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People and planet must be at the heart of Covid recovery, say over 200 civil society organisations to G7 leaders

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In a joint communiqué ahead of the G7 summit in June, representatives of over 200 civil society organisations from around the world call on the leaders of the G7 to agree a “bold and ambitious policy agenda that puts people and planet at the centre of the world’s recovery” from Covid-19.

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

“With many countries starting to shape their recoveries from the global pandemic, the need for a truly bold and progressive policy agenda at this year’s G7 is more important than ever. The UK has the opportunity to lead an ambitious presidency – showing meaningful progress that goes beyond nice statements and feeds into progress at COP26 and G20.

As G7 leaders have their final meetings in the run up to G7 summit, the C7 communiqué sets the course for clear, substantive, financed commitments from them. The opportunity to address challenges like vaccine equity and threats to democracy and make the recovery truly green and inclusive should be at the centre of their discussions.”

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, climate justice activist in the Philippines said:

“My country, the Philippines, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of the climate crisis. I grew up being afraid of drowning in my own bedroom. No one should have to feel this climate trauma and anxiety, especially those least responsible for the climate crisis. Global North and G7 leaders need to own up to the historical responsibility that they have. They need to end fossil fuel investments and subsidies immediately, stop the plunder of our environment, mostly by foreign global north countries, and have annual, binding carbon budgets that factor in justice and equity, and concrete plans to get to actual net zero.”

Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Executive Director West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Ghana said:

“COVID-19 exposed the socio-economic inequality in West Africa, as in other parts of the world, and more so in healthcare. As vaccine roll-outs are now underway in a number of countries, it is imperative for governments and relevant institutions to deliberately decentralise the access and administration of vaccines in West African countries and increase the possibility for all West Africa citizens and residents to have equal access to vaccines and an equal chance to fight this pandemic. Vaccine equity remains non-negotiable. Without it, the world will remain trapped in this pandemic and sustainable development will just be a mirage.”

The communiqué calls for G7 leaders to root this year's agenda in the principles of sustainability, inclusivity and a transformative shift in financing, decision-making as well as power to the communities that are directly affected by issues such as climate chance, poverty, health inequality and threats to civic space.

The recommendations from the C7 focus on the following themes: sustainable economic recovery from Covid-19, bold action to protect the planet, a just and equitable approach to sharing vaccinations for COVID-19, tackling threats to democracy, open societies and democratic institutions, and an agenda for racial justice.

Global *sustainable *economic recovery after the pandemic

Finance: Ensure all climate finance commitments in the G7’s 2021 communique prioritise the countries and communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Commit to investing 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in care industries in G7 countries, and support countries around the world to pursue similar investments.

Policy: Support the reinvention of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as a multilateral forum focused on aligning trade rules to other international standards, especially the SDGs and Paris Agreement, and addressing the longstanding concerns of low-and middle-income countries, particularly regarding food and agricultural trade policies.

Programmes: Support universal social protection and proposals for a Global Fund for Social Protection.

Bold action to protect the planet

Finance: Make climate finance, especially achieving a 50% target for climate adaptation, a key priority for 2021. Funding for adaptation should prioritise the most vulnerable countries.

Policy: End all investment from G7 countries for all fossil fuels overseas and publish a roadmap by the first G7 Finance Ministers of 2022 detailing how G7 countries will phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025. Introduce domestic ‘due diligence’ legislation to prevent commodities associated with deforestation from entering business supply chains and prohibit finance institutions in G7 countries from funding deforestation. Encourage and facilitate youth participation and advocacy on the climate crisis and support young people to engage with politicians and officials at every level.

Global Initiatives: All G7 countries should sign the Leaders Pledge for Nature and the High Ambition Coalition for Nature.

A just and equitable approach to sharing vaccinations for COVID-19

Finance: Increase funding for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator set at USD 38.1 billion to help close the funding gap of the USD 19 billion still required for 2021. For COVAX in particular, USD 6.3 billion has been secured but an additional 2 USD billion is needed for this year.

Policy: Commit to sharing surplus vaccinations so that healthcare workers and vulnerable people everywhere can be vaccinated as a matter of priority. Commit to eliminating Covid-19 vaccination inequality by not blocking the TRIPS waiver so that developing countries can produce their own vaccinations. Work with national governments, the World Health Organisation and other multilateral agencies to ensure 60% of the population in every country are offered a vaccine by the end of 2021.

Threats to democracy, open societies and democratic institutions

Policy: Send stronger messages of solidarity in the face of threats to civil society and the civic space. Establish dedicated policy initiatives outlining the G7’s goals for the future of civil society and issue a statement on the G7’s support for civic space and open societies. Model the principles of open societies inside G7 countries and address concerns raised by civil society about laws related to voter suppression and the right to freedom of protest and assembly in G7 countries. Include robust anti-corruption provisions in new trade agreements.

Diplomacy: Use all diplomatic and influencing tools available to protect civil society organisations.

Finance: Stand in solidarity with human rights defenders, environmental activists, civil society activists, whistle-blowers and journalists by ensuring these individuals and their organisations have rapid access to emergency protection funds, and provide long term, flexible funding for civil society and media organisations to enable them to become more effective and resilient in the face of increased restrictions. Increase resources for anti-corruption law enforcement agencies across G7 countries.

An agenda for racial justice

Political Leadership, accountability and restorative justice: G7 leaders should issue a statement expressing their collective commitment to address each nation's historic role perpetuating racial injustice and how the consequences of these historical injustices manifest in inequalities, both within and between countries. Leaders should also respond positively to calls for reparations - as a means of accountability and justice.

Finance: As a starting point to correcting these inequities, double the share of G7 ODA that flows directly to organisations in the global South by 2023 and review ODA procurement rules across G7 countries to ensure companies and organisations from the global South do not face unnecessary barriers in bidding for contracts with G7 development agencies.

Policy: Review and strengthen procurement rules from all G7 development and foreign relations agencies to ensure that companies and organisations in the global South do not face systematic barriers to bidding for development contracts.

The communiqué has been coordinated by Bond, as lead of the Civil Society 7 engagement group, following the C7 Summit which brought together policy professionals, campaigners and activists to hear from civil society leaders and UK government on civil society’s global challenges.

ENDS

Notes to editor

  1. In June 2021, the leaders of the UK, Germany, Japan, USA, Canada, France, Italy will meet in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, for the G7 Leaders’ Summit.
  2. The 2021 C7 communiqué can be found in full here.
  3. 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.
  4. Bond’s G7 media site, where there is additional content for journalists in the run up to the G7 and C7, including Bond G7 media briefings and press releases, main points of contact for the C7 engagement group, access to versions of the C7 logo, an image library, and recent media coverage of the G7, can be found here.
  5. 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.
  6. For further information or interviews please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or mmohsin@bond.org.uk