The G7 Leaders’ Summit is just days away, and activists, advocates, and campaigners around the world are ramping up the pressure — with the decisions made at the summit set to impact every one of us.
From June 26-28, the heads of state of seven of the largest and most powerful economies in the world (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US) will meet in Germany — to discuss and take action to address the world’s most pressing issues.
With COVID-19 and climate change, gender inequality, and an impending global food crisis — and all of these compounding to drive millions more people into extreme poverty — there’s a lot for leaders to get on with.
Numerous international meetings and summits of recent years have brought lots of positive words and announcements, but rarely have leaders followed through on these promises, so far failing to bring sustainable change to the world.
Now, young people and activists around the world have, frankly, had enough — and are uniting to urge leaders at this G7 Summit to do more than offer empty words and promises.
They instead are calling on leaders finally turn their promises into action, and take concrete steps that are needed now to end extreme poverty, to tackle climate change, to empower girls and women, and to defend and protect the world’s civic spaces and citizens’ right to free speech and protest.
In the lead up to the G7 Summit, as part of our #HearOurVoicesNow campaign, Global Citizens around the world have been sharing with us why we need leaders of the G7 to step up now.
On top of the messages below (chosen from hundreds of messages and videos shared by Global Citizens), the voices of Global Citizens were put center stage at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz on the evening of June 20 — as Germany is hosting this year’s G7 Leaders' Summit.
A video of the messages shared by Global Citizens was projected on the walls and buildings of the square, while at 12:07 a.m., a projection onto Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ office sent a clear message: End Extreme Poverty. Now.
“In view of the dramatic crises in the world, Germany and the other G7 countries must finally summon the political will to make our world fairer and more sustainable,” said Friederike Meister, Global Citizen’s Germany director. “This includes concrete measures to support the people who suffer the most from the current crises worldwide. Enough has been promised. Enough has been said. Now it’s time for action.”
The G7 may represent just 10% of the world’s population, but they have the power to change lives for the better worldwide. They have the power to invest in international aid and strengthen development cooperation; to fight the pandemic everywhere and strengthen health systems worldwide; to adopt far-reaching climate protection measures and concrete actions; to empower adolescent girls worldwide; and defend civic spaces and advocates and activists globally and locally.
G7 leaders have the power. But will they use it? Hear more from Global Citizens below about why it’s absolutely essential that they do.
Hey Global Citizens, why do you want leaders to mobilize funds to end extreme poverty?
Ojiem D., Kenya
From the climate crisis to increasing hunger and instability, the challenges the world is facing are growing, hence the need for the wealthy countries to spend more or to increase their aid budgets, which are currently insufficient in tackling these issues.
Ziaullah M., Malaysia
If it gets worse then humanity will be under great danger. Secondly, if wealthy countries spend on global issues, they will get respect globally, from the bottom of the heart of the people, especially those who are facing these crises. At the end, we all need this to be done together with justice, equality, and love.
Doris W. E., Canada
If there was a time for international cooperation, for those who have to help who don't have, it is now. We have all been through a great deal of suffering and insecurity in the past two and a half years, but some of us have suffered much more. Some have far fewer options. It's a matter of keeping our humanity now. Let's not lose that too.
Mogomotsi, South Africa
Wealthy countries need to contribute on climate, poverty, and equality issues because all of these would give the opportunity for people to contribute to growth in the economy, prosperity in communities, and benefit our next generation.
Opeyemi E., Nigeria
Our world is so interconnected that leaving some parts unattended will, in the long run, have negative effects on the privileged parts. Every penny spent on global issues today is a penny spent to prevent global crises tomorrow. Please, do more.
Rebekah C., UK
Because our greed created the current issues the world faces today, we took and took and took and took, without giving. It's time to pay back that debt. Because we are in debt, and the countries we took from are the ones dealing with the overdraft.
Marine L., France
Climate change, poverty, and equality are common problems to all humanity. We should all be concerned and act. Wealthy countries are lucky enough to be able to spend money to help the world.
Cindy C., Mexico
We live in a globalized world, this means we all are connected and we all are part of a whole. If things don't go well for a certain country or a certain region, somehow it affects us all, sometimes in ways we don't even realize or understand. Fixing global issues is good for all countries, whether they are rich or poor.
Adeyinka A. A., Nigeria
Economic superpower countries should increase the amount they spend on global climate, poverty, and equality now, as time is running out to tackle the challenges. There have been many unfulfilled promises to help the world, particularly the poorer countries, without action.
Jibran S., Pakistan
Because with more power and resources comes more responsibility. Wealthy countries should be responsible and act according to their capability.
Nkanyiso S., South Africa
Global challenges know no borders, race, nor country status. While some countries are more affected than the other, the overall impact affects all.
Christopher R., US
It's imperative that we spend more on these issues. Please do the right thing here.
Larry B., Hong Kong
If you woke up one day and found yourself living as one of the billions of people in poverty, what would you want? Your great fortune as a world leader is not only to enjoy a comfortable life for yourself, but to have the unprecedented privilege of potential to help the poorest people in the world to climb out of deprivation and into a decent life. Investing 0.7% of GDP in the most effective health and economic programs for the neediest of the world is a modest price for a huge return in the quality of life.
Shruti S., India
Dear Leaders, do not cut on overseas aid in these times of crisis. They need us. We need them. We all need you!
What do you want to tell world leaders about climate change?
Cindy C., Mexico
The climate crisis most be stopped, it's time for the world leaders to take real action, and leave behind the false promises and all the green washing, save the planet and human civilization, act now, and make this world better for us and future generations.
Hannah P., Australia
The climate crisis is harming our food production, creating further inequality, and creating problems and issues that will need to be fixed or solved in the future. There is only so much the individual can do and, for us that do a lot, it can be heartbreaking to see that governments arent supporting us and the youth through legislation and clear action.
Randy S., Canada
As a world leader you must be a role model for all generations and countries. We need your leadership to make a measurable difference to the hunger crisis, climate crisis, and all issues of equality. This has to happen now as we don't have time to deliberate. Your legacy needs to be action and getting it done.
Marvin O., Germany
Leaders need to act on climate change now. Because there is not much time left.
Nick H., Greece
If you don't understand why you need to fight the climate crisis, you have no business leading anyone, much less whole nations and international organizations. Please be leaders. Act now.
Eric M., South Africa
World leaders need to recognize that climate change is real and the time to act is now.
Alberto M., Switzerland
Climate change is real and it's affecting everybody in a way or another. It is also the cause for other issues like the food crisis, so tackling climate change is such an important task that cannot be delayed any further.
Farhan Y., Tanzania
The climate crisis is one that will have major implications on all of the other issues and sectors. From increased migration (and resultant poverty), potential for new diseases, to different kinds of unrest — all can be a result of the climate crisis. The leaders must turn commitments to actions as far as this crisis is concerned and show a collective front.
Sarah F., UK
Please, please keep the climate crisis in mind in all that you do. Of all the things facing the world, this is the most important. We can try to rectify all other issues, but once the threshold is passed on climate change, we will be at the mercy of nature and won't have any kind of future.
Diane I., US
I want the global leaders to act on the climate crisis because it has the domino effect on many other issues. The deadly heatwaves and floods caused by the climate crisis destroys crops which in turn causes hunger. The climate crisis also disproportionately hurts young girls and limits their ability to stay in school and complete their education because they quit school to help the community. G7 needs to address the climate crisis and act now!
Chido S., Zimbabwe
Climate change has a devastating effect on an already strained economy. In Africa, climate change has left people homeless due to floods or malnourished due to drought. We rely on our land for most things, and the shift in seasons and extremes in the climate we have based our livelihoods on has affected us deeply. I would like the world's leaders to come up with policies that mitigate the effects of climate change.
What aspect of women’s and girls’ equality do you want world leaders to act on and why?
Education, because when we educate girls they thrive as women. It is about giving girls a CHANCE!
Viwe P., South Africa
Women must be supported when they menstruate to ensure they do not miss school. Child marriages for young girls must be eradicated. Women must be more represented in leadership. Women must be paid the same as men.
My daughter is asking me why she is not allowed to go to school? I have no answer for her, and world leaders can help me to answer or let her go to school.
Mohamed C., Mauritania
Equality of a woman is important to me because women are half of society and are deprived of all their rights. Gender equality is a goal that must be achieved in order to empower women with all their reproductive and health rights and access to high positions.
Terri D., Canada
The future of our societies depends on women being active in the governing of our cities and countries. Their perspective is vital to shape a fair, just world. Without their input, we will continue in a patriarchal culture shaped by men — where education, work, and even women's health is decided by someone that is not a woman.
Victor O., Nigeria
Economic empowerment is the key to lifting a woman and her family out of poverty and so world leaders should do the needful and grant women that opportunity.
Chikako S., Japan
When I was young like Malala, Greta, and Vanessa, who are standing up for girls' education these days, my dreams and desires were never a subject among family. In the 1970s, girls' educations or professions were not important from the points of their families in Japan. I do not want such unequal societies for young people in 21st century. Gender equality is a quite precious matter so we elder women must raise hands and voices for "women's equality" to the world.
Nangamso T., South Africa
To empower women is to empower a nation, focusing on women's rights, education, and creation of jobs can have a huge impact on our future. An educated woman can feed a nation. It's imperative that we act to secure a future of inclusion.
Giovanna RC, Mexico
Make women's education a priority, they have the right to have access to education and study something that they feel pasionate about. They're essential for the future of this planet. Make women's safety a top priority, we are all the same and deserve the same threat. We need to make this world a place full of kindness and a better place for all and to achieve that, WE HAVE TO WORK AS A TEAM.
Nikita M., South Africa
Education and leadership roles. Women need to be given the opportunities we hand out so easily to our men.
Nguungwan J., Nigeria
Girls should be the ones to decide whether they want to get married or not and in marriage women should work if they want to.
Mangadi D., South Africa
Poverty can be eliminated by educating a girl child and her children will never go to sleep without food, including many generations to come. I am a single mother of two beautiful girls and I know their future looks great because of my education. You educate a woman, you educate her whole family.
Andrew A., Brazil
Our world will never achieve peace and true, positive evolution if we keep throwing women and girls behind the scene. Common sense tells us women and girls are equally important for countries to flourish.
Judy R., US
Educate girls and you educate a nation. Also, it’s essential that women have control over their own bodies. They should not have their access to birth control, abortion, and employment be controlled by men. The result of these important policies will be a healthier, more functional, and more successful society.
Why do you want leaders to act on the food and hunger crisis?
Maureen M., Kenya
I'm from Kenya, where the northern part of our country is usually dry most part of the year, and a lot of people and livestock are dying due to lack of food and water. That's why I'm urging the leaders to come up with ways to end hunger, saving a lot of lives.
Millicent Z., South Africa
A lot of people in the world are struggling to make ends meet; meaning even putting food on the table is a challenge. Giving everyone equal chance to food access can really be helpful to the whole world.
Justina G., Nigeria
The food and hunger crisis are one of the common issues faced in my country and ignoring this issue is killing my society. If the leaders act on the hunger crisis, this will reduce the rate of corruption and migration of people, which in turn boosts the economy. As a Nigerian, I know the direct effect of hunger on the body and mind. It makes you desperate to take action to satiate it.
Vivian L., Germany
I come from Honduras, 80% of the population is extremely poor. I know what is it like to see someone starving. Their bones sticking out... and the government doing absolutely nothing to fix it.
Zoi B., Greece
Here in Greece, the food's very expensive and many people find it difficult to keep up with that. A global hunger crisis is coming, this is only the beginning and that's why leaders should act and find solutions.
Sandro M., UK
It is inconceivable that, in the year 2022, with all the discoveries, all the vaccines, all the technology at our disposal, there are still people living in extreme poverty, with no access to basic resources such as food, and water, and medication. European countries in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries took so many resources from poorer countries and left them on their own. Does that make you feel proud? Is that the heritage we are so proud of? Will you just sit and watch?
Mary M. P., Canada
It is a fact that the world is facing a serious food crisis, one that is only getting worse. Natural disasters, drought, fire, water shortages, and war are threatening access to safe, affordable food around the world. Action on the part of G7 leaders is critical and necessary to prevent millions of people from being malnourished and starving to death. DO SOMETHING.
Elizabeth S., Tanzania
Hunger is the great enemy for our individual and community development. Without having enough food, we cannot do other activities properly. Leaders should act fast and seriously on this issue!
Carlos T. M., UK
We live in an era where hunger should be just seen in history museums as part of the past. We have the knowledge, tools, and capital to make hunger history. Please act now.
Chinenyenwa M., Nigeria
This is a critical point in world history, not because of advancement in technology, but because of the huge number of people at risk of experiencing extreme hunger and malnutrition. Ending world hunger is not about providing more food, but taking a comprehensive approach by collaborating with governments of nations to teach citizens climate-smart farming techniques, learning to use natural resources in the best way available, and aiming to achieve ZERO food waste. It is possible and can be accomplished. Stand up and take action NOW!
Abdulai F., Sierra Leone
Food is essential to every living thing for living and access to life. We are calling on all government authorities to make food accessable to all
Becky G., US
I have had times when I didn't know where my next meal was coming from, but knew I could improve my lot. It would be horrible to have no idea if you can ever find the resources to feed yourself and your family. Everyone deserves to think that their kids will be able to grow into healthy adults.
Maij C., UK
We cannot watch children starve to death. Those countries that are able to must help. It is the right moral thing to do.
Riyad Z., Yemen
After three years of conflict, the humanitarian situation in Yemen only continues to worsen. The war, which is fought between the Saudi-led coalition supporting the incumbent regime with American supplies and the Houthi rebels, has claimed nearly 50,000 lives. The factions have made it difficult for aid groups and humanitarian organizations to reach vulnerable populations, causing a famine that has devastated the country.
Why does protecting freedom of speech and the right to protest matter to you?
Fardin R., US
It is an inherent right to be able to speak our thoughts and to be denied that is wrong. If world leaders want to be heard then they need to first listen.
Tim B., Germany
Freedom of speech is such a powerful tool and an important right in nowadays world. If we lose the right to protest how can we really make a change? If one’s point of view is just wrongm how can we show our disapproval without it?
Mohamed C., Mauritania
I want world leaders to protect freedom of expression and the right to protest because I want to protest and I want to express the reality experienced in my country, but I am afraid of imprisonment, torture, tears, and oppression.
Hannah P., Australia
Governments should represent and listen to its citizens. Often, we feel as though you aren't listening and if you do no action is taken. Please listen to your population and community and go out and listen to voices.
Narendra C., India
Freedom of expression and the right to protest are basic requirements to ensure an equal and rightful society. People should be allowed to express their point of view and anger. Otherwise, the danger of pushing them to take up extreme steps may create more problems. Repression never resolved any crisis or issue.
Andrew A., Brazil
If citizens are silenced and they can’t express opinions and ideas, we might as well go back to living in the Stone Age. Any govenment that silences its people is not a serious government. The world has to be a free place where we can all contribute positively.
Cindy C., Mexico
Freedom of speech is essential for the proper development of societies, for the evolution of civilization, and a healthy interaction between people and must be protected.
Lindy C., South Africa
We need to be able to express ourselves fully with being afraid of being condemned in any way. Freedom of expression grants us strength to fight.
Jaya J., UK
It is what ensures there is accountability and the right to cry out in pain is a fundamental one.
Etteh I., Nigeria
The right to speak freely is my fundamental human right and I believe everyone should be allowed to express it. Nigerian government and citizens do not have this and so it does silence the mind at times and at other times, it is confusing to see yourself being bullied and you can't speak. I witness this a lot, that is why I am speaking to this issue.
Lindiwe S., South Africa
I am a person who is very vocal and expressive. The impact of words has proven to have a massive impact to positive change and transformation. Freedom of speech and expression are the right of everyone and should remain so. I want to live in a country where I am not afraid to say what I want, because I need to use my voice to drive positive change. I therefore urge world leaders to protect our freedom of expression.
Zafar M., Pakistan
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It also underpins most other rights and allows them to flourish. The right to speak your mind freely on important issues in society, access information, and hold the powers that be to account, plays a vital role in the healthy development process of any society.
Shane D., UK
The right to protest must be protected. Many of the rights we have today came from protest and we must continue to fight to make the world a more just place.
History has shown us the power of individuals speaking out to bring about change. Every voice counts, every message, every name, and every action. The more there are of us, the louder our call. Join a community of millions of Global Citizens and use your power today. If you’re a real keen bean, you can head to our G7 Summit page and see how many actions you can take.
You can also head over to the Global Citizen app and take our G7 Summit 101 Challenge, to learn more about the G7 and what they can do to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, and urge them to take action to end extreme poverty and its systemic causes NOW.
Some responses have been lightly edited for clarity.