The G7 and G20 in the global governance landscape

The G7 and G20 in the global governance landscape

The Group of Seven (G7) and the Group of Twenty (G20) are informal governance clubs, which hold annual Summits of Heads of State to discuss issues of global importance. 

The G7 is a more homogenous, intimate group, which has been meeting for decades. It is a subset – a club in the club - of the newer and more diverse G20, which represents the emerging multi-polar world order. (Another smaller club in the G20 club is the BRICS, an alliance of emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.)

The agendas of the two clubs overlap, with the G7 generally engaging in more political and security-related issues than the G20, which primarily focuses on global economic and finance governance.

In 2017, the presidencies of the G7 and G20 Summits are held by Italy and Germany, respectively.

1. Sequence of G7/G8 and G20 Presidencies

The following timeline juxtaposes the past and future G7 and G20 presidencies:

Image Credits

2. Membership

  • The G7 is comprised of industrialized, democratic member countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan, and Germany. The Group, which first met as the G6 in 1975 to address the oil crisis and recession, were united in their opposition to the Soviet Union and the larger Eastern bloc. Canada and Russia joined in 1976 and 1998, respectively. Following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, the G7 nations suspended Russia’s membership.
  • The G20 is comprised of the G7 countries, twelve countries of growing global economic and political importance, plus the European Union (EU).  In 1999, it was launched at the level of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and, then, in 2008, at the Heads of State level.

Whereas the EU, which comprises 28 countries, is a full member of the G20, it is only a participant in the G7.  

After Britain’s decision to exit from the EU, questions about the future of the EU will be significant in the context of the Italian G7 presidency and the German G20 presidency in 2017.

Get more information:

This article is part of our dossier "G20 in Focus".

Related Content

  • Focus on G20: From Germany to Argentina

    After Germany, the G20 presidency has now moved on to Argentina. Find everything you need to know about the G20: Infographics, in-depth analyses and facts about the Group of 20.

  • Group of 20 (G20) – In a Nutshell

    Who are the G20 member countries? What issues do they have? Who leads? Our factsheet gives a first overview.

    By Nancy Alexander, Dr. Heike Löschmann, Waleria Schuele
  • The Rotating G20 Presidency: How do member countries take turns?

    On 1 December 2016, Germany became the host and President of the G20 and began to work within the so-called G20 Troika, which in addition to itself consists of the previous 2016 G20 President (China) and the subsequent 2018 President (Argentina).

    By Nancy Alexander, Dr. Heike Löschmann, Waleria Schuele


Add new comment

Add new comment