Advocacy is a long, slow pull at times. In a fast-paced, ever-changing world, it is hard for the average advocate to keep up with the complexity of political events, raging conflicts, party disputes and a 24-hour news cycle.
I fear our society has settled into a state of complacency, allowing the government to call the shots and letting the cards fall where they may. In a 1938 speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt shared these words to a hopeful crowd in Marietta, Ohio,
Let us not be afraid to help each otherâ€”let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country.
In essence, FDR says, â€œYour voice matters.â€ Your voice matters to the poor and powerless. Your voice matters to the those forgotten by the tumultuous political agenda. Your voice matters to the very existence of government, not limited to this country, but to all citizens of the world.
A major world event with the potential to end hunger by 2030 is about to take the global stage. Over the past few months, preparations and preliminary discussions have been taking place all around Italy in anticipation of the 2017 G7 Summit in the Italian host city of Taormina, May 26-27.
This series of meetings culminates in a two-day discussion between the heads of state from the worldâ€™s most important industrially advanced democracies: France, United States, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and the European Union. It is important to note that this event used to be known as the G8 Summit, including Russia in the discussions. However, in March 2014, the G7 declared that a constructive discussion was currently not possible with Russia following the Russian Federation’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The agenda for this yearâ€™s summit with the theme â€œBuilding the Foundations of Renewed Trustâ€ is set to include topics such as:
- Stability in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region
- Energy and Climate Change
- Women and Girls Economic Empowerment
- Production Innovation
A complete list of planned priorities can be found here. Our advocacy partners report that there is uncertainty around the types of discussions that might take place at the Summit, specifically related to our focused efforts on food security and nutrition. Many mainstream media outlets predict the tensions with Syria will dominate the Summitâ€™s two-day agenda. We will focus our attention on the summary of topics and action steps discussed at the Summit, which can be found online here.
So where do we fit in? How do we make our voice heard? Here are a few suggestions:
- Social Media Awareness: It is easier now more than ever to spread the word about the topics that are important to you. Share your desire to see food security and nutrition at the center of discussion during the G7 by following @g7 and @g7inUS, sharing with the hashtag #G7 and tagging @Rise2030.
- Contact your G7 Summit Representative: In January, Kenneth (Ken) I. Juster was appointed as Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. Juster serves as the G7 representative (or â€œSherpaâ€) for the U.S. and you can email his office here. Other representatives can be found here.
- Continue to Explore the G7: It is our responsibility as hunger advocates to educate ourselves and remain informed on the world issues affecting hunger. Take a moment to explore these further resources:
Let us fulfill the words and vision of the great FDR, and be the government. Your voice matters!