In 2018 global governance will be importantly shaped by the summits of the two global institutions centrally responsible for this task. The first is that of the Group of Seven (G7) major economically advanced democracies, to be hosted by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in Charlevoix, Canada, on June 8-9. The second is that of the Group of Twenty (G20) systemically significant countries, to be hosted by Argentinian president Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1. Both will need to be, and are being, well coordinated to successfully meet the acute challenges of today's troubled world.
The two leaders have much in common, making their close cooperation an easy task. They both face the same array of severe global challenges, including the unilateral trade protectionist moves of U.S. president Donald Trump and his withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership on trade and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Both govern countries containing some of the world's longest coastlines and largest, richest agricultural lands on which their economic prosperity and the world's natural environment importantly depend. Both are New World countries whose populations are dominated by the descendants of immigrants from several European countries and maintain an open welcoming attitude to newcomers today.
Moreover, both countries are among the least powerful countries of the respective summit groups they host, giving each leader a powerful legacy and incentive to make them work and to cooperate closely to this end. Both have just been afflicted by a recent economic crisis that has eroded their popularity at home. Trudeau has just had to purchase a pipeline to get Canada's abundant energy from Alberta to the Pacific coast, where it can be sold to Asia the global market price and replace the deadly polluting coal still heavily used there. Macri has a new Argentinian financial crisis that has forced him to go to the domestically disliked International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain a needed loan. But both leaders are young, persuasive, economically responsible, business friendly, internationally oriented and open, well suited to counter and overcome the populist, protectionist, nationalist forces flourishing in some consequential members of their summit clubs. And they converge well, with Canada as a continuous member of the IMF's governing executive board and reliable provider of financial security, and Argentina as a consumer yet again.
It is thus not surprising that the two leaders bonded so well from the start. The strong, smart coordination between their two summits arises in both the process of producing them and in the policy priorities that they have.
In the G7 preparatory process, Canada has worked in close consultation with Argentina to ensure the best combined result. Canada's G20 sherpa, Jonathan Fried, is a senior veteran of several G7 summits, with particular expertise and success in the field of financial assistance that is at a premium in Argentina now. Trudeau, in a rare move, invited Macri as Argentina's president to participate in the G7's Charlevoix Summit, primarily as one of 12 guest leaders to discuss improving the world's oceans on the summit's second day. But Macri will be able and available to contribute on other closely linked issues, including his priorities for his G20 summit and the financial crisis that his country currently confronts.
In policy priorities, the coordination begins with the strong overlap. Trudeau's five G7 priorities are inclusive economic growth; preparing for the jobs of the future in a digital age; gender equality and women's empowerment; climate change, oceans and clean energy; and peace and security. Macri's top three G20 priorities are the future of work, in a direct match to address the anxieties that the voters in all G7 and G20 members have, and infrastructure and food security, which will enhance several Charlevoix priorities. Macri's longer list includes the gender equality and climate change issues that feature on Trudeau's G7 list. On the latter there is a well-calculated, creative division of labour, with the G7 focusing on the oceans, the G20 focusing on the land, and both focusing on the atmosphere for a comprehensive coverage of the ambient environment as an integrated whole.
In all, this Canadian and Argentina's tandem hosting is uniting both ends of the western hemisphere "new world". It will take to new heights the strong G7-G20 coordination seen for several years and, most recently in continental Europe in 2017, at Italy's G7 Taormina Summit in May and Germany's G20 Hamburg Summit in July.
John Kirton is the founder and director of the G7 Research Group, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. He is co-editor most recently of G7 Canada: The 2018 Charlevoix Summit, published by GT Media and the Global Governance Project.