity and security of science and research
2021: United Kingdom
- Research Compact as annex to the summit communiqué
Meeting of the G7 Science Ministers’ 13 July 2021, hybrid
- Equal opportunities, inclusive research systems
- Security and integrity of the research system
- Open Science
2020: USA Presidency
Extraordinary Meeting of the G7 Science and Technology Ministers, 28 May 20, (ad-hoc) virtual
- Joint G7-Science and Technology Ministers‘ Declaration on COVID-19
- Cooperation in joint COVID-19 research priorities
- Access to data: joint use of high-performance computers, Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)
- Innovative approaches to combat the pandemic
G7-Education Ministers‘ Meeting, 4 July, Paris
- Declaration concerns Early Childhood Education and the professionalization of teacher training
Communiqué regarding the combat of school bullying
G7-Education and Development Ministers‘ Meeting, 5 July, Paris
- Education for Girls
- Vocational Training in support of the social and professional integration
no meeting of the education and science ministers
G7-Science Ministers‘ Meeting, 28-29 September, Turin
- Qualification of labor power for Research and Innovation
- The role research plays in promoting future technologies, innovations and their funding mechanisms
- Global research infrastructures and access to data
The joint statements of the G7 science ministers can be viewed on the website of the Canadian G7 presidency.
There are currently four G7 working groups in the field of science and research that work on global challenges.
|Security and Integrity of the Research Ecosystem||United Kingdom, Canada||2021
|Open Science||Japan, EU
|Future of the Seas and Oceans||United Kingdom
|GSO Global Research Infrastructures||currently China (together with the UK)||2013|
The G20 initially concentrated on reforms to regulate the financial markets and the international monetary system, as well as the macroeconomic cooperation between the G20 countries. In the meantime, however, the G20 agenda – like the G7 agenda – has been expanded and now includes a wide range of further topics.
Next to the focus topics economy and finance, the forum discusses Topics in the areas of:
- Finances and Consequences for the World Economy
- Global Health
- Climate Change and Environment
- Agriculture and Water
- Work and Labour
- Gender Equality
As a result of the first G20 Digital Ministers meeting in Germany in 2017, the topics of digitalisation and artificial intelligence have become increasingly important. Due to the thematic breadth of the G20, there is a large number of different working groups and their meetings.
For the first time in 2018, education was put on the G20 agenda by the Argentine presidency.
G20 Education Ministers' Meeting, 26 July, Bali
- Universal and quality education
- Digital technologies in education
- Solidarityaritity and partnerships
- Future of work after COVID-19
G20 Meeting of Science Ministers, 30 August, Jakarta
- Enhanced collaboration in research and innovation through sharing of facilities, infrastructure and funding
- Using biodiversity to support the green and blue economy
G20-Education Ministers Meeting, 22 June, hybrid
- Joint declaration on blended learning and educational poverty
G20-Educations and Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting, 22 June, hybrid
- Joint declaration on successful transitions from education to work
G20-Research and Higher Education Ministers Meeting, 6 August, hybrid
- Joint declaration on Leveraging Research, Higher Education and Digitalisation for a Strong, Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Recovery
G20-Education Ministers Meeting on COVID-19, 29 June, virtual
- As a consequence of the pandemic: Exchange regarding the global disruption of education and potential solutions to attenuate negative impacts
- Equal access to education via more digitization and more 'distance-learning'-concepts
- Changed forms of internationalization in education
G20-Education Ministers‘ Meeting, 5 September, virtual
- Education continuity
- Early Childhood Education and technology
- Internationalisation in education
no Ministerial Meeting on education and science
G20 Joint Education and Labor Ministers‘ Meeting 5 September, Mendoza
- Skills for the future
- Financing Education
- International Cooperation in Education
In preparation of the first G20 Education Ministers‘ Meeting, the G20 Education Working Group (EWG) was founded.
no Ministerial Meeting regarding Education and Science
Cooperation with Civil Society
The heads of states and governments actively seek and support the dialogue with stakeholders from business, civil society, research and others. These groups make an important contribution to bringing the issues of the G7 and G20 into society in a participatory manner. In turn they make recommendations to the fora. The so-called 'engagement groups' agree on a position paper with recommendations for action and may exert influence in this way. Various non-governmental groups are present in this context:
- Business: B7 respectively B20,
- Civil: C7 respectively C20,
- Labour: L7 respectively L20,
- Science: S7 respectively S20,
- Think (tanks): T7 respectively T20,
- Universities: U7 Alliance,
- Women: W7 respectively W20,
- Youth: Y7 respectively Y20.
The groups each consist of experts in the respective fields from all G7 / G20 countries. In the science 7 / science 20 engagement group for example, the National Academy of Sciences – the Leopoldina – represents German science and develops joint statements and recommendations in advance of relevant ministerial meetings.
The International Bureau supports the BMBF in its work to participate in the G7 and G20.