G7 public engagement paper – Building a more peaceful and secure world

Guided by shared values and principles, Canada and its G7 partners recognize the importance of working together to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. The G7 strongly supports a rules-based international order, built around the core principles of democracy, human rights, the rule of law, territorial integrity, and an aspiration to free and open trade that benefits all citizens, not just the wealthiest few.

These shared values are more important than ever. The G7 faces a shifting global balance of power, a growing trend towards authoritarianism, and persistent and challenging security crises. The democratic world faces threats to the norms and institutions that support the international order, such as North Korea’s illegal nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, a devastating conflict in Syria that has included the commission of crimes against humanity, and Russian actions, including the illegal annexation of Crimea and support to insurgents in eastern Ukraine. G7 leaders also have a responsibility to respond to severe humanitarian crises around the world. This includes the abuses being committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar and the undermining of democracy and human rights in Venezuela. These very real and persistent threats cannot be ignored.

Our challenges do not begin and end there. Technological change has introduced new pressing issues and exacerbated existing threats. From terrorism and violent extremism, to organized crime, weapons proliferation, and cyber security and cyber crime, we face a range of threats that transcend borders. While globalization has brought with it many benefits, our interconnectedness can exacerbate the spreading of illness across borders, as well as the far-reaching impacts of a changing climate, including increased global fragility and insecurity.

Greater efforts are also required to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, not just because doing so upholds our fundamental values, but also because it leads to a more peaceful and secure world. Women’s meaningful participation in conflict prevention and resolution, at all levels of decision-making, is necessary for sustainable peace. For example, when women are actively involved in the peace process, parties are more likely to reach an agreement – and those agreements also tend to last longer. We must also work together to address sexual violence in conflict zones. This abhorrent tactic of war disproportionately affects women and girls, and it must be stopped.

Canada’s G7 Presidency in 2018 presents an opportunity to respond to these challenges and set the international agenda on peace and security. Our underlying values, and a shared vision of a stronger future for all, inform our approach to global governance. At the 2017 G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy, the G7 Leaders championed continued cooperation on our most pressing international challenges.

“We share the same interest in strengthening a rules-based international order that promotes peace among nations, safeguards sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states and ensures the protection of human rights. Our world needs our genuine commitment to the solution of conflicts that are affecting millions of innocent people and disrupting development and the healthy growth of future generations.”

G7 partners can establish an inclusive and sustainable way forward by combining our unique experiences and perspectives. Canada’s approach to international challenges is shaped by our domestic policy, in particular our determination to build a more inclusive society based on respect for diversity. For example, efforts to promote pluralism at home and abroad will in turn enhance the effectiveness of action against terrorism and violent extremism. As democratic countries working together, Canada and its G7 partners can strengthen cooperation on security threats and help to keep our people safe, while maintaining our way of life and vigorously safeguarding the rights and freedoms of our citizens.

The G7 can play a key role in achieving real progress on a number of security issues, such as: improving our collective cyber security, as described in the 2016 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration; pursuing improvements in non-proliferation, disarmament, and nuclear safety and security, as articulated in the 2017 G7 Statement on Non-proliferation and Disarmament; and fighting against terrorism, violent extremism, and transnational crime. At the Taormina Summit in Italy last year, the G7 leaders agreed on the 2017 G7 Taormina Statement on the Fight against Terrorism and Violent Extremism. This was followed by a meeting of G7 Interior Ministers in October in Ischia, Italy, at which they agreed on a joint communique on the Fight against terrorism and violent extremism: turning commitments into action, which focused on countering terrorist misuse of the Internet.

Canada’s G7 presidency in 2018 will be an opportunity to take further important steps toward creating a more just and peaceful world for all.

Questions

  1. What can the G7 do to strengthen the rules-based international order and uphold respect for international law?
  2. How can the G7 support open societies seeking to advance democracy, human rights, gender equality, the rule of law, and respect for diversity?
  3. On what current and emerging challenges should Canada and the G7 focus their efforts in order to promote a more peaceful world?
  4. How can Canada and the G7 help ensure that women and girls play leading roles in building a more peaceful and prosperous world, including by preventing conflict, countering violent extremism, and building more inclusive societies?
  5. How can Canada and the G7 best respond to existing and emerging security threats, including terrorism, violent extremism, cyber security, and new forms of hybrid warfare?