Who are the G7 countries? Group of Seven explained ahead of COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow

Leading countries will attend the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, but which of them are also part of the G7 summit?

The G7 summit brings together leaders from some of the world’s biggest economies.

The most recent summit took place in June this year in the Cornish resort of Carbis Bay as the UK held the G7 Presidency for 2021.

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The COP26 conference, where 25,000 government delegates, media and campaigners from around the world will gather to discuss curbing climate change, is also being held by the UK in November.

But which countries attending COP26 are also part of the G7 summit, what is it and are the two linked?

Who are the G7 countries?

The G7 (Group of Seven) is an organisation of the world’s seven largest, wealthiest and developed nations.

The 7 countries are:

  • Canada 
  • France 
  • Germany 
  • Italy 
  • Japan 
  • UK  
  • USA 

Russia joined in the summit in 1998, creating the G8, however it was excluded in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea.

Despite China’s large economy it has never been a member - the low level of wealth per person means it is not seen as an advanced economy compared to the other G7 countries.

The European Union is not a member but is represented by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the European Council President, Charles Michel.

For this year’s summit Boris Johnson also invited Australia, India and South Korea in order to expand the G7 to become a group of ten democracies – or ‘D10’ - rather than just including the so-called advanced economies.

What do the G7 countries do?

Throughout the year, member countries hold meetings, form agreements and publish joint statements on global events.

For example, G7 finance ministers agreed to make multinational companies pay more tax, ahead of this year’s summit.

The G7 summit is the main event where the leaders come together to talk about the biggest issues of the day.

The main topics discussed at the 2021 summit were Covid recovery, climate change and trade. Boris Johnson also held talks with President Biden covering peace in  Northern Ireland.

The host nation publishes a document outlining what has been agreed by the leaders at the end of the summit.

Is the G7 linked to COP26?

Since the  G7 Summit and COP26 are both being chaired by the UK this year,  Boris Johnson’s government has the opportunity to  lay out on a world stage its future plans on what it can do to better our environment.

The two summits are also linked as G7 countries can build on what they have agreed upon and take this further in terms of the climate and environment during the COP26 conference.

This year’s G7 document (the main output of the meeting) has been criticised for not making any concrete plans on the section for the climate and environment - making it something that needs to be solidified during the COP26 conference.

The G7 Summit this year was held in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, a region seen to be central to the country’s green technology sector.

This was an opportunity to show what the nation is implementing to fight climate change ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

What’s the difference between the G7 and G20?

The G20 summit includes 19 countries and the European Union, addressing issues such as international financial stability, climate change, and sustainable development.

The G20 involves countries missed from the G7 such as China, Russia and South Africa.

The G7 Summit has been criticised for only including nations that have the wealthiest and largest economies, and many question its importance and influence as a result.

Italy holds the presidency of the G20 this year with the summit being held in Rome on 30 and 31 October 2021.

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