11 June 2021

At today’s press briefing at the G7, Civil Society 7 (C7), made up of NGOs and civil society groups from around the world, warned that G7 leaders risk falling short on eradicating Covid-19, tacking climate change and environmental degradation, and achieving open societies unless ambitions are urgently raised.

Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond the UK network for organisations working in international development, and C7 lead, said: 

“The story of success of this Summit will be defined by how far along the journey towards tackling Covid-19, climate change and threats to biodiversity this year’s G7 takes us. That starts with vaccines. Today’s announcement was a good start, but it is still too little, too slow. It is going to take 10 billion vaccines, as well as strengthened healthcare systems to deliver these vaccines. We need progress on doses, vaccine patents lifted and for the G7 to share the bill. 

The G7 also needs to provide a strong foundation for COP26 which means concrete commitments, with money and action plans – not just warm words. Progress on vaccines will help build trust that the G7 can deliver on its promises, and that will be essential to COP26, but we need further commitments on climate finance. The Summit will fail if it doesn’t deliver on those two things. 

We expect the G7 to come out strongly in support of open societies as a core tenet of being democratic nations – part of this needs to include working in partnership with civil society and protecting human rights defenders. But civic space needs protecting globally, and we need the G7 to publicly hold countries that restrict freedoms to account. Finally, we want to see a collective commitment to addressing racial injustice as part of building a genuinely open society. 

Undoubtedly, the UK’s position as the only G7 country to have rowed back on its aid commitment will undermine what it hopes to achieve.”

Catherine Pettengell, Interim Director Climate Action Network UK (CAN-UK) said:

“All G7 countries think they are doing enough on climate finance, but with the $100bn target off track, it just doesn’t add up. The G7 needs to take a collective responsibility for how to make climate finance promises real - especially for adaptation which remains woefully underfunded globally. That means increasing climate finance commitments right here and right now. For the UK, that also means reversing the devastating aid cuts, and committing to establishing new sources of finance for low carbon development, adaptation, and especially the loss and damage being experienced from climate change impacts happening right now. 

The spirit of climate finance is that it is additional support that developing countries receive to tackle the climate crisis not of their making - but new money has not been provided - and UK climate finance is now coming from a shrinking aid budget. Promises of support are nothing without finance attached, and the G7 collectively is failing in its responsibilities to climate vulnerable countries under the Paris Agreement. 

Another area where G7 action is needed is aligning recovery spending with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This week, Tearfund’s Cleaning Up Their Act report showed that last year and into the first quarter of this year, G7 countries spent $189bn to support coal, oil, and gas - almost double the amount promised to climate vulnerable countries to tackle the problem.

This G7 we are expecting commitments to nature from leaders - which also needs to be a springboard to COP26 and the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15. We need a strong package of commitments that protects nature - at least 30% of land and seas by 2030 - not just delivering of headline targets, but a comprehensive package for people, climate, and nature, that includes not only protection, but also tackling the pressures and drivers of biodiversity loss, financing nature, and urgently halting deforestation.”

Thoko Elphick-Pooley, Executive Director at Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases said:

“The fact that G7 leaders are talking about these vaccines being available to people around the world by next summer scares me. G7 will fail unless they urgently move vaccines from the manufacture into people’s arm. This means dropping the intellectual property on Covid-19 vaccines (IP) and investing in manufacturers, and countries that have bought a surplus of vaccine doses sharing them. It is also important to remember that other diseases have not disappeared, countries need to honour and remember the commitments they have made to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).”
  

ENDS

  1.  The Civil Society 7 is a group of organisations, including Action for Global Health, UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Plan International UK, Concern Worldwide, Crisis Action,  Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases, CAN UK, Jubilee Debt Campaign, and the Trade Justice Movement, responsible for engaging with the G7 on urgent civil society issues. The Civil Society 7 has consulted and engaged with representatives of over 200 civil society organisations from around the world.
  2.  The C7 media briefing took place on the 11th June 2021 at the G7 International Media Centre, located in the National Maritime Museum (NMMC) in Falmouth, Cornwall.
  3.  On the 6th June 2021 over 1,700 academics, charities and business leaders said: The UK's words risk ringing hollow at G7 unless aid cuts are reversed. 
  4.  The 2021 C7 communiqué can be found in full here.  
  5.  Tearfund’s ‘Cleaning Up Their Act’ report can be found here.
  6.  Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development, has been appointed as lead of the Civil Society 7 engagement group, with responsibility to coordinate dialogue between government and civil society. 
  7.  Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice. 
  8.  For further information or interviews please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]