The Group of Five (G5) encompasses five nations which have joined together for an active role in the rapidly evolving international order. Individually and as a group, the G5 nations work to promote dialogue and understanding between developing and developed countries. The G5 seek to find common solutions to global challenges. In the 21st century, the G5 were understood to be the five largest emerging economies.
The Group of Five is a context-dependent shorthand term for a group of five nations. The composition of the five and what is encompassed by the term is construed differently in different time frames. Initially, the term "Group of Five" or "G5" encompassed the five leading economies of the world, but the use of the term changed over time. Nowadays, the term tends to describe the next tier of nations whose economies had expanded so substantially as to be construed in the same category as the world's eight major industrialized countries.
The concept of a forum for the world's major industrialized democracies emerged following the 1973 oil crisis and subsequent global recession. In 1974 the United States created the informal Library Group, an unofficial gathering of senior financial officials from France, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany. These men were called the "Library Group" because they met informally in the library of the White House in Washington, D.C.
During the 1970s, the term Group of Five came to be identified the top five of the world's the leading economies as ranked by per capita GDP. Without the informal meetings of the G5 finance ministers, there would have been no subsequent meetings of G-5 leaders. In 1975, French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing invited five other heads of government from Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany to a six-party economic summit in Château de Rambouillet. At the time, it was impossible to predict whether this informal gathering would be meaningful or only a public relations event.
In subsequent years, the group of world leaders expanded to reflect changed economic and political developments:
- 1975 — the Group of Six (G6)
- 1976 — the Group of Seven (G7) was created when Canada joined the G6
- 1997 — the Group of Eight (G8) was formed when Russia joined the G7
An innovation at the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005 was an "outreach dialogue." The United Kingdom was host for the annual summit of G8 leaders; and the UK invited the leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa to participate. The invitation caused the five countries to negotiate amongst themselves about presenting common positions.
A number of cohesive elements bind the G5 together in promoting a constructive dialogue between developed and developing countries.
Structure and activities
(a) a shared set of normative and principled beliefs, which provide a value-based rationale for the social action of community members;
(b) shared causal beliefs, which are derived from their analysis of practices leading or contributing to a central set of problems in their domain and which then serve as the basis for elucidating the multiple linkages between possible policy actions and desired outcomes;
(c) shared notions of validity — that is, intersubjective, internally defined criteria for weighing and validating knowledge in the domain of their expertise; and
(d) a common policy enterprise—that is, a set of common practices associated with a set of problems to which their group competence is directed.
By design, the G5 has avoided establishing an administrative structure like those of other international organizations, but a coordinator has been designated to help improve the G5's effectiveness.
- The de jure head of government of China is the Premier, whose current holder is Li Keqiang. The President of China is legally a ceremonial office, but the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (de facto leader) has always held this office since 1993 except for the months of transition, and the current paramount leader is Xi Jinping.
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