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G7/G8, an informal forum for debate


G7/G8, an informal forum for debate

Alfano: meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister on the fringes of the G20“Within the framework of our excellent bilateral relations, we give particular importance to the fruitful cooperation of our two Countries within the G7, also to assure continuity to the Italian Presidency and...
Attacks in the Middle East. Alfano, joint response to international terrorism needed​The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, expresses his solidarity with the State of Israel for the violent terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Alfano confirms once again that...
Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni in HiroshimaForeign Minister Paolo Gentiloni in HiroshimaThe Foreign Ministers of the G7 countries have renewed the push for nuclear disarmament and have condemned "in the strongest terms"  North Korea's tests on nuclear weapons...
Minister Gentiloni in JapanMinister Gentiloni in JapanForeign Minister Paolo Gentiloni will be in Tokyo today and tomorrow for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Italy-Japan bilateral relations and...
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The G7 is an informal forum for dialogue bringing together seven highly industrialised countries (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union) that share common values and principles: freedom and democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights. 


The G7 was established in the first half of the 1970s, following the collapse of the Bretton Woods monetary system and the 1973 oil crisis, as an informal forum to coordinate on economic and monetary matters. The first Summit of Heads of State and Government, at the time in G6 format, dates back to 1975; the current format was established in 1976, with the entry of Canada.  


The G7 has an informal nature; as such, it does not have a secretariat (unlike international organisations) nor does it have permanent structures. The events leading to the Summit are coordinated by the rotating Presidency, which has the task of organising and hosting the preparatory meetings as well as the meetings at ministerial level. 


Initially established as a forum for dialogue and coordination on economic and financial matters, the G7 later expanded its Agenda to encompass several other fields of international activity, such as development aid and contribution to global peace and security. It should be noted that G7 countries provide yearly circa 70% of all official development aid worldwide, for an amount of over US$ 100 billion (OECD data, 2015: Over the past years, the G7 countries have increasingly focused their attention on issues such as sustainable energy, the fight against climate change, food security, health, gender equality.  


The positions taken by G7 Heads of State and Government at the Summits provide a crucial contribution to global governance and to the decision-making processes of international organisations. Furthermore, they lead in several cases to the implementation  of sectoral initiatives, often open to the participation of external actors (third countries and civil society), that produce substantial effects at global level. Examples of such initiatives are the Global Fund for Fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Genoa 2001:, the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (Kananaskis 2002), the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative  (L’Aquila 2009).


In 2009, under the Italian Presidency, the Accountability Working Group (AWG) was established in order to assess compliance with G7 commitments and to monitor the progress made. The AWG publishes an annual report, concerning one or several areas of G7 intervention, to ensure transparency and enable control by civil society; a comprehensive accountability report is published every three years (the last one was published in 2016, under the Japanese Presidency: