G7 Research Group G7 Information Centre
Summits |  Meetings |  Publications |  Research |  Search |  Home |  About the G7 Research Group
University of Toronto

Working Together or Working Apart? G7 Infrastructure Governance

Julia Tops, senior researcher, G7 and G20 Research Groups London
May 18, 2023

Amid all the many crises that the G7 Hiroshima Summit confronts, where does improving the world's infrastructure fit? Infrastructure has an extended history in the G7 summit, with its first mention at the 1980 G7 Venice Summit. Since 2021, there has been an increasing presence of infrastructure in G7 summit documents, with compliance scores for G7 infrastructure commitments above 94%.

Many may think that the G7 leaders will be so preoccupied with the priority issues of Ukraine, including nuclear war and proliferation, food and energy security, and climate change that infrastructure can safely be left to the G20 summit in September in New Delhi, India. Nevertheless, improving infrastructure is an interconnected topic that is vital to confronting all these challenges. Thus, it is in the global community's best interest to tackle infrastructure through both the G7 and G20, by working together rather than confronting it apart.

Infrastructure is already embedded in this year's discussions at the ministerial levels prior to the Hiroshima Summit. All nine 2023 pre-summit ministerial meetings, all have included infrastructure, with specific reference to key areas such as financing. The G7 Research Group found that ministerial meetings are catalysts for compliance amongst member countries for commitments made at the G7 Summit. Accordingly, with this much leg work already underway to thread infrastructure into addressing priority issue areas, it would be a missed opportunity to neglect the foundational need for sustainable, resilient, quality, and inclusive infrastructure at Hiroshima.

Most years, G7 summits precede the G20 summits, offering an opportunity for the G7 to set a platform for collaboration on infrastructure in that year. There are numerous overarching themes that continue between both G7 and G20 summits, including quality infrastructure, infrastructure financing including the private sector and collaborative partnerships. Furthermore, with the G7 Partnerships for Global Infrastructure launched in 2022 and Investment (GPII) and the G20's Global Infrastructure Hub established in 2014, the G7 and G20 both have long-term initiatives that allow for dedicated consistent action on infrastructure.

For the past two years, with infrastructure more notably present in the G7, there has tended to be a division of labour between the G7 and G20. The G7 has made almost twice as many commitments on infrastructure as the G20, initially taking the lead. The G7 and the G20 differ in their focus on infrastructure, however. The G7 has recently emphasized mobilizing money, clean energy, Africa-specific initiatives and critical concerns in Ukraine, whereas the G20 focuses on infrastructure as an asset class and infrastructure maintenance. It is thus most important that the G7 continues with its infrastructure agenda. In 2022 G7 through the GPII pledged $600 billion for the next five years to close the global infrastructure gap, with an emphasis on health and environmental infrastructure. This is a key goal is imperative to be considered annually, and climate, energy and environment ministers meeting in Sapporo on April 15–16, 2023, made five commitments on infrastructure. Specifically, they discussed addressing critical energy and environment infrastructure in Ukraine, climate resilience, aviation and private sector involvement.

Thus, G7 leaders must include infrastructure in their discussions at the Hiroshima Summit, because it is important to each of this year's priority themes. Moreover, it not only provides a platform for the G20 to continue its work, but also addresses key aspects of infrastructure that are otherwise not mentioned. G7 members have set strong intentions, with numerous references to infrastructure at each of the ministerial meetings held under Japan's 2023 presidency. This should translate into key progressions on infrastructure in the Hiroshima Summit's outcome documents.

[back to top]

Julia Tops is a senior researcher with the G7 and G20 Research Groups London. She has served as co-chair of summit studies for the G7 Research Group as well as a lead analyst and compliance director of the G7 Research Group. She holds a master of science in development studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interest focuses on development, specifically related toinfrastructure and infrastructure financing.

[back to top]

G7 Information Centre

Top of Page
This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Libraries and the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto.
Please send comments to: g7@utoronto.ca
This page was last updated May 18, 2023.

All contents copyright © 2023. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.