G7 development ministers’ meeting focuses on empowering women and girls

News release

June 2, 2018 - Whistler, British Columbia – Global Affairs Canada

Advancing gender equality is the most effective approach to eradicating extreme poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. Recent estimates indicate that countries are losing $160 trillion in wealth because of differences in lifetime earnings between women and men. Canada and its G7 partners have a shared commitment to strengthening the empowerment of women and girls in development policy and international assistance.

Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, concluded the meeting with her G7 counterparts under the broader G7 leaders’ theme of Investing in Growth that Works for Everyone. The meeting, which took place from May 31 to June 2, 2018, in Whistler, British Columbia, marked a valuable and timely opportunity to advance solutions to pressing global development challenges and to make progress on shared priorities, including addressing gender equality in humanitarian action, supporting adolescent girls as key change agents for equality and future prosperity, and accelerating innovation to maximize the impact of development assistance.

Canada brought young women leaders to the G7 table to ensure those directly affected by the issues being discussed could offer their insights and be an integral part of finding innovative solutions for real change and positive outcomes.

The outcomes of this meeting will lay the groundwork for the discussions G7 leaders will have in Charlevoix, including those on girls’ and women’s education and on innovative financing for development. Members of the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency were invited to join in a portion of the ministers’ discussions.

Minister Bibeau and her G7 counterparts adopted four declarations in Whistler and agreed on a number of concrete actions to drive positive change in the international assistance landscape, including:

  • making gender equality central to development cooperation;
  • unlocking the power of adolescent girls for sustainable development by adopting integrated approaches to address the multiple barriers to their full empowerment and rights as human beings;
  • addressing gender equality in humanitarian action that takes into account distinct needs and capacities;
  • strengthening protection from sexual exploitation and abuse in international assistance; and
  • accelerating innovation for development impact by encouraging new ways of working, investing in locally driven solutions, using evidence to drive decision making, taking intelligent risks, and by promoting inclusivity and engaging women and girls as both recipients and resources of innovation.


“Canada is fully committed to working with our G7 partners to help ensure gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the heart of international assistance. Six young women leaders who joined the meeting reminded us of the importance of consulting local communities and involving women and girls in decision making. Their participation, their ideas and their passion put a human face to the meeting and made the issues real for our G7 guests.”

- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Quick facts

  • These were the first G7 development ministers meetings since 2010 and the first since world leaders endorsed a range of landmark global development and humanitarian action plans such as Agenda 2030, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Agenda for Humanity and the Grand Bargain. 

  • The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies, comprising Canada, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy, as well as the European Union.

  • Co-chaired by Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Isabelle Hudon, Ambassador of Canada to France, the Gender Equality Advisory Council is advising Canada in the context of its G7 presidency on how to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment across all themes, activities and initiatives. 

Associated links


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Global Affairs Canada
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Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

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