Road to Taormina: working towards the G7 Summit

frecce tricolori
frecce tricolori

A long series of important appointments will precede the Taormina Summit, where the leaders of the world’s seven most industrialized countries – together with the Heads of State and of Government of those countries invited by the Presidency and with representatives from key international organizations – will gather on May 26-27.

As tradition warrants, many informal and technical meetings will be held to define the priorities and work on drafting the Final Communiqué of the Leaders’ Summit. The first of these preliminary meetings was held on January 12, when the Foreign Affairs Sous Sherpas, or FASS (representatives from the G7 Foreign Ministries), gathered to discuss such crosscutting issues as the environment and socioeconomic aspects of development.

The most important of the year’s preparatory meetings are those among the Sherpas, the figures chosen by each G7 leader to prepare the Summit Agenda. These diplomats, named after the expert climbers that guide adventurers to Himalayan peaks, are responsible for the entire process of preparation and oversee negotiations on the Final Communiqué. Other participants in this process are the Political Directors – other high-ranking representatives from each country’s foreign ministry – who focus on issues relevant to foreign and security policy.

For certain issues of particular complexity, “ad hoc” working groups are created. These are composed of experts from the G7 countries, and they focus on such issues as: health, food security, energy and the environment, non-proliferation, peace-keeping operations and cyber-security.

In an effort to involve civil society in G7 decision-making, several Engagement Groups will also meet in the months leading up to the Taormina Summit: Business7, Civil7, ThinkThank7, Labor7, Science7, Women7 and Youth7. These groups, which organize parallel summits during the year, deliver policy recommendations to the leaders and to the relevant institutions regarding the G7 agenda.