"Cairo, Egypt - November 23, 2011: A young man near Tahrir Square is running with a container of riot gas that the police just fired at the protestors.
Cairo, Egypt - November 23, 2011: A young man near Tahrir Square is running with a container of riot gas that the police just fired at the protestors.

Global civil society’s call for a bold policy agenda from the G7

The UK is now well into its year of hosting the 2021 G7, an annual meeting of the world’s wealthiest nations including France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the USA and Canada.

The in-person meeting of G7 leaders is still scheduled to take place 11-13 June in Cornwall, preceded by a series of ministerial meetings on areas such as finance, foreign policy, health and climate.

Bringing together global civil society at the C7 Summit

Bond has been leading the Civil Society 7 (C7), which is responsible for engaging with UK government and holding the G7 to account for their commitments. The C7 also shares the key priorities of civil society organisations (CSOs) from across the G7 and beyond.

On the 19-20 April, we organised the annual C7 Summit, hosting 100 organisations from the UK, G7, Africa and Asia. We welcomed government officials to plenary conversations on topics addressing civil society perspectives on “Building Back Better”, open and democratic societies, and civil society’s role in a successful G7.

The summit opened with words from the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab. We also heard from passionate civil society leaders and activists, including Lysa Johns of the Civicus Alliance, Mark Malloch-Brown of the Open Society Foundations, Coumba Toure of Africans Rising, and Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a climate justice advocate from the Philippines, among many more.

As part of the C7 Summit, @malloch_brown, president of @OpenSociety, discusses the current challenges that leaders at #G7UK must address.

Read more about the transformative agenda for the G7: https://t.co/KW8rXVzQLQ pic.twitter.com/MQPZsbSE7m

— Bond (@bondngo) April 19, 2021

Secretary General for @CIVICUSalliance, @lysajohn, talks about what the #G7UK needs to commit to in order to help civil society.

More on the C7 Summit: https://t.co/KW8rXVzQLQ pic.twitter.com/MKavOvZyEI

— Bond (@bondngo) April 19, 2021

As the C7 summit enters day two, @Kuumbati, movement coordinator for @AfricansRising, talks about racism in development and how the power balance must be addressed.

Find out more about the transformative agenda for the G7: https://t.co/KW8rXVRsaq pic.twitter.com/B5yML02cs8

— Bond (@bondngo) April 20, 2021

Climate justice activists @mitzijonelle makes a passionate plea to the #G7UK to protect human rights and environmental defenders from being persecuted, as part of the C7 summit. pic.twitter.com/906g5vAbEz

— Bond (@bondngo) April 20, 2021

In a range of breakout sessions, we heard perspectives from all participants. We shared our initial findings directly with UK government in a live session with Jonathan Black, the UK G7 representative.

Civil society’s recommendations to the G7

These discussions, alongside consultations completed before the summit, helped us develop our C7 communiqué. This document of priorities and recommendations will be shared directly with the G7 and become the core of our advocacy for the rest of this year.

In the communiqué, we make a collective call to action for transformative change on issues most relevant to the G7 agenda. This includes a call to “Build Forward” from the pandemic through a sustainable and inclusive recovery based on a new, green economic model. We also call for further action to protect the planet, such as making climate finance, including a 50% target for climate adaptation as a key priority for 2021.

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We are also calling for the G7 to close the gap in funding for vaccines, implement a “One Health” approach for the prevention and early detection of future pandemics. We also need stronger messages of solidarity in the face of threats to civic space, and long-term, flexible funding for civil society and media organisations.

Acknowledging the input of campaigners from the G7 and lower-income countries, we have also included specific proposals on racial justice, which is of vital importance in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and global calls for locally-led development spending.

What now?

So far this year, the G7 has committed to climate action, prosperity, democracy and open societies.

However, one point that has come out very strongly has been the need for consistency across domestic and international action. The UK and other G7 countries will not be able to set themselves up as models on, for example, climate and democracy, if they are taking contradictory actions elsewhere. We have had this welcome engagement at the C7, while the UK finally announced its plan for rolling back its commitments on aid spending and further restricting the right to protest at home.

Up to the June G7 Leaders’ Summit and throughout 2021, we will be building on this Communiqué. We want to present a strong CSO-led vision for global recovery and ensure key commitments from decision-makers. We look forward to passing these priorities on to our partners working on the G20, COP-26 and 2022 G7 in Germany, to build links beyond this specific UK moment.