In pursuit of global equality
G7 Summit

In pursuit of global equality

The fight against inequalities will be the priority of France’s G7 summit presidency in 2019.…

We must tackle inequalities of destiny. It is a moral aberration as much as a reality which is untenable. It is unacceptable not to enjoy the same opportunities depending on the country you are born in, not to be able to go to school in some countries because you are a woman, not to have access to certain basic care.


…The Global Partnership for Education’s Financing Conference in Dakar in February [2018] raised $2.5 billion to develop access to education in the world. It is a historic sum. France increased its contribution tenfold. The active efforts the G7 [had] already begun to make under Canada’s presidency will have to allow further progress.

We are at a watershed on this issue, during which we will be able to grasp the full extent of the challenge facing us, or not. Six hundred and twenty million more children in the world need to be provided with schooling between now and 2030, including 444 million Africans. Are we going to give ourselves the resources for this? Are we going to give them all the resources for a solid grounding, enabling them to take control of their lives, fraternal lives in tomorrow’s world? If we do not, what kind of world are we setting up for ourselves?…

This is why I call on you all to become part of this global drive for education. Education and health will not just be the pillars of our societies in the 21st century; they will be the basic components of our economies, too.


We must also fight passionately against gender-linked inequalities. I have made gender parity in France the great cause of my five-year term, and I issue an appeal here to make this a great global cause with you. Women and girls are the first to be affected by poverty, conflict, the consequences of global warming; they are the first victims of sexist and sexual violence, which too often prevents them from moving around freely, working or choosing what happens to their bodies.

Our responsibility in the 21st century is to end these kinds of violence, from harassment on the street to femicide. It is time our world stopped making women victims and at last gave them their rightful place – the one where they are leaders, too. We must guarantee them access everywhere to education, health care, jobs, and to taking economic and political decisions, and fight every kind of violence they are subjected to.

So France will propose to governments wishing to move forward with us the creation of a coalition for adopting new laws for gender equality. Fifty per cent of our development aid will be devoted to projects to reduce gender inequalities.


We must also relaunch efforts to fight health inequalities at international level. We are hosting the Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Lyon in [October] 2019. We will retake the initiative on the fight against fake drugs and step up our action to tackle major pandemics. I call on everyone here to mobilise.


Finally, we must fight – with a passionate sense of urgency – against environmental inequalities. It is unacceptable for 45% of greenhouse gas emissions to be produced by 10% of the planet’s richest inhabitants. It is inefficient – as is the case with solar power – for countries with the largest potential and greatest needs to be those with the least access to the appropriate technology.

It is indefensible that 100 million more people will be doomed to extreme poverty by 2030 if we do not succeed in honouring our commitments to fight global warming. Here too, it is a battle which must bring us together.

Some countries here are suffering more than others and we owe them solidarity. But we will all have to provide an explanation to our peoples and our own children for this growing number of disasters.

Paris Climate Agreement

The heralded breakdown of the Paris Agreement has been averted, because we have managed to remain united, despite the American decision to withdraw from it. This strength must continue to carry us along and dispel all fatalistic approaches.…

We are told that it is already too late, that we won’t meet the targets. Then let’s speed up … Let’s implement the protocol against HFC gases, which could enable us to reduce the planet’s average temperature by 1ºC by 2050. Let’s set ourselves the goal of concluding in 2020 a plan for an ambitious global pact for the environment, and making the Beijing [Conference of the Parties] on biodiversity and the IUCN World Conservation Congress in France in 2020 decisive steps.

Let’s commit ourselves clearly and let’s all be equally clear, concrete and coherent. It is an emergency. So let’s comply with the commitments we have made. Let’s sign no more trade agreements with powers that do not respect the Paris Agreement. Let’s ensure our trade commitments include our environmental and social obligations. Let’s more heavily mobilise sovereign funds, which finance this low-carbon policy strategy.

France will continue to exercise global leadership in this battle, along with everyone who so wishes. We will work at the G7 to ensure that the commitments made at COP21 are revised upwards, and if one of the members does not want to move forward, we will move forward even so, going to seek new coalitions, new formats, because the G7’s remit is to remain a united group of countries committed to democracy. But today it must also help create new coalitions enabling the global collective system to be furthered and rebuilt.…


Only together can we effectively combat all these inequalities, which have each fractured our societies.…

Otherwise there will ultimately be only two solutions. The first would be to always choose the lowest common denominator and follow the standards we know; this is what we have done for decades.…

The other response would be to say it is the rules that do not work. So let’s withdraw into ourselves. Isolationism, protectionism. But this leads to only one thing: an increase in tensions.…

I propose, on the contrary, that we establish a collective mechanism for working together on what we are doing, in each of our countries, to reduce inequalities. To assess our actions but also make them more consistent and spread good practice. So I propose that the international institutions – the United Nations but also, of course, the [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] – support us in establishing this mechanism, for which the G7 will have to be the driving force.…


We must give Africa its full role, to ensure its role is central to the recomposition of the international system.…

Because it is indeed today in Africa that we find the most fervent champions of multilateralism and regional integration, because our African partners have clearly understood that together we will be in a position to tackle our common challenges. And the French G7 presidency will also set to work on this new alliance with Africa.

As you see, I believe very strongly that in the face of these rifts, these challenges in the contemporary world order, we can build a new language of action and we must, at the same time, attack the underlying causes that contemporary inequalities represent. 

This text is extracted from a speech by President Emmanuel Macron to the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2018.