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Cornwall's Strong Success on Key Summit Performance Dimensions

John Kirton, G7 Research Group
June 14, 2021

I am grateful for the research contributions of Brittaney Warren, Julia Kulik, Duja Muhanna, Sonja Dobson, Maria Marchyshyn and other members of the G7 Research Group.

Introduction

The success of any G7 summit can and should be assessed systematically by a disciplined examination of its production across the six dimensions of performance that any plurilateral summit institution is designed to provide (see Appendix A). The main dimensions, able to be confidently charted immediately following the summit, are the public conclusions encoded in its leaders' communiqué and other outcome documents, principled and normative direction setting through affirmations of its distinctive foundational mission, decision making through precise, future-oriented, politically binding commitments, and the institutional development of global governance through references to bodies inside and outside the G7.

By this standard, the Cornwall Summit on June 11–13, 2021, was a strong success. It was among the most successful, among the 47 annual summits held since 1975. It was the highest performing in its affirmations of democratic and human rights values and in the number of commitments it made.

The Cornwall Summit issued six documents. This was the 11th highest and slightly above the average of 5.6 for the 46 summits before.

These documents contained 20,677 words, the seventh most and double the annual average of 10,140 words.

They affirmed the principles of democracy 145 times and human rights 55 times. The 200 total affirmations of this dual distinctive foundational mission was the highest ever and far more than the summit average of 29. Cornwall was a democracy summit above all.

Cornwall's leaders produced 404 commitments, making 2021 the highest performing decisional summit. There were 279 commitments in the comprehensive Carbis Bay G7 Summit Communiqué, 43 in the G7 2030 Nature Compact, 37 in the Carbis Bay Health Declaration, 23 in the G7 2021 Open Societies Statement and 22 in the G7 2021 Research Compact. This total was more than three times the annual average of 120 commitments since 1975.

G7 leaders developed global governance institutionally through 228 references, composed of 81 references to their bodies inside the G7 and 147 references to those outside, for an outside emphasis of 64%. This made Cornwall one of the highest performing summits on this dimension.

Documents

The six leaders issued documents, all released at the same time at the summit's end: a long communiqué, a short summary of it, the ample Carbis Bay Health Declaration, the Nature Compact of a similar length, and the shorter Open Societies Statement and Research Compact.

Deliberation

These six documents combined to produce the total of 20,677 words as follows:

  1. Communiqué: 4,047
  2. 2030 Nature Compact: 2,092
  3. Carbis Bay Health Declaration: 2,018
  4. Open Societies Statement: 888
  5. Research Compact: 882
  6. Communiqué summary: 750

Health came first as a subject, for the first time in G7 summit history, with 4,909 words (see Appendix B). Gender came a very close second. Across all six documents, gender did very well, and in a broadly mainstreamed way. Its 4,789 words took 23% of the total and appeared in 30 paragraphs across all documents.

Climate change came third with 3,843 words. Biodiversity had 2,808 and trade 2,895.

Macroeconomic policy had 1,217 words, over twice as many as its all-time average of 563 words.

China had 566 words, far more than ever. They included Hong Kong, which had previously appeared as a subject (as distinct from the location of a ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization [WTO]) only in 1989, 1995 and 1997.

The COVID-19 crowd-out that completely destroyed attention to climate change in 2020, and that dominated it at the G7's Virtual Summit on February 19, 2021, was now gone. Donald Trump, whose presence had led to a large climate crowd-out in 2019, was gone too.

Direction Setting

They affirmed the principles of democracy 145 times and human rights 55 times for 200 affirmations, the highest ever in the full 47 years and far more than the summit average of 29 (see Appendix C). The communiqué had 115, with 82 on democracy and 33 on human rights. Every document affirmed at least one of these values at least once.

Decisions

Cornwall's leaders produced 404 commitments, making Cornwall the highest performing decisional summit ever. The highest performing decisional summits have all come since 2006. St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2006 produced 317 commitments. Heiligendamm, Germany, in 2007 had 329. More recently, Elmau, Germany, in 2015 had a peak of 376 commitments, Ise-Shima, Japan, in 2016 had 342, and Charlevoix, Canada, in 2018 had 315.

At Cornwall 279 commitments were in the leaders' comprehensive communiqué (see Appendix D). There were 43 in the Nature Compact, 37 in the Carbis Bay Health Declaration, 23 in the Open Societies Statement and 22 in the Research Compact. The total of 404 was over triple the annual average of 120 commitments since 1975.

By subject, Cornwall's communiqué commitments were led by health, with 49 for 18%. When added to the 47 in the Carbis Bay Health Declaration, the total of 86 made Cornwall the highest performing decision-making summit in health, ahead of the 2017 Ise-Shima Summit with 85 and 2015 Elmau Summit with 61.

Climate change came a close second with 44 commitments for 16%. This was the second highest number of climate commitments of any G7 summit, well above the previous peak of 54 at Hokkaido-Toyako, Japan, in 2008 and tied with Heiligendamm in 2007.

The digital economy was well behind in third, with 23 commitments.

The environment came fourth with 18. If it added to the climate change commitments, nature would easily take first place with 62 commitments for 22%. In this sense, driven by the close connection the communiqué made between climate change, biodiversity and nature, nature tied for first – a first for the G7.

Trade came fifth with 17 commitments, followed by macroeconomics and regional security with 16 each. Then came international cooperation with 15, development with 14 and gender with 13.

Energy also had 13 commitments, most with the target of meeting climate goals. If those energy commitments were added to the 44 climate ones, the climate-energy total of 57 would put it in first place, well above health's 49. It would also be the all-time peak.

Then came democracy with 12 commitments and human rights with 10, as direction setting on these foundational values were converted into decisions.

Development of Global Governance

The Cornwall Summit developed global governance institutionally through 228 references, with 81 references to institutional bodies created by or at the G7 summit, and 147 references to those outside, for an outside emphasis of 64%.

References to institutions outside the G7 were led by the World Health Organization with 24, followed by the United Nations with 23, the G20 with 20 and the WTO with 14. Here Cornwall was primarily a health summit, but one performing in unusually close cooperation with the broader UN and G20 and their summits later in the year.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that G7 leaders at Cornwall produced a summit of strong success, but not very strong and not fully successful.

Yet these preliminary conclusions from this analysis come with two major caveats.

First, yet to be assessed is what could be considered a more important dimension of performance – delivery of the G7 members on their leaders' decisions through compliance with the Cornwall commitments during the year ahead. This assessment can be done in three phases. The first one, which can be completed now, is to identify whether the Cornwall commitments contain the specific catalysts that have coincided, and probably helped cause, higher compliance with such commitments in the past. The second phase is to track G7 members' compliance-consistent behaviour in the coming days and weeks, to see, for example, how many of the donated COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the Cornwall leaders are actually delivered into poor people's countries and arms. The third is to complete an interim compliance assessment of Cornwall's priority commitments just before G20's Rome Summit on October 30–31, the UN's Glasgow Climate Summit on November 1–12 and the World Health Assembly's special meeting taking place shortly after that.

Second, it is important to estimate how the commitments and compliance are converted into lives saved and deaths delayed, especially in the fields of health and climate change.

Third, the analysis here is based primarily on whether the G7 Cornwall Summit performed better than G7 summits have in the past, since their start in 1975. A distinct, and ultimately more important, referent is how much Cornwall met the unprecedentedly strong and urgent demand for G7 performance today, above all on climate change and health. By this second standard, Cornwall's strong performance relative to the past is less strong in meeting the demand today.

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Appendix A: G7 Overall Performance, 1975–2021

Year

Grade

Domestic political management

Deliberation

Direction setting

Decision making

Delivery

Development of global governance

Participation

# communiqué compliments

Spread

# days

# statements

# words

# references to core values

# commitments

Compliance

# assessed

# ministerials created

# official-level groups created

# members

# countries

# international organizations

1975

A−

2

29%

3

1

1,129

5

14

+0.08

2

0

1

6

0

0

1976

D

0

0%

2

1

1,624

0

7

 

0

0

7

0

0

1977

B−

1

13%

2

6

2,669

0

29

 

0

1

8

0

0

1978

A

1

13%

2

2

2,999

0

35

+0.14

3

0

0

8

0

0

1979

B+

0

0%

2

2

2,102

0

34

 

1

2

8

0

0

1980

C+

0

0%

2

5

3,996

3

55

 

0

1

8

0

0

1981

C

1

13%

2

3

3,165

0

40

0

2

1

0

8

0

0

1982

C

0

0%

3

2

1,796

0

23

−0.71

1

0

3

9

0

0

1983

B

0

0%

3

2

2,156

7

38

−0.56

2

0

0

8

0

0

1984

C−

1

13%

3

5

3,261

0

31

−0.47

2

1

0

8

0

0

1985

E

4

50%

3

2

3,127

1

24

+0.27

2

0

2

8

0

0

1986

B+

3

25%

3

4

3,582

1

39

−0.43

1

1

1

9

0

0

1987

D

2

13%

3

7

5,064

0

53

+0.29

1

0

2

9

0

0

1988

C−

3

25%

3

3

4,872

0

27

 

0

0

8

0

0

1989

B+

3

38%

3

11

7,125

1

61

−0.07

4

0

1

8

0

0

1990

D

3

38%

3

3

7,601

10

78

−0.11

4

0

3

8

0

0

1991

B−

1

13%

3

3

8,099

8

53

+0.38

2

0

0

9

1

0

1992

D

1

13%

3

4

7,528

5

41

+0.71

3

1

1

8

0

0

1993

C+

0

0%

3

2

3,398

2

29

+0.57

2

0

2

8

1

0

1994

C

1

13%

3

2

4,123

5

53

+0.71

2

1

0

8

1

0

1995

B+

3

25%

3

3

7,250

0

78

+0.29

1

2

2

8

1

0

1996

B

1

13%

3

5

15,289

6

128

+0.42

23

0

3

8

1

4

1997

C−

16

88%

3

4

12,994

6

145

+0.26

11

1

3

9

1

0

1998

B+

0

0%

3

4

6,092

5

73

+0.42

13

0

0

9

0

0

1999

B+

4

22%

3

4

10,019

4

46

+0.45

10

1

5

9

0

0

2000

B

1

11%

3

5

13,596

6

105

+0.74

29

0

4

9

4

3

2001

B

1

11%

3

7

6,214

3

58

+0.47

20

1

2

9

0

0

2002

B+

0

0%

2

18

11,959

10

187

+0.36

24

1

8

10

0

0

2003

C

0

0%

3

14

16,889

17

206

+0.61

20

0

5

10

12

5

2004

C+

0

0%

3

16

38,517

11

245

+0.53

33

0

15

10

12

0

2005

A−

8

67%

3

16

22,286

29

212

+0.65

28

0

5

9

11

6

2006

B+

6

44%

3

15

30,695

256

317

+0.40

28

0

4

10

5

9

2007

B+

12

100%

3

8

25,857

86

329

+0.54

31

0

4

9

9

9

2008

B+

8

78%

3

6

16,842

33

296

+0.46

29

1

4

9

15

6

2009

B

13

67%

3

10

31,167

62

254

+0.54

26

2

9

10

28

10

2010

C

10

89%

2

2

7,161

32

44

+0.53

20

0

1

10

9

0

2011

B+

14

67%

2

5

19,071

172

196

+0.55

18

1

0

10

7

4

2012

B+

7

67%

2

2

3,640

42

81

+0.55

22

0

1

10

4

1

2013

B+

13

60%

2

4

13,494

71

214

+0.58

25

0

0

10

6

1

2014

B

6

44%

2

1

5,106

42

141

+0.68

21

1

0

9

0

0

2015

B+

2

25%

2

2

12,674

20

376

+0.63

31

1

4

9

6

6

2016

B−

22

63%

2

7

23,052

95

342

+0.45

23

 1

1

9

7

5

2017

B

2

25%

2

4

8,614

158

180

+0.57

21

1

2

9

5

6

2018

B+

0

0%

2

8

11,224

56

315

+0.64

30

1

 

9

12

4

2019

B−

6

57%

3

10

7,202

 

71

+0.52

22

1

0

9

8

8

2020

n/a

0

0

 

1

795

0

25

n/a

n/a

0

0

9

8

4

2021[a]

 

 

 

 

6

20,677

200

359

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

187

119

250

456,320

1,270

5,403

545

21

101

393

166

87

Average

 

4.2

0.3

2.6

5.6

10,140.4

28.9

120.1

0.35

14.7

0.5

2.4

8.7

3.7

1.9

Cycle 1
(1975–1981)

B−

0.7

0.1

2.1

2.9

2,526.3

1.1

30.6

0.07

2.5

0.3

0.7

7.6

0.0

0.0

Cycle 2
(1982–1988)

C−

1.9

0.2

3.0

3.6

3,408.3

1.3

33.6

−0.27

1.5

0.3

1.1

8.4

0.0

0.0

Cycle 3
(1989–1995)

C+

1.7

0.2

3.0

4.0

6,446.3

4.4

56.1

0.43

2.6

0.6

1.3

8.1

0.6

0.0

Cycle 4
(1996–2002)

B

3.3

0.2

2.9

6.7

10,880.4

5.7

106.0

0.45

18.6

0.6

3.6

9.0

0.9

1.0

Cycle 5
(2003–2010)

B−

7.1

0.6

2.9

10.9

23,676.8

65.8

237.9

0.53

26.9

0.4

5.9

9.6

12.6

5.6

Cycle 6
(2011–2019)

 

8.6

0.5

2.1

4.8

11,564.1

82.0

212.9

0.58

24.0

0.8

1.2

9.3

6.1

3.9

Notes:
Last updated by Brittaney Warren, February 11, 2021.

[a] Refers only to the 2021 Cornwall Summit on June 11–13, 2021, and does not include the Virtual Summit on February 19, 2021.
N/A = not available.

Grade: Kirton scale is A+ extremely strong, striking, standout, historic; A− strong; B+ significant; B substantial; B− solid; C small; D very small; F failure (including made things worse).

Domestic political management: # communiqué compliments = the number of favourable references to G7/8 members by name. Spread = number of G7/8 members complimented.

Deliberation: # days = the duration of the summit; # statements = number of official statements issued in the leaders' name; # words = number of words contained in the official statements.

Direction setting: number of affirmations of G7/8 core values of open democracy, individual liberty and human rights contained in official documents.

Decision making: # commitments contained in the official documents.

Delivery: Compliance with selected commitments assessed as follows: 1975–1989 assessed by George von Furstenberg and Joseph Daniels; 1990–1995 assessed by Ella Kokotsis; 1996–2020 assessed by the G7 Research Group. # commitments: number of commitments assessed.

Development of global governance: # ministerials created = number of institutions created at the ministerial level; # official-level groups created = number of institutions created at the officials level. Institutions are created at or by the summit, or during the hosting year, at least in the form of having one meeting take place.

Participation: # members = number of leaders of full members, including those representing the European Community from the start; Russia started participating in 1991 and became a full member in 1998; the G4 met in 1974 without Japan and Italy and later that year the G6 (without Canada) met. # participating countries = number of full members plus number of leaders from other countries. # participating international organizations = number of heads of international organizations.

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Appendix B: G7 Cornwall Conclusions

Subject

Number of words

Health

4,909

Gender

4,789

Climate change

3,843

Trade

2,895

Biodiversity

2,808

Macroeconomics

1,217

China

566

Non-proliferation

314

Note: Compiled by Duja Muhanna, Maria Marchyshyn and Julia Kulik.

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Appendix C: G7 Cornwall Direction Setting: Democracy and Human Rights

2021

Democracy

Human Rights

Communiqué

82

33

Summary

6

2

Carbis Bay Health Declaration

7

n/a

Nature Compact

1

1

Open Societies Statement

30

19

Research Compact

19

n/a

Total

145

55

Notes: Identified by Sonja Dobson.

"Democracy" includes references to democracy, freedom, free and fair elections, religious freedom, openness, transparency, open government, and open society.

"Human Rights/Individual Liberty" includes references to "rights" and "law". Rights includes human rights, sexual and reproductive rights, rights for all, women's rights, and fundamental rights. "Law" includes a free and fair trial, rule of law, international law and humanitarian law.

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Appendix D: G7 Carbis Bay Communiqué Commitments

Subject

Number of commitments

Health

49

Climate change

44

Digital economy

23

Environment

18

Trade

17

Regional security

16

Macroeconomics

16

International cooperation

15

Development

14

Gender

13

Energy[a]

13

Democracy

12

Human rights

12

Infrastructure

8

International taxation

3

Non-proliferation

2

Crime and corruption

2

Terrorism

2

Total

279

Notes:

Compiled by Brittaney Warren.

[a] most energy commitments have the welfare target to meet climate goals, i.e., ending fossil fuel subsidies.

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