Group of Seven

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal group of seven major industrialised democratic countries comprising the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Canada, with the European Union participating in the group fully since 1981 as a ‘non-enumerated’ member. Russia was invited to join in 1997, and the group was known as the G8 until 2014, when Russia was excluded following its annexation of Crimea.

The heads of state or government of the G7 gather for annual summits to discuss important domestic and international economic and political issues. In addition to the summits, the G7 holds regular ministerial meetings for finance, energy or foreign affairs ministers. In preparation for such summits and ministerial meetings, leaders’ and ministers’ personal representatives (‘Sherpas’ and ‘Sous-Sherpas’) meet several times a year. The G7 also organises ad hoc official meetings, and creates task forces and working groups on certain matters such as global health, transnational organised crime or weapons of mass destruction.

Strictly speaking, the G7 is not an international organisation, and therefore INCYDER did not have a specific webpage for it until 2016. However, the documents produced by the group carry significant political weight because they represent the common opinion of states which account for approximately half of all global economic output.

Before 2016, the G7 pursued limited activities in cybersecurity and countering cybercrime. It has a working group on cybercrime (the Roma-Lyon Group’s High-Tech Crime Subgroup), which operates the G7 24/7 Cybercrime Network and in 2014 included over 70 states. Its primary aim is to ‘preserve digital evidence for subsequent transfer through legal channels’.

In 2016, the G7 became more active with respect to cyber security during the Japanese chairmanship in 2016 (see news). The G7 ICT Ministers met in Japan for the first time in some 20 years, adopting several documents focusing on cyber issues. Cyber was a major topic in the 2016 summit declaration, and the G7 also established the Ise-Shima working group on cyber.

The Japanese presidency’s focus on cyber was partly sustained by Italy in 2017, but the emphasis disappeared from the summit declaration in 2018 (the string ‘cyber’ appears in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 declarations 19 times, 4 times, and once, respectively). However, the work continues at the level of working groups, Foreign Ministers, and the now-regular ICT Ministers meetings.