Photo Credits: Heidi Scherm Fotographie via W7 Germany
Blog: W7 Out and Loud by Cathy Orlando
A version of this blog was published in The Sudbury Star.
From October 12 to 14, I attended the W7 Strategies and Implementation Sessions in Berlin, Germany in conjunction with the G7 Equality Ministers Meetings.
Alongside sixty-one W7 advisors from 25 countries representing millions of people, including many in the Global South, we are demanding from the G7 leaders that it is #TimeToDeliver on gender equality and an inclusive and feminist policy.
In the summer of 2021, I found out I was selected to be W7 advisor to the G7 in Germany. I have a confession. All year I had feelings of imposter-syndrome. I am a climate activist that specializes in training people to empower their fellow citizens to have breakthroughs in their personal power. Our work is highly focused on redirecting financial flows away from fossil fuels and towards an equitable future. I am not a specialist in feminist policy.
But now I am #W7OutAndLoud. I feel my skills and networks are valuable and I am carrying all that I learned forward.
In preparation for the W7, my organization, Citizens’ Climate Internatonal conducted a Talanoa dialogue where we listened carefully to the fierce and brave voices of women from Kenya, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Panama and Sweden on the climate crisis. I also attended the “Women Life Freedom “Iranian Protest in Sudbury earlier this month.
While I was in Berlin, very strong statements were issued at the G7 Gender Equality Ministers. Lisa Paus, German federal minister tweeted that “Gender Equality is a universal human right”. As well, the ministers committed to deliver on progress towards a gender-equal world and published a joint-statement on the protests in Iran. They called upon the Iranian government to “put an end to the ongoing brutal repression of peaceful protests” which stands in contradiction to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) to which Iran is a signatory.
Separately, during that week of October 12, 2022, the G7 Finance ministers pledged to increase greenhouse gas emissions reductions efforts and climate support for developing countries despite energy cost and security challenges prompted by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Three major outcomes of the German G7 communique this year were:
- There is now a G7 Gender Gaps Dashboard. The Dashboard includes key indicators across a range of policy areas that are relevant to the progression of gender equality. It will be updated annually by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- For the first time ever LGBTQI+ rights were to be found in a G7 Communique.
- Explicit carbon pricing and carbon border adjustment mechanisms were highlighted in the G7 Climate Club document.
But there was a lot missing too. Two highlights from many include a lack of concrete policy, political and financial commitments to ending the sovereign debt crisis and gender-responsive budgeting.
On our last night, at a W7 event at SchwuZ, the oldest queer-bar in Berlin, fellow Canadian Muzna Dureid (a Syrian refugee) and I got to briefly meet with the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth. One of our hopes is that the W7 becomes institutionalized within her Ministry. And they should because the G7 needs us. The W7 is a civil society network that is a bridge to millions of people around the world to our governments. I hope to also discuss with this with my local MPs, Vivianne Lapointe and Marc Serre, sometime in the near future.
I applaud the W7 German team and the German government. They are transforming people and the planet via their strategies and implementation. I especially applaud how the voices of the Global South were elevated. I am heard by my government. My voice does need to need to be amplified. I need to listen and so must the rest of the world.
Next year, the G7 will be in Japan. Fumie Saito and Atsuko Miwa now take the W7 torch. They stand on the shoulders of the W7 in Germany and we all stand on the shoulders of all the women and men in all their diversity who have fought and are fighting for a gender-just world.
There is beauty in plurality.
Director of Programs
Citizens’ Climate International