CSO letter to the South African President C. Ramaphosa on the eve of the 47th G7 summit

HE President Cyril Ramaphosa
President of the Republic of South Africa

23 June 2022

H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa,

As you prepare to meet with the Leaders of the G7 at Schloss Elmau this weekend, we, the undersigned group of African and international civil society members ask you to set out the critical areas where the G7 must act with urgency to address the mounting global crises as there is a risk that they miss a crucial opportunity to reflect on the impact of the war in Ukraine on the countries and peoples of Africa and the wider global community.

Food and nutrition: Just 1 year ago the G7 committed to a famine prevention plan to halt the advance of a Covid-19 triggered spike in hunger. Now, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, the world faces a devastating food supply and hunger crisis that has left a record high level of over 40 million people facing emergency in places where there is drought or conflict, or worse food and nutrition insecurity because of supply-chain failure. The G7 must plug the gap, by urgently injecting increased funding to prevent malnutrition and save lives in import-dependent and conflict-affected countries; ensure that places like the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Ukraine aren’t fighting for critical humanitarian funding; and put a plan on the table to get supplies of adequate food and nutrition to where millions now need support.

Climate transition: This G7 is also a crucial summit for a just climate transition away from fossil fuels, where global solidarity can become the underlying norm of how humanity deals with the consequences of the climate emergency which includes the vulnerable communities on the climate frontlines. South Africa and its partners, including Germany, are often being praised for the first of hopefully many Just Energy Transition Partnerships towards a fossil-free global economy. But around the world the G7’s credibility is judged on the clarity with which they stick to the path of
fossil-free development or whether they keep backdoors open for more gas and oil. A clear coal exit by 2030 (as the UN SG suggested just last week) by the G7 would provide that credibility. As the historically largest emitters, the G7 countries are responsible for helping those communities deal with climate-induced loss and damage. In Elmau, the G7 leaders need to commit significant additional funding for addressing climate impacts, including through the Global Shield against Climate Risks proposed by the German G7 presidency.

Global health: Delivering for African countries is a fundamental issue of trust for the G7. At last year’s summit, we asked for solidarity in our battle against COVID-19. G7 leaders, who had been hoarding COVID-19 vaccines for their own populations, refused our request for a broad waiver of intellectual property rules at the World Trade Organization that would help our pharmaceutical sectors manufacture vaccines and treatments. Instead, they pledged to donate doses. But one year on, only half of those donations have materialized. Often, they have arrived late, all at once, and close to their expiry date. And the hoarding of the next generation of vaccines and treatments has already begun. G7 countries have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to act in the interests of public health for everyone, everywhere. We need more than warm words from G7 leaders this year. We need concrete action and binding pledges.

Economic support: Facing these myriad crises, more than ever we need a fairer playing field. With global growth prospects almost halved since last year according to both the World Bank and the IMF, countries like South Africa, facing surging food and fuel prices are experiencing huge additional fiscal pressure, deepening the divide between rich countries and the rest of the world. The time for more nice but empty words has long passed, and the G7 needs to act with urgency to deliver the economic and fiscal support that has been promised including making good on their promise to recycle at least $100bn in Special Drawing Rights to support additional financing and, secondly, tackle the debt crisis, including allowing for emergency relief and liquidity.

The G7 has responded quickly to support Ukraine in its time of need. Failure to deliver this for others facing similar challenges elsewhere will send a signal that double standards and self-interest rule  the club of the rich, at a critical time when there is a need to build bridges across international divides. If G7 leaders at Elmau show solidarity, and put their money where their mouth is, this could pave the way to better long-term global cooperation on issues of international security and humanitarian concern, making it easier to intercept future crises before they reach boiling point. It would also send a clear and refreshing signal that the G7 is not myopic, nor dealing in double standards.

We suggest that South Africa co-hosts, with Germany, a second Leaders summit in the latter half of 2022 to discuss how better cooperation between advanced and emerging economies could protect already vulnerable populations – from the streets of Mariupol to Lesotho – from future shocks and we could start to see a transition to a fairer, greener economy for all.

Yours sincerely,

African organisations:
1. African Alliance
2. Amnesty International South Africa
4. Association pour le Développement Économique Social Culturel Quartier Las Palmas/Sebkha/Nktt
5. Atrocities Watch Africa
7. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
9. Connected Development
10. Denis Hurley Peace Institute
13. Follow The Money
14. Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium
15. ONE Africa
16. Princess of Africa Foundation
17. Protection international Africa
18. Remembering The Ones We Lost
19. Save the Children South Africa
20. South African Institute of International Affairs
21. The African Agenda Forum
22. The Steff Musho Show
24. Women Political Alliance (Kenya)
International organisations:
25. Avaaz
26. Amal Alliance
27. Association pour le Développement Économique Social Culturel Quartier Las Palmas/Sebkha/Nktt
28. CARE
29. Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada
30. Education for All Coalition
31. Global Campaign for Education
32. Global Citizen
33. International Rescue Committee
34. Korean Advocates for Global Health (KAGH)
35. Oxfam International
36. Peoples Vaccine Alliance
37. Save the Children
38. SI (Soroptimist International) Limited
39. The ONE Campaign
40. The One Family on behalf of Catalyst 2030
41. The Power of Nutrition