The 2021 G7 Summit: How did it measure up?

June 22, 2021
Written by Rachel Hickman

How did the G7 Summit measure up to our hopes and expectations?

The big build up

This year, the G7 had more attention than most — and for good reason.

We saw thousands join the #WaveOfHope campaign, demanding that this G7 addresses the biggest crises of today: COVID-19, inequality, climate change, and nature loss. The Crack the Crises Coalition delivered this message to the British Parliament and leadership, as well as the G7 countries’ embassies.

Concern was also busy in the run up to the G7. We attended the civil society summit (the C7) and helped shape recommendations on both global food security and nutrition and climate change. Our aim was to ensure the G7 addressed the most pressing needs of the people we work with in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.

These recommendations were formally issued to G7 leaders, after which we met with politicians working on the G7 to discuss how they could be put into practice.

What were the results of the G7 summit?

Key announcements during this year’s G7 included:

But while this is progress, the G7 fell short of expectations, particularly on vaccines. While they committed to distributing 1 billion vaccines in more vulnerable countries, it’s estimated that 10 billion vaccines will be needed globally to get the pandemic under control.

Here’s a little more on how the 2021 G7 Summit met the C7 Summit’s recommendations on hunger and climate change.

Food security and nutrition


Growing food insecurity and malnutrition is a critical issue right now. Over 34 million people currently face emergency levels of food insecurity, the last warning before famine. Without serious international action, we could see catastrophic loss of life. But we must also tackle the long-term issue of malnutrition, which persists at unacceptably high levels. 149 million children were stunted last year, leaving a lasting impact on their health and futures.

Funding: What we asked for

Lead global efforts to prevent food and nutrition crises, including committing at least $5 billion this year to stop millions from dying of starvation.

What the 2021 G7 Summit delivered:

G7 countries agreed to allocate $8.5 billion for famine prevention. However, this does not seem to be new money and there is no clarity on who is spending this money or how. This means it is likely to be existing funding that is being “re-earmarked” as famine prevention or — worse still — money repurposed at the expense of other important causes. The hunger compact is a welcome first step, but we now need to see words turned into action. We will continue to push for a fully transparent and accountable implementation plan for famine prevention.

Nutrition clinic in South Sudan

The community gathers for a Concern Worldwide Nutrition clinic at a health facility in Aweil, South Sudan. In this area there are about seven mobile clinics and over 50 nutrition clinics. The rate of malnutrition is around 25 – 30% in this region during the hunger season. (Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Concern Worldwide)

Famine prevention: What we asked for

Help shift the humanitarian system towards greater preparedness and anticipatory action to avoid future crises.

What the 2021 G7 Summit delivered:

The famine compact included a focus on greater anticipatory action, acknowledging that we cannot wait for famine to be declared before we act. However, again, this was not backed by a clear plan for resourcing.

Efforts in famine prevention will be undermined if wider malnutrition isn’t tackled.

Health & nutrition: What we asked for

Commit to preventing and treating undernutrition, diet-related chronic disease, and nutrient deficiencies, and prioritizing access to nutritious food. We asked each G7 country to commit to make an ambitious financial commitment at the Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2021.

What the 2021 G7 Summit delivered:

The G7 Leader’s Statement recognized the impact of the pandemic on increasing levels of malnutrition and encouraged all G7 donors to make strong commitments at the Food Systems Summit and the Nutrition for Growth Summit, which will take place in Tokyo in December. But there was a missed opportunity not to make a specific commitment to nutrition at the G7. Efforts in famine prevention will be undermined if wider malnutrition isn’t tackled.

Woman with goat herd outside her home in Turkana, northern Kenya

Ng’ikario Ekiru with the last of her goat herd outside their home in Turkana, northern Kenya. She is feeding her family with wild desert fruit and roasted animal hides as the area experiences the second drought in three years.
(Photo: Gavin Douglas / Concern Worldwide)

Building resilience to climate change


Climate impacts are rising rapidly. Climate change is a key driver of the rising levels of global hunger and is undermining efforts to address extreme poverty. While climate change affects everyone, it’s often the countries that have the least responsibility for and the fewest resources to adapt to the climate crisis that are most affected. This has led to an increased demand for climate justice. Especially as, by 2050, an additional 200 million people each year might need humanitarian aid due to climate change — an 85% increase compared to the most recent figures (from 2019).

Climate finance: What we asked for

Significantly increase commitments to climate finance, including achieving the 50% target for climate change adaptation.

Funding for climate change adaptation continues to lag behind that for mitigation, despite a long-term commitment from high-income countries to reach a balance between both.

What the 2021 G7 Summit delivered:

The G7 statement itself was disappointing, reaffirming a now decade-old commitment to “jointly mobilize $100 billion per year from public and private sources, through to 2025.” Climate change adaptation received little attention, with no steps announced to address the fact that funding for adaptation continues to lag behind that for mitigation, despite a long-term commitment from high-income countries to achieve a balance between the two. After the summit concluded, however, a few positive developments were made:

  • Canada announced that it would double its climate finance pledge to $5.3 billion CAD ($4.4 billion USD) over the next five years
  • Germany announced that it would increase its own pledge by €2 billion, bringing it to €6 billion EUR ($7.26 billion USD) a year by 2025
  • Japan also reaffirmed its commitment of ¥1.3 trillion ($11.8 billion USD) per year through 2025, including enhancing adaptation

There’s still some way to go to bridge the gap between what low-income countries need to adapt to the impacts of climate change and what has been committed. But these announcements do show steps in the right direction.

Climate Justice: What we asked for

Prioritize the countries and communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

What the 2021 G7 Summit delivered:

The G7 statement included few specifics on how it would prioritize those most vulnerable. The proof of this will be in the implementation: where and how the new climate finance commitments are delivered. We will need to keep pushing to make sure that funding better reaches the countries and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts and that the adaptation funding gap is addressed.

Keep up to date with Concern's work in advocacy, as well as ending hunger and adapting to climate change