Governance and public sector management

Evaluating G7 Commitments on Climate Change, Health, Well-Being, and Agriculture

The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries just concluded their 50th summit on 15 June in Apulia in southern Italy. At the meeting, the leaders made a series of commitments that will influence the present and future agendas of global development. These commitments span various fields, including climate change, health, AI, emerging technologies, agriculture, food, and nutrition, among others. Tracking these commitments and how they guide international affairs is crucial.

Accountability and transparency are fundamental principles of the G7. They are essential for maintaining the credibility of the commitments made by leaders and cementing their leadership role in global affairs. At the Heiligendamm Summit in 2007, G8 members agreed to establish an accountability system as they realized that the effectiveness of the G8 was not only measured by the content of their annual communiqués but also by whether the commitments made by the leaders were being implemented. Better tracking and reporting on implementation, including identifying where progress has been made and where gaps exist, are crucial for consistency in policies and maintaining credibility. Therefore, at the Hokkaido Toyako Summit in 2008, the G8 placed accountability firmly on its agenda by releasing the first reports on the implementation of past commitments and requesting additional reports for the future. Building on these outcomes, leaders issued a preliminary accountability report at the L’Aquila Summit in 2009, which focused on assessing action in the education, water and sanitation, food security, and health sectors. During the summit, under the Italian presidency, the terms of reference for the G7 Accountability Working Group (AWG) and a preliminary accountability report were adopted.

The AWG has since been responsible for producing comprehensive reports every 3 years to review the progress toward all of the G7’s active and relevant commitments, with sector-focused reports in the intervening years. These reports assess the implementation of development-related commitments made at G7 summits, providing qualitative and quantitative evaluations. Additionally, the mechanism allows citizens and civil society within and outside G7 countries to monitor and hold the governments accountable for their commitments. Since its establishment, the AWG has published five comprehensive progress reports—Muskoka (2010), Lough Erne (2013), Ise-Shima (2016), Biarritz (2019), and Elmau (2022)—that assess all commitments. In addition, seven thematic reports have been released, reporting progress on specific G7 commitments related to development. These include Deauville (2011) on health and food security; Camp David (2012) on food security, markets and trade, nutrition, and global health; Elmau (2015) on biodiversity; Taormina (2017) on global partnership for education; Charlevoix (2018) on the economic empowerment of women; Carbis Bay (2021) on universal health coverage and global health; and Hiroshima (2023) on food security and nutrition, and migration and refugees.

At the 2022 Summit in Elmau, the G7 introduced a Dashboard on Gender Gaps to annually track the implementation of their leaders’ commitments to gender equality in G7 countries. This mechanism is designed to inform and support decision-making and actions regarding gender equality. These progress reports and dashboards serve as valuable resources for monitoring the fulfillment of the gender-related commitments made by G7 leaders.

To contribute to the G7’s ongoing efforts to maintain transparency and accountability in its commitments, ADBI has published a compendium that provides a comprehensive overview of the group’s commitments across four critical areas:1,2

  1. Climate change
  2. Health
  3. Well-being
  4. Agriculture, food, and nutrition

Unlike the AWG’s approach, which tracks only active and relevant commitments, the ADBI compendium reviews the G7’s commitments since 2011, providing a comprehensive view of their evolution across four key sectors. Additionally, it assesses both national and international commitments made by the G7, expanding beyond the typical focus on the implementation of development-related commitments. For example, the report categorizes climate commitments into three groups: overarching commitments, national commitments, and international commitments.

Consequently, the report analyzes the G7’s commitments in as much detail as possible. It offers a clear and comprehensive view of how the G7’s commitments have evolved in recent years, how they have influenced global agendas, and how they have been affected by major global events.

To fulfill the objectives of the report, our team at ADBI conducted a thorough review of annual G7 leaders’ meeting communiqués, covering the period from 2011 to 2023, except for 2020 when the summit was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We further integrated insights from the previously mentioned progress reports issued by the AWG. Additionally, we studied the G7 Financial Report on Food Security and Nutrition for the years 2022, 2021, 2019, and 2018, along with the G7 Hiroshima Progress Report 2023, G7 Clean Energy Economy Action Plan 2023, Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security 2023, G7 Hiroshima Progress Report 2023, G7 Ocean Deal Progress Report 2022, Terms of Reference for the Climate Club 2022, G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness 2022, G7’s Statement on Global Food Security 2022, G7 Statement on Global Food Security from Elmau in 2022, and G7 Roadmap for a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment 2017.

The compendium highlights significant progress. For instance, in climate change mitigation, the G7’s commitments have become more detailed and targeted in recent years. For health, the commitments have increased, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, challenges persist. The G7 has yet to propose a clear timeline to scrap fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, and food security remains focused mainly on the humanitarian context. Additionally, commitments should be concrete and measurable to ensure accountability and effectiveness.

The G7 has played and will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping global agendas and fostering international cooperation. The progress achieved so far underscores the group’s potential to drive meaningful change. Looking ahead, the G7 is well-positioned to address new challenges and leverage its collective influence to create positive opportunities for a more sustainable and equitable future. With continued commitment and accountability, the G7 can lead the way in global development and ensure that their initiatives benefit all.

Read more about the G7’s commitments in the compendium report.


1 Following the Russian Federation’s expulsion from the G8 in March 2014 due to its invasion of Ukraine, the group was downsized to the G7. Consequently, G7’s commitments listed in the document before 2014 were made by the G8, which then included the Russian Federation as a member.

2 These themes align with various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Climate Action (Goal 13), Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 7), Good Health and Well-being (Goal 3), No Poverty (Goal 1), Gender Equality (Goal 5), Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8), Reducing Inequality (Goal 10), Zero Hunger (Goal 2), and Partnership for the Goals (Goal 17).

Dhiroj Prasad Koirala

About the Author

Dhiroj Koirala is a doctorate student in the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Tetsushi Sonobe

About the Author

Tetsushi Sonobe is Dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute.
Dil Rahut

About the Author

Dil Rahut is vice-chair of research and a senior research fellow at ADBI.
Nicolas Buchoud

About the Author

Nicolas J.A. Buchoud is a senior advisor to the dean and CEO of ADBI. He is also a senior fellow at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries in New Delhi and a fellow at the Global Solutions Initiative in Berlin.

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