The times we live in are not only times of global challenges, but also of opportunities and progress. They are times of deep and radical changes. It is the duty of a flexible and like-minded forum such as the G7 to promote concrete policies to steer these changes in the right direction. We cannot back away from our responsibility of leading by example to shape a better future for our citizens. To achieve this goal, it is important to maintain unity in the membership, enhancing the G7’s resilience and effectiveness through its adaptation to ever-evolving global challenges.
I strongly believe that delivering a better world to our people means shaping a fairer, more equal global society, to avoid making winners and losers. For this reason I support the French presidency’s choice of the fight against inequalities as a key priority this year. This choice is consistent with the Canadian and Italian presidencies and in line with the ‘new humanism’ that characterises the action of the Italian government. We have been constructing our innovative vision on a key word: people. And for us, ‘people’ is more than a word: it is the focal point on which we centre national, European and global development.
Inequality is an ethical and moral issue. We must work together, sparing no effort, to guarantee that everyone has the same opportunities – the same access to health care, education and proper human development. No one should be left behind.
Demand for change
Inequality also raises economic uncertainty, erodes public trust and social cohesion, and threatens human rights and peace. People are demanding a clear change and we must deliver on their demands for a fairer world.
To solve or at least mitigate the crucial issue of inequality, the international community and the G7 must rely on an invaluable resource: women and their empowerment. Safeguarding their rights and enhancing their access to education and jobs at the highest level will benefit us all, creating a world that is fairer, more efficient and prosperous. Gender equality, in fact, is not only morally right; it is of paramount importance for sustainable development and the well-being of our societies.
In this effort, encouraging women’s entrepreneurship as an engine for development in Africa can represent an important deliverable for the Biarritz Summit. Given that women’s empowerment and Africa are two key pillars of our foreign policy, Italy is ready to support AFAWA, a pan-African initiative of the African Development Bank to close the gender credit gap for women-led enterprises and scale up capacity-building support. AFAWA extends financing to women-empowered businesses through commercial banks and other financial intermediaries, provides technical assistance to women-led small and medium-sized enterprises, and engages relevant policy to improve the enabling environment for women’s entrepreneurship. We are convinced that the G7 membership should communicate the importance of these initiatives effectively to raise public awareness of such crucial matters.
I am confident that digitalisation and technological progress can represent key tools to shape a better future for all and guarantee broad access to opportunities, as long as we carefully harness them. To this end, I hope the Biarritz Summit will take the G20’s Osaka Summit a step further towards the definition of better international governance for these complex phenomena. Our goal must be to unleash the tremendous innovative potential for development while preserving the fundamental democratic nature of our societies and our citizens’ privacy, safety and well-being. It also means collaborating with tech giants, finding a shared international strategy to make them pay what is fair for our societies but also support their role in expanding global access to important services such as health care, education and financial inclusion.
Protecting and safeguarding the environment is also essential in achieving a brighter future. The fight against climate change remains a key priority. But we should not forget other priorities. Out of the eight million plant and animal species on Earth, one million are threatened with extinction at an unprecedented rate. Italy fully backs the Metz Charter on Biodiversity: only a collective response from the international community can reverse this trend, which could otherwise irreversibly alter the ecosystem. We are convinced that the strong political message that the G7 launched in Metz and will send from Biarritz will catalyse collective engagement, raising the importance of this topic in the global agenda.
Fighting inequality, empowering women, harnessing the digital revolution and protecting the environment are all crucial challenges of our times. We are aware of their complexity and we know members do not always share the same views. But we are optimistic. The Biarritz Summit is an important chance to accomplish meaningful results by working together in true partnership and engaging with civil societies and other stakeholders.
Italy is confident that multilateralism is the only way to defend the interests of the whole international community and the G7 is still an indispensable tool. We are called on to give a strong signal to the public, to steer our common future towards a better, fairer and more sustainable global society though concrete and shared policy actions. Italy is fully ready to do its part in this collective effort.