Key Takeaways From The 2019 G7 Summit

The recently concluded G7 had many takeaways not just for its members but also for India and its sub-continent.

India was specially invited to the forum by the host France for the meet to be held in the city of Biarritz. The G7 is a coalition of the most advanced economies which have the greatest influence and clamour alike. The G7 which discussed agendas pertaining to the environment, energy and bilateral relations among the members also saw significant shifts due to the issues surrounding the world order. Among the critical topics which dominated this G7 meet were Iran, China and U.S. trade wars, India and Pakistan relationship concerning Kashmir, Amazon wildfires and Brexit.

PM Modi and President Trump at the recently concluded G7 Summit held in France.

Prior to the prime minister of India’s meet in the G7, Pakistan was already downgraded by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it means that Pakistan which was earlier in the Greylist of the financial body was further downgraded to the Blacklist, as it could not control its policies in regard to controlling the use of money that was used for terrorism, laundering and illegal purchase. Any references on Kashmir was also not brought up—with the American President Donald Trump refusing to mediate unlike his previous overtures, which had caused tensions in the two nuclear states in the sub-continent.

Therefore India’s stand that the Kashmir matter was a bilateral issue and should be settled in that regard was indeed a milestone, especially since the constant rumblings and rhetoric created by our neighbour. Moreover, India was able to turn the tide in its favour and corner Pakistan, especially after the FATF downgrade and asked the country to stop terrorism.

On the environmental front, India impressed further with the PM, highlighting the importance of plastic use elimination. The PM also spoke on the importance of water conservation and how India will achieve its targets specified under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDC and COP21 goals.

Iran, also came calling to the G7 meet, for a country that was once highly westernised and now under Sharia, facing massive trade embargoes, a bourgeoisie population and many among them young educated individuals, Iran is desperate to do business. The 2015 Iran deal done by the P5+1 countries that included the previous dispensation in America was a landmark deal that enabled the country to come out of solitude and respect the use of its nuclear inventories for peace and energy.However, as Donald Trump backed out of the deal citing it to be unfair to Americans, it made the world leaders come together and deliberate more comprehensively. Due to the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen ranging for almost four years now, or the sensitive and strategic strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Aden becoming tenser, it was essential to bring the U.S. to the dialogue table with Iran. President Trump has promised to meet the Iranian counterpart to discuss and solve the impasse on the nuclear deal.

China is the country set to overtake the U.S. very soon and any disruptions in their economy affects the whole world order. The recent trade wars added more trade protectionist ideology in an otherwise free, open trade generation. By enhancing trade costs and import substitution, both countries have to realise the gravity of the situation and behave in a more farsighted and prudent manner. President Trump has initiated that talks, between the two countries, will resume a day soon after calling the tariff rates low and branding the premier Xi Jingping an “enemy”.

The G7 meanwhile also focused on the raging fire in the Amazon, called the lungs of the earth. The fire has been unprecedented, and it needs global cooperation to arrest the spread. Brazil is the country where the forest spreads have seen most of the brunt, with thick black smog overlapping the cities of Rio and as far as Santos. The G7 countries have pledged 20 million euros and send firefighting aeroplanes to help douse the world’s largest repository of fresh air, water and natural flora and fauna.

The G7 is a union of seven powerful and economically advanced countries that include: the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France, Canada and Italy and represents 46% of the GDP in nominal value, this easily makes it a sizeable intergovernmental union which can take tough decisions and actions. Therefore, the members and its invitees must understand the need of the hour and respect the sentiments living and non-living.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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