What's the G7, what countries are members, what does the group do and how often does it meet?

THE world's most exclusive club is set to meet for what will be Boris Johnson's first major summit as UK prime minister.

Here's the lowdown on the G7, its members, and why it's protested by thousands every year.

What is the G7?

Also known as the Group of Seven, these countries are the seven largest economies of the world.

Together, they represent more than 62 per cent of the global net wealth ($280trillion).

The group was founded in the early 1970s as the seven countries discussed concerns about the collapse of the oil industry.

Since then, 43 summits have been held across the globe as members discuss everything from the environment to the economy.

The group was previously known as the G8 and counted Russia among its members, but Russia has been excluded since annexing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in early 2014.

Which countries are members?

The seven members are:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

How often are summits held?

Summits are held annually, and hosted on a rotation basis by the group's members.

The 2018 summit was hosted by Canada in Quebec from June 8-9.

The 45th G7 summit will be held this year from August 24-26 in Biarritz in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.

What does the group do?

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies, as well as the EU and European Commission.

It offers the leaders of these nations the chance to come together and tackle the most challenging global issues of the time.

In the last 40 years, the G7 claims to have "strengthened security policy, mainstreamed climate change and supported disarmament programmes".

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pledge to cut fossil-fuel emissions to zero by 2050.

What's on this year's agenda?

On the agenda for this year's summit will be the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, the European-backed nuclear deal with Iran currently opposed by President Trump, and the unrest that continues to unfold in Hong Kong.

The meeting will also be Boris Johnson first major appearance on the world stage since he became prime minister in July.

It will be seen as an opportunity to acquaint himself with world leaders ahead of the UK's EU exit and to discuss alternatives to the current exit deal with EU leaders.

Johnson is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with President Trump to discuss the relationship between their two countries.

What criticisms have been made of the G7?

G7 gatherings tend to attract thousands of protesters.

In 2018, protest groups in Quebec focused on global trade, the environment, migration, aboriginal rights and a number of other issues.

A coalition organised "a mass demonstration against the G7, capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, racism and borders".

Many protesters claim the G7 – which has no representative from any African, Russian or Middle Eastern nation – is completely outdated.

Protest groups also use the worldwide platform as a stage to lobby and campaign on issues that are important to them.

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