Civil 7 Summit: Reknitting the threads of dialogue to stop the winds of war


During Civil7, a civil society summit hosted in Rome by the FAO on 14 and 15 May, 700 civil society organisations from 70 countries put their proposals on the table, in view of the G7 Italian presidency

‘Just justice’: global civil society condensed its message to the G7 governments into two words. A slogan simple to understand, more difficult to implement. Justice that is well suited to be declined according to the priorities developed in Civil7’s communiqué 2024: economy, environment, health, humanitarian aid, peace and disarmament, migration, food security. The official document of more than 30 pages was delivered into the hands of Ambassador Elisabetta Belloni, the Meloni government’s sherpa for the G7, during the plenary that opened the work of Civil7, the civil society summit hosted by the FAO in Rome on 14 and 15 May. While the winds of war are blowing menacingly on the global scene and the great international institutions are suffering from a progressive loss of credibility, the non-governmental world is attempting to reknit from below the threads of a dialogue capable of silencing the din of weapons and forging a model of development that can reconcile economic growth and rights. In times of polycrisis, there is no longer any room to continue proceeding as we have done so far. The most vulnerable people are the most affected. Civil7 asks the G7 for more ambition, responsibility and concrete actions for a real paradigm shift to promote development and sustainable peace,’ said Valeria Emmi sherpa of Civil7 and senior specialist for networking and advocacy at Cesvi in her speech in the opening plenary moderated by Riccardo Moro, secretary general of Lvia and Chair Civil7. Lvia and Cesvi are both members of the Link 2007 network.


The event brought together more than 700 organisations from 70 countries to discuss the most pressing global issues, to recall possible solutions and, above all, to continue to weave a constructive dialogue with the Italian government, the G7’s rotating chairman. The broad participation is not only the result of long and patient work to create the widest possible network – which far transcends the G7’s borders – but also allows concrete proposals to be put on the table for each of the topics on the agenda at the next summit, scheduled to take place from 13 to 15 June in Puglia. An arsenal of ideas and actions, matured through experience in the field, that cannot be ignored by governments and to which Link2007 has provided a constant and articulate contribution in recent years. The message sent for the occasion by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Antonio Tajani, as well as the speech by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, are a first sign of attention to the policy advocacy elements of Link2007.


Among the many dossiers our network has followed closely is food security. In 2022 Link 2007 set up a working group on food systems and edited a report on local food policies. In the opening plenary, Italo Rizzi, coordinator of the Civil7 working group on food justice and director of Lvia, emphasised how the food crisis is now afflicting the G7 countries themselves and has exposed the fragilities of the system ‘along the value chains, with farmers protesting because neither the right prices nor their role are fully recognised’. For these reasons, it must be reaffirmed that ‘food is not just an economic good and that deeper action rooted in human rights is needed for food systems to be just’. Their transformation, Rizzi concluded, is achievable through ‘policies aimed at transformation and inclusion, protection of land rights and financial assistance’. The balance sheet is not rosy: according to five UN specialised agencies, as many as 735 million people worldwide were still suffering from hunger in 2022, more than 122 million more than in 2019.


In the area of development cooperation, the Italian government will be able to carve out a significant role for itself if it is able to give concrete form to the Mattei Plan for Africa, the real novelty for our country this year. In this perspective, it will be necessary to involve the rest of Europe, the main international financial institutions, but also the diasporas, an added value that cannot be renounced for the success of a programme with such ambitions. Link 2007 presented concrete proposals for the summary note of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Part of these proposals and decisive for the relaunch of international cooperation is also the debt restructuring of the poorest and most indebted countries, proposed by our network in the document ‘Release G7/G20’, presented by Link2007 on 15 May in Rome in the presence of numerous African ambassadors and with a message from Deputy Foreign Minister Edmondo Cirielli. Such a measure would also be in perfect agreement with the vision of the Mattei Plan itself and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The armed conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, but not only there, are laying bare the inability of the international community to ensure universal respect for human rights and protect civilians. ‘It is astonishing, 75 years after the signing of the Geneva Conventions, to continue to see millions of civilians forced from their homes, deprived of access to health care, water, sanitation and shelter, as well as the use of hunger as a weapon of war,’ denounced Miro Modrusan, Civil7 coordinator of the Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and policy advisor at Intersos. “How can we live with the silent complicity of the international community in front of the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Gaza and Ukraine? We appeal to the G7‘s moral obligation to uphold human rights commitments and call for compliance with all UN Security Council resolutions,’ Modrusan continued in front of the Civil7 audience. Certainly, no matter how much clout it still carries, the G7 club can no longer afford to self-assign itself a leading role in world governance. All the more so if it proves incapable of imposing minimum standards of respect for humanitarian law.


In short, the G7 can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. If it ends up taking the first path, the one destined to fuel injustice and inequality, it will certainly not be the result of chance, but of a precise political will to postpone sine die the actions that are indispensable to respond to the many crises underway. The latter are so numerous that the neologism polycrisis has been coined to indicate them, a term that has now made its official entry into the dictionaries of the Italian language. Similarly, too numerous are the proposals discussed by Civil7 to give a full account of them in these few lines. Less than a month before the Italian presidency summit, however, there is still time and space to hope that they will be taken into serious consideration.

Link 2007 is active in the C7 and remains committed to dialogue with the G7 and the Italian presidency in particular.

The article was published in VITA NON PROFIT HERE