Flags of the G7 nations

Why business-as-usual must end if we want a more just world

Civil 7 (C7), a network of more than 700 civil society organisations from 70 countries, is calling on G7 leaders to show political responsibility and take urgent action to address the world’s most pressing needs.

For the last few months, over 700 civil society organisations (CSO) from more than 70 countries have been working together under the umbrella of the C7 to prepare policy positions and recommendations for the 2024 G7 Summit on 13-15 June under the presidency of Italy.

On 14 May, Just Justice, the final C7 2024 communique, was launched at the C7 Summit in Rome. Bond, having hosted the C7 during the UK’s G7 presidency in 2021, took part in the C7 process both in preparing the communique and participating in the summit, and also put together its own policy brief focusing on the UK as one of the G7 countries.

In Just Justice the C7 is calling for greater justice in these seven key areas:

  • Economic justice and transformation
  • Climate, energy transformation and environmental justice
  • Global health
  • Principled humanitarian assistance
  • Peace, common security and nuclear disarmament
  • Human mobility and migration
  • Food justice and food systems transformation

Given the many crises facing the world, one of the key messages from the C7 Summit was that there is no more room for business as usual if we want to create a more just world. G7 leaders must not only show political will but political responsibility, and take urgent action to address these most pressing needs.

The need for greater funding

Funding is the key issue across all seven areas. Humanitarian needs are at an all-time high, and there is an ever-increasing humanitarian funding gap, while only 35% of appeals for countries facing crisis levels of hunger were met in 2023. The overall finance gap for low- and middle-income countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address the impacts of climate change now stands at US$4 trillion per year. More and better finances are needed, and the G7 countries have a huge responsibility to deliver this.

Low and middle-income countries’ soaring debts were highlighted in every single C7 Summit session, and with it a call for debt relief. Debt repayments are at their highest level for 25 years. Vasco Molini of the World Bank pointed out that it is the G7’s responsibility to focus on debt, given that a large share of debt is owed to G7 countries.

Similarly, taxation came through heavily in its importance to achieve greater justice and create more finances. The C7 calls on the G7 leaders not only to assess the broader impact of their own tax systems but to work together on new taxes, including a global minimum tax for billionaires, tax for the digital economy, and taxes on fossil fuel trade.

Given the impact of climate change, especially on low and middle-income countries, the C7 also calls for new and additional grant-based climate finance, particularly for adaptation and loss and damage. The current goal is to mobilise at least US$100 billion annually until 2025, and G7 leaders must provide greater clarity on their commitments to meet this while also making up for previous years’ shortfalls. Looking beyond 2025, G7 leaders must support an ambitious New Collective Quantified Goal at COP29.

The C7 also calls on G7 leaders to expand the balance sheet of the World Bank and the IMF, including an immediate delivery of a new Special Drawing Rights allocation, as well as making ambitious commitments for upcoming replenishments, such as for the IDA21, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Gavi.

The need for reforms

This isn’t just about money. There is a need for transformative reform so global rules are fit for 21st Century realities and serve both people and the planet. As Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, asked at the summit: “How can a system designed by and for our grandparents deliver for the grandchildren in the future?”

While debt relief is immediately and urgently needed, we also need new and better debt mechanisms under the UN which are able to prevent future debt crises. As part of this, G7 leaders need to support and engage with the 4th International Conference on the Financing For Development (FfD4) 4 process.

Reforms of multilateral development banks (MDBs), especially governance, are also crucial in this regard. MDBs need to increase their capital lending to provide more concessional lending, minimise the risks for borrower countries and increase the development effectiveness of their initiatives.

Additionally, the creation and implementation of a United Nations Tax convention would be an important step in creating a fairer and more inclusive global tax system, while reforms of global trade rules and the World Trade Organization are also urgently needed.

The G7 countries are among the largest shareholders of the major international and multilateral finance institutions. This means they bear responsibility to lead on the necessary reforms so these institutions work for all before it’s too late.

The need for greater coherence

To address all these challenges, the C7 is calling for greater coherence between national and international policymakers and among sectors. We have been walking the talk by building closer collaboration and coordination between C20 and C7 processes.

Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Director of the OECD Development Centre, talked about the “transboundary effects” of policies, and the importance for all those in the governments of G7 countries to think about the effects of their policies on low- and middle-income countries.

Sustainable food systems are a good example of how issues are connected. In this regard, G7 countries must ensure their policies around finance, climate, trade, agriculture, health, security and migration are aligned and coherent because access to food, food affordability and quality and the nutritional value of food are all affected by these different areas.

If G7 leaders are serious about wanting to address conflict, climate change, migration, poverty and hunger, they need to look at the drivers and take a holistic approach, one that ensures policy coherence.

The importance of civil society

It comes as no surprise that the C7 Summit celebrated civil society’s achievements in creating a more just and equitable world, while also highlighting the responsibilities we carry.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General of the FAO praised civil society for its important role in rallying for the 0.7% ODA commitment and for the key role CSOs played in securing ‘leave no one behind’ as one of the core principles of the SDGs. He also highlighted the importance of civil society in the fight for just and equal rights, and our role in amplifying the voice of all those who are marginalised.

And herein lies the responsibility of and challenge for civil society, particularly within the C7: to put the communities of the countries we work in at the centre and ensure their voices are heard in these processes.


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