G7 are key to realising the Sustainable Development Goals

Published on 25 May 2016

Seven countries – Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, UK, USA and the European Union – are participating at the G7 Summit in Japan to discuss international economic and political issues, with sustainable development, women and health high on the agenda.

Over two days (26 – 27 May) the G7 will be focusing discussions on the key international issues, at a time of many global uncertainties and pressing interconnected challenges. The topics on the G7 agenda align with much of the current work by IDS, particularly on achieving economic empowerment for women, global health challenges and the cross-cutting theme of ‘leave no-one behind’.

As the summit gets underway IDS Director, Professor Melissa Leach and researchers Deepta Chopra and Annie Wilkinson explain in these short video clips, what the G7 priorities should be in order to make real progress in these areas.

Sustainable Development

IDS Director, Professor Melissa Leach is calling on the UK and other G7 countries to support an integrated approach to the Sustainable Development Goals, instead of selecting just a few to focus on.

Professor Leach said: “Sustained global leadership and momentum will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, and the G7 have a key role to play. Our research suggests that an approach which builds on synergies between different goals, and embraces the cross-cutting principle of ‘leave no-one behind’ is essential.”


On the issue of gender equality and women’s empowerment, IDS Research Fellow Deepta Chopra argues that achieving sustainable women’s economic empowerment will not be possible without addressing the issue of unpaid care. IDS research with partners in South East Asia and IDS research in Bangladesh on unpaid care work shows that efforts to get women into the labour market without addressing the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work that they carry will be unsuccessful and simply shift unpaid care burdens to other family members including younger girls and older women.

Addressing unpaid care means improving access and provision of essential public services, investing in time and labour saving equipment and infrastructure, provision of decent work for men and women and addressing culture norms about gender and care provision.


Whether tackling Ebola or obesity, health is a universal issue, as explained by Sara Bennett Director of Future Health Systems, which IDS is a partner of. On health, the global health issue of antibiotic resistance is a growing crisis that needs to be addressed by the G7. Annie Wilkinson at IDS calls for the G7 need to go beyond putting money at the issue and truly commit to providing universal healthcare in their efforts in tackling the growing resistance to antibiotics.

While investment in new drugs is essential, it needs to be complemented by global commitment to worldwide access to antibiotic treatment for common infections. The needs of the poorest must be central to tackle antibiotic resistance. Efforts to prevent global resistance to antibiotics are being undermined by the fact that many countries still face limited healthcare provision and high rates of disease, which need to be addressed and prioritised by G7 members.

A G7 commitment itself will only be the first step in tackling the rapidly growing resistance to antibiotics, as the scale of the problem requires an agreement that goes far wider than the seven countries represented in Japan.

Climate Change & Energy

Since the COP 21 Paris Agreement last December, the G7 summit is a crucial time to continue to press countries on following through on their climate change commitments. G7 countries also need to think beyond their own climate change policy but also about how they can influence others. New IDS research just published ‘Rising powers, lowering emissions?’, highlights that the energy needs of the poorest must inform energy policies and examines the roles that the rising powers have on low-carbon energy in Africa.

Key contacts