“We call on the G7 leaders to take and implement the proposals from the Civil7”

In this interview, Patricia Miranda, member of the Civil7 Steering Committee and coordinator of the C7 Working Group on Economic Justice and Transformation, explains what she expects from this year’s G7 Summit and why a vibrant civil society is so important for democracy.

The G7 Summit will take place from 26 to 28 June in Schloss Elmau. What are your expectations towards the G7 Heads of state and government?

I expect a signal towards a transformative change, a first step in the right direction in the midst of multiple crises. In this sense, I expect concrete results that do not follow the “business as usual” approach. For instance, among some of these right steps are that the G7 adopts measures regarding debt cancellation for the most vulnerable countries; that implements a national legislation at the G7 level that stipulates binding measures for private creditors towards debt restructuring; and that Special Drawing Rights are re-channelled through grants and not through loans, to name some of the crucial needed policies. In sum: There are several tangible proposals from the Civil7 (C7), so we call on the G7 leaders to take and implement them.

Are you concerned that the war in Ukraine has pushed other issues into the background? 

Yes, I am concerned. It seems that for global leaders, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has definitely become a priority of their geopolitical agenda. But it is important to also recognise the responsibilities of the G7 regarding the impact of this conflict for developing countries, such as the inflation and food crisis. Those regions are more affected by limited fiscal space with scarce or no access to liquid assets and concessional finance. More generally speaking, the current global financial architecture, sustained by the G7, is a threat for our countries as it exacerbates poverty and inequalities in times of crises.

At the Civil7 Summit on 4 and 5 May, the official C7 Communiqué was handed over to the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who underlined: „Democracy needs a vibrant civil society. It needs you!”. What does a vibrant civil society need according to you?

It is crucial to apply a two-pronged approach. Firstly, a vibrant civil society needs the possibility to directly address the G7 leaders and to have meetings to express concerns, proposals and urgent demands. Being part of the C7 process provides Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with this opportunity. The second part of this twofold approach is to generate a critical mass of people around the globe by raising awareness of the far-reaching impacts of the current systemic failures and by mobilising civil society groups. We all need to take to the streets and to position civil society’s demands loud and clear.

What is the motivation for your long-standing commitment in both the Civil7 as well as the Civil20?

What motivates me is the possibility to reach out, address and directly questioning to C7 and C20 presidencies to raise civil society concerns and formulate strong asks. The global decisions made – as well as those that are not being made – by the G7 and G20 affect people worldwide. We need to put our demands towards economic, social, gender and climate justice on the table and push for them. After all, the Agenda 2030 will not be accomplished if global leaders don’t start to make the right decisions.

Dear Patricia, you have been part of the Civil7 process this year, both as a member of the international Steering Committee and as a coordinator of the Working Group Economic Justice and Transformation. How did you experience the process so far?

What I personally found particularly important is that it was not merely a northern-led process, but that instead CSOs from different regions have been actively encouraged to participate. Thus, concrete demands and views from developing countries could be included, while simultaneously always following an approach that seeks the benefit of the whole world and planet. VENRO and the German NGO Forum on Environment and Development, the hosts of this year’s C7 process, are solid organisations that I know from my past experience with the C20 – and that is a very valuable factor when contributing to a process that will be a precedent for C7 in the future.

What is your hope for the second half of the German G7 Presidency? What do you expect?

I expect that the G7 Presidency continues the dialogue with civil society actors from Germany and beyond, implements key policies that will contribute to a change in the financial architecture and sets a precedent for the next G7 Presidencies. Because they must take with the urgency needed the path towards sustainability for (human) life and the planet.

Please find more information on the G7 Summit and the dialogue with civil society here.