Advocacy — the act of using your voice to influence a change — is at the heart of what Global Citizen does. We are an advocacy organization using our voice, and the voices of the millions of people around the world who take our actions, to achieve an end to extreme poverty.
But what does that actually mean?
For the last few months, we have been campaigning in the run-up to the G7 Summit aiming to influence the leaders attending the summit to agree on policy positions that support the mission to end poverty.
The G7 is made up of the leaders from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK, along with representatives from the European Union, which is also invited to all G7 meetings with observer status.
G7 leaders meet once a year to confer on the biggest challenges the world is facing — global economics, global security, climate change — and at the end of the meetings, they release an official statement on what they think is the best course of action to take on those challenges.
And while the G7 only represents 10% of the world’s population, because of summits like this, they hold a lot of power and influence policy that impacts people everywhere.
That is why months before this year’s G7 Summit, which took place from June 26-28, Global Citizen started working behind the scenes to help ensure the G7 knew what issues and policies would be most important to achieving the end of extreme poverty and to fighting climate change.
With a mixture of closed-door meetings with government liaisons, public actions for Global Citizens to take, and leveraging media opportunities to get key priorities out, Global Citizen is able to make sure leaders know exactly what policy changes are needed to end extreme poverty.
Here’s a look at everything that goes into advocating for the end of extreme poverty now, through the lens of this year’s G7 Summit.
In early 2022, knowing the G7 meeting would be in Germany where we have a Global Citizen office, we met with German government officials to suggest topics to be included at the summit. We also sent letters to the G7 sherpas, or liaisons, of each country outlining the most critical policy areas that need to be addressed this year, including breaking the systemic barriers that keep people in poverty; taking urgent action on climate change and hunger; and empowering adolescent girls with access to education, nutrition, and sexual and reproductive health and rights — along with concrete recommendations of how the G7 could make a difference on these issues.
Then in late February, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we shifted our key asks for G7 leaders to prioritize taking action to avert the pending hunger and energy crises that were triggered by the war.
Over the course of the next few months, we met with government connections to see how the negotiations between the G7 countries were going. We often work with other advocacy groups that have similar policy goals so that together we can make a stronger case. Partnering with these organizations — such as the ONE Campaign ahead of G7 — is critical to our work.
As we got closer to what’s called the G7 Ministerial meetings — where the G7 sherpas from each country essentially pre-meet ahead of the Summit to discuss each government’s position on the major issues — Global Citizen suggested specific language, key facts to convince them of the importance of the issues, and most importantly specific actions they could take to be considered. In May, this included sending letters ahead of the meetings to both the Development Ministers and Finance Ministers of each country.
All of the information we gleaned from this shaped our public campaign efforts.
Why Your Actions Are Crucial
Our public campaigns are critical to our work. They consist of a few different tools — but the most important one is our action platform. In the Global Citizen app, people all over the world can take actions (like tweeting, sending emails to government officials, signing petitions, and lots more) that all help influence the outcomes of a campaign.
For example, as part of the G7 campaign, we released an open letter calling on G7 leaders to take action to end extreme poverty now. This letter was signed by dozens of the biggest names in music and entertainment, in addition to over 10,000 Global Citizens. This gained the attention of media outlets like Billboard, which helps put the campaign on the radar of government leaders.
Along with the open letter, Global Citizens also took action to call on G7 leaders to avert the impending global food crisis; tweeted G7 leaders urging them to deliver much-needed climate financing for countries on the front lines of climate change’s impacts, and to stop subsidizing dirty energy; to invest in the unpaid care burden that’s disproportionately carried by women and girls; and ensure vaccine access for all to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen health systems worldwide.
Global Citizens also created and shared hundreds of written and video messages telling G7 leaders why it’s so important they step up now to tackle hunger, gender inequality, climate change, COVID-19, and more. You can read a selection of these incredibly powerful messages here.
On the evening of June 20, just days ahead of the summit, your voices and your messages were then put center stage at Berlin’s iconic Alexanderplatz, with a video of the messages shared by Global Citizens projected onto the walls and buildings of the square. A projection onto German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ office sent a clear message: End Extreme Poverty. Now.
All of the actions taken by Global Citizens were featured on the Global Citizen app; we also email actions every week to members of our movement (you can register to get our emails here), and we promote actions across our social media channels (@glblctzn).
We use social media in a few different ways for our campaigns. In addition to promoting our actions and content about, for example, the G7, we also use it to react directly to the progress we’re hearing in our behind-the-scenes campaigning.
One example of this is how, when we heard that in G7 negotiations, some countries wanted to step back on already agreed plans to phase out fossil fuels, we reacted swiftly and launched an action asking Global Citizens to tweet leaders to increase the pressure.
The #G7's climate legacy must be one of progress. We can do it Global Citizens! Tell leaders not to risk our global future by rolling back on promises to end overseas investments in dirty fossil fuels. #G7globalhttps://t.co/uujVZLxVu1— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) June 27, 2022
This went hand-in-hand with putting out statements to the media and other partners to add to that growing pressure. Ultimately, while we expected and needed greater climate action from G7 leaders, these actions help contribute to preventing a more disappointing outcome.
In-Person at the G7 Summit
Another important part of our campaigning is quite simple — we show up. We had representatives at the G7, just like we attended COP26 and the G20 Summit in 2021. Being physically present helps us gauge the situation and access the media that are covering the summit so our point of view is captured.
We work with the media for weeks ahead of the summit — talking to journalists who will cover and attend the summit, so they know Global Citizen is watching for the outcomes. Because we have policy experts on our team, we are able to give quick analysis on the status of negotiations and the final outcomes. We also publish our own opinion pieces from our policy experts to ensure our point of view is on the record.
⭕️ Just when we need our leaders to lead with courage and strength, the @G7 have kicked the world’s biggest challenges into the long grass. @GlblCtzn’s are still taking action, we were on the ground at the #G7summit - and now we want answers. Here’s our take 👇🧵— Global Citizen Impact (@GlblCtznImpact) June 28, 2022
Finally, once the G7 leaders have finished negotiations, they release their final communique, which is their joint statement about the key issues that were discussed and negotiated at the summit. Global Citizen quickly analyzes it, then creates articles about it so people can learn about what was decided, and creates actions in response to the outcomes so that Global Citizens can keep the pressure on world leaders and hold them accountable to their promises. All of this again goes out on our social media channels and in our emails, and helps us determine what policy areas to focus on in our next campaign.
You can join the Global Citizen campaign to end extreme poverty and take climate action NOW by taking action here. Become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make a change.