The G7 leaders, from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, are meeting this week to discuss the global food crisis, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and how they will combat rising energy prices. The three-day summit is taking place at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, Germany. The UN has warned that an “unprecedented” amount of hunger is coming as a result of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, which means it could be time for some new commitments from world powers on how they plan on addressing these issues, with solutions not only for today’s problems but also those anticipated down-the-line decades from now.
As a result of the recent pandemic, climate change, and the Russia-Ukraine war, there is an impending global hunger crisis. “The State of Food and Nutrition in the World 2021”, estimates that up to 811 million people went hungry last year as climate extremes and economic slowdowns, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, continued to increase in frequency and intensity. This means if something isn’t done quickly then we could potentially see widespread hardship like never before seen.
The global crisis continues to escalate in the build-up to the G7 summit. Protesters gathered in Munich to demand a fight against extreme hunger, provision of social justice, and phasing out of fossil fuels. Many groups critical of globalization have called on people to participate in demonstrations during the summit. Meanwhile, around 18,000 police officers are deployed around the summit site and the protests. The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said the G7 leaders would discuss the current situation triggered by the war in Ukraine “and at the same time ensure that we stop man-made climate change.”
While the summit continues for three days, the war in Ukraine rages on with hardly any end in sight. The leaders have started making it clear what to expect from the gathering of the richest nations. On Sunday, US President Joe Biden announced on Twitter that the G7 will “ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that rakes in tens of billions of dollars for Russia.“
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated the commitment of the UK government’s continued support for Ukraine. He said, “now is not the time to give up on Ukraine, they need the support and resolve of the G7 more than ever.” The UK has now pledged a further half a billion dollars during the summit and has so far provided over £1.5 billion of economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine.
Western leaders are eager to tighten their grasp on Russia without causing mass protests or insurrections at home, but they may be in for a backlash internationally. The G7 countries continue to seek policies to further hurt Russia. The G7 announced that it will be capping the price of oil and pipeline gas in an effort to cut down on sky-high inflation rates. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the G7 will be “putting a ceiling on the price of fossil fuels imported from Russia has a geopolitical goal as well as an economic and social one.” He added, “we must mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, compensate families and businesses in difficulty, and tax companies that make extraordinary profits.”
At the same time, in the background, Russian forces continue to advance in Ukraine, taking more territory in the east and launching missiles on Kyiv during the weekend of the G7 Summit.
What remains to be seen is how the strong, progressive and sustainable outcomes of discussions will be translated into action and commitments followed by nations of the G7. Other observer nations will be keen to see how their economies will be affected.
By Jesse Cheto