The Speaker
Thursday, 18 April 2024 – 21:32
Photo Credit: G20 Argentina on Flickr - Licence (CC BY 2.0)

G7/8/20 – Explaining All The Gs

There are multiple political institutions that go by the name of ‘G’ – here’s how to tell them apart.

The G7/G8 and G20 are organisations which monitor and address developments in the world economy.

The G7 was formed in 1975, originally as the Group of Six (G6) including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Canada joined the group in the following year, creating the G7.

In 1998, the G8 was formed when Russia was added to the G7, however, the country was later expelled for its annexation (unauthorised taking) of Crimea in 2014. The group then returned to the name of the G7. Today, there are 7 member states of the G7, including;

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The European Union is also a member of the G7, but as it is not a country, it is not included in the number. All members (except the EU) take turns to be the president of the organisation each year. The president nation hosts the summit in their state and sets the agenda for the summit, though in 2020, the summit was cancelled and an online conference was held instead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Click through the tabs below to learn more.


{tab What Does The G7 Do?}

The main aim of the group is to consider economic policy issues and manage the system of global governance. It is a forum where the leaders and finance ministers of the member nations can discuss issues in an informal setting and create new policies. The group has though faced criticism on occasions, with it sometimes being divided in opinion and unable to deal particularly effectively with some emerging global issues such as climate change.

Some topics the G7 has worked on include looking at global energy use and focusing on the global supply of food. Between 2009 and 2015, the group contributed around $20 billion to projects focused on the global supply of food, such as emergency food aid assistance projects and sustainable agriculture development schemes.


Photo: G7 Summit in 2018 | Credit: Casa Rosada (Argentina Presidency of the Nation), CC BY 2.5 AR


{tab What Does The G20 Do?}

The G20 was originally established in 1999 as a forum consisting of 19 of the world’s leading industrialised and emerging economies, and the EU. Examples of what the G20 has discussed include the collapse of the Lehman Brothers and the global financial crash, where it agreed to inject £748bn into the global economy.

The G20, like the G7/G8, holds informal discussions, though its larger forum means that it represents the world economic order better than the G7 and G8. However, the G20 has faced some problems dealing with climate change, inequality and other global issues due to divisions over these – the more voices involved can often make decision making and agreements harder to reach.


{tab What Do The G’s Meet}

The G7 usually hold a summit each year that is hosted by the President nation of the year. In 2020, the G7 Summit was due to take place in the United States but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was instead held remotely over video-conferencing. The 47th summit is due to take place in 2021 and be hosted by the United Kingdom.

The G20 usually holds a summit annually. Other summits are also held such as the W20 (women’s summit) and Y20 (summits of young leaders and changemakers who are 18 to 30 years old).


{tab What Are The Different Engagement Groups of the G’s?}

The G’s have engagement groups which serve the purpose of ensuring that the heads of states’ declaration at a summit meets the needs of all different parts of society. The engagement groups include;

  • Youth 7
  • Business 7
  • Civil 7
  • Labour 7
  • Science 7
  • Women 7
  • Think 7

These groups will usually hold consultations in their country and create policy recommendation to put to G7 leaders. Engagement groups also exist for the G20 format.

Photo: The Y7 Summit in 2019





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