Group of 7 Looks for Relevance as It Gathers in Canada


In an obvious reference to Mr. Trump, Ms. Merkel said: “Multilateral action is currently under pressure, indeed in crisis. It is challenged by protectionism and isolationist thinking.”

Is there any point in getting together at all?

The Canadians, who last hosted the Group of 7 summit meeting in 2010, will try to find enough common ground to reach agreement on enough issues to claim success. The themes of the meeting, which Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, announced on Facebook in December, are vague enough to leave some leeway. Who could possibly be against “building a more peaceful and secure world”?

“We must work together to create meaningful solutions to the problems we face as a planet,” Mr. Trudeau said in a statement as part of a pre-meeting report by the G-7 Research Group at the University of Toronto, a network of people who study the gatherings.

Even though the Trump administration has repudiated the Paris climate accord, there could be agreement on issues like curtailing plastics pollution in the oceans, or protecting coastlines from hurricane damage, said John Kirton, director of the research group.

According to Mr. Kirton, there may even be progress on gender issues, despite the Trump administration’s attempts to deny funding for birth control programs. Last year’s summit meeting in Taormina, Sicily, last year, may serve as a guide.

Afterward, the leaders, including Mr. Trump, issued a communiqué in favor of promoting more women to leadership positions in government and business, and promoting entrepreneurship by women. The Taormina communiqué avoided terms like “reproductive rights” that would rile Mr. Trump’s right-wing base.

“One can think of it as the Ivanka Trump agenda,” Mr. Kirton said, referring to the president’s daughter. “There is more to be done,” he said, including promoting better education for girls.


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