Civil Society 7

Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy. Building a more peaceful and secure world.

While such ambitions may seem lofty, they are nonetheless complex global challenges that require collaboration and action at multiple scales - which is likely why they were among the priority action areas identified by Canada for its G7 Presidency in 2018.


But how do you actually move the needle on these issues? How do you create generative and positive relationships between the various actors - including governments, businesses, civil society organizations and citizens? What gets in the way? How must we reimagine these relationships to better drive change?

These are just some of the questions that were top of mind at the Civil Society 7 Gathering - a summit in Ottawa that brought together nearly 100 delegates and speakers from G7 member states and the European Union in advance of the G7 Leaders Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec.

CKX was invited by the gathering’s steering committee to help design and host the two-day event with a goal to generate a series of recommendations to reimagine and reframe the relationship between civil society and the G7. These recommendations would be provided to both the Canadian and French G7 sherpas, as representatives of the current and next G7 presidencies.

So how did we do it?


We started with a reflection on the mutual dependence between the G7 and civil society. Next, we visioned a new, positive and productive relationship. To determine how to build this positive future we explored the opposite in a fun, energetic activity - intentionally designing the worst relationship between the G7 and civil society. We used the lessons learned from this to develop concrete recommendations which included elements of current or recent practices that should be maintained, along with additional proposals that would enhance the contributions that civil society can make while also strengthening the decision making and legitimacy of the G7.


Peter Boehm, Deputy Minister for the G7 Summit and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister participated in the event on both days, first to share information and second to hear the recommendations produced by the participants. Diplomatic representatives from each G7 member nation and the European Union also has the opportunity engage with delegates and contribute their thoughts and perspectives. Delegates also had the opportunity to hear from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ask him a few questions in an intimate closed-door conversation.

The result

After the gathering, recommendations, commitments and calls to action were pulled together into a summary report. The report included several benchmarks to help foster a new productive and meaningful relationship between civil society and the G7, more specifically through:

  1. Long-term continuity of, and progress on, process and substance
  2. Commitment to consistent high-level political and bureaucratic dialogue and engagement
  3. Fostering inclusive and diverse spaces for engaging different perspectives and ideas
  4. Transparency and accountability of information and process, and open communication

The report was shared directly with the G7 Sherpa, Peter Boehm, and his team, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and French President Emmanuel Macron.