Q2/2020 - U.S.-American G7 Presidency

G7 Summit Cancelled

The annual G7 Summit at Camp David scheduled for 23 and 24 June 2020 was initially announced to take place in form of a virtual meeting. Later it was to be held as a face-to-face meeting, however in Washington D.C. After German Chancellor Merkel had declared that she would not attend a face-to-face meeting in June 2020 in person, U.S. President Trump had postponed the Summit until September 2020. In addition to the G7 countries, he wanted to invite four other governments, including Russia and India. The irritating proposals of the U.S. G7 Presidency have led to a total lack of clarity, which has upset all the mechanisms of the G7 that have developed over the recent years, from G7 ministerial conferences to G7 expert meetings. In 2021, Great Britain takes over the G7 presidency.

Video Conference of G7 Science and Technology Ministers, 28 May 2020

On 27 May, a video conference of the G7 Science and Technology Ministers took place. The conference adopted a declaration titled “A Shared Vision for Science and Technology in Responding to the Pandemic”.

The declaration addresses the special role of digitisation in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. Access to broadband is pointed out to be a fundamental necessity for citizens in such a crisis. It was agreed to intensify the exchange of experiences in areas such as home office, distance learning, telemedicine, etc.

A new “G7 Partnership on Artificial Intelligence” (GPAI), building on the results of the G7 presidencies of Canada (2018) and France (2019), shall promote multi-stakeholder collaboration to develop new AI-based tools to address global crises (Responsible and human-centric development and use of AI in a manner consistent with human rights, fundamental freedoms, and our shared democratic values). The OECD was appointed secretariat of the GPAI. The GPAI is planned to consist of two “Centers of Expertise” (in Montreal and Paris)[1].

On 17 June 2020, the G7 Foreign Ministers adopted a joint statement on the situation in Hong Kong, criticising the new Chinese security law[2].

Video Conference of G7 Finance Ministers, 19 May 2020

On 19 May 2020, the G7 Finance Ministers held a video conference. The discussion ended without a closing document. A “readout” by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, merely states that national and international issues of economic development in the COVID-19 crisis were discussed. The readout does not make any reference to the discussion on the controversial issues of a global digital tax or the future of digital trade[3].

Mehr zum Thema
  1. [1] G7 Science and Technology Ministers' Declaration on COVID-19, 28 May 2020: „A Shared Vision for Science and Technology in Responding to the Pandemic, Protecting Human Health, and Promoting Social and Economic Recovery: Recognizing the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on people's health, well-being, and livelihoods; Recognizing the G7 Leaders' Statement on COVID-19 expressing the need for a strongly coordinated international approach, based on science and evidence, consistent with our democratic values, including encouraging science, research, and technology cooperation and utilizing the strengths of private enterprise; Recognizing the COVID-19 Response Statement of the G-20 Digital Ministers highlighting the important role of advanced technologies for fighting pandemics and other crises;… Understanding the particular importance of collecting and providing public access to validated pandemic-related data while maintaining data security and privacy in accordance with relevant laws and regulations and maintaining citizens' trust in the use of their data;… Communicating the need for researchers around the world to have timely access to the advanced experimental and computing resources and artificial intelligence (AI) tools necessary to solve the world's most challenging scientific problems, including epidemiological, cellular, and molecular modeling; analysis; bioinformatics; health outcomes research; and understanding the spread of communicable diseases; Recognizing the importance of secure and resilient digital infrastructure, including support for remote learning and working, health systems, virtual care and telehealth services, and job upskilling and reskilling programs;Recognizing the importance of multistakeholder contributions and the role that innovative businesses and start-ups can play in bringing new ideas and technologies to the public;… Recognizing the importance of shared values, including freedom of inquiry, merit-based competition, openness, transparency, and reciprocity, as well as the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, privacy, and democratic values in international cooperation; The G7 Science and Technology Ministers intend to work collaboratively, with other relevant Ministers to: 1. Enhance cooperation on shared COVID-19 research priority areas, such as basic and applied research, public health, and clinical studies. Build on existing mechanisms to further priorities, including identifying COVID-19 cases and understanding virus spread while protecting privacy and personal data; developing rapid and accurate diagnostics to speed new testing technologies; discovering, manufacturing, and deploying safe and effective therapies and vaccines; and implementing innovative modeling, adequate and inclusive health system management, and predictive analytics to assist with preventing future pandemics. 2. Make government-sponsored COVID-19 epidemiological and related research results, data, and information accessible to the public in machine-readable formats, to the greatest extent possible, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, including privacy and intellectual property laws. Identify research results, data, and information crucial to addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic response and to preventing potential future pandemics, in an effort to advance research, clinical care, public health, and public communication. Identify current data gaps, make anonymized data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable, and recognize the importance of open science, which increases public accessibility to research results and data. Exchange best practices and lessons learned on the ethical and transparent use of data in the COVID-19 response and beyond. Share tools and methods for responsible use of data, and for more transparent, participatory, and accountable use of data, recognizing ongoing initiatives, including on repositories. 3. Strengthen the use of high-performance computing for COVID-19 response. Make national high-performance computing resources available, as appropriate, to domestic research communities for COVID-19 and pandemic research, while safeguarding intellectual property. Enhance cooperation between G7 partners and ongoing initiatives, such as the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, the Partnership for High Performance Computing in Europe, and the High-Performance Computing Infrastructure in Japan. 4. Launch the Global Partnership on AI, envisioned under the 2018 and 2019 G7 Presidencies of Canada and France, to enhance multi-stakeholder cooperation in the advancement of AI that reflects our shared democratic values and addresses shared global challenges, with an initial focus that includes responding to and recovering from COVID-19. Commit to the responsible and human-centric development and use of AI in a manner consistent with human rights, fundamental freedoms, and our shared democratic values. 5. Exchange best practices to advance broadband connectivity; minimize workforce disruptions, support distance learning and working; enable access to smart health systems, virtual care, and telehealth services; promote job upskilling and reskilling programs to prepare the workforce of the future; and support global social and economic recovery, in an inclusive manner while promoting data protection, privacy, and security.“, in: http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/science/2020-declaration.html
  2. [2] G7 Foreign Ministers' Statement on Hong Kong, 17 June 2020, http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/foreign/200617-hongkong.html
  3. [3] Readout from a Treasury Spokesperson on Secretary Mnuchin's Call with G7 Finance Ministers, Washington, 19 May 2020: „U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin held a call with his counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the European Commission, and the Eurogroup. G7 Finance Ministries remain in regular contact to coordinate on timely and effective actions in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Finance Ministers discussed domestic and international economic responses underway and strategies to accelerate economic activity as our economies begin reopening, in line with necessary health and safety measures“, in: http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/finance/200519-readout.html