2010 is a date with fate for G8

Canada in 2010 is a date with fate. When the G8 leaders meet in Muskoka next June they come face to face with a long list of commitments – on aid, on Africa, on health and education, water and sanitation, on women and children, on AIDS, on climate change and now, on support for small farmers.

There can be no half measures; no excuses. Firm commitments were made for 2010 and the eyes of the world will be upon them. If the G8 is to have any legitimacy, it must demonstrate that it is as good as its word. If it is just a venue for photo ops, then we really can’t afford it.

The commitments made at Gleneagles and in every G8 since speak to the urgent need for concerted action to invest in the public services and social capital that will allow more than a billion people to escape poverty and to make real progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.

For policy wonks and governments, these goals – most quite modest – serve as signposts along the road to development. For the vast majority of women and men, girls and boys in the global South, they represent the difference between living and dying, going to school or spending your day in the search for water, getting medical care or struggling to survive.

When you add the goal of curbing climate change – for here there has been precious little progress in setting out specific targets for action – the impact of the G8’s leadership – or lack of leadership – is universal.

The track record to date has been dismal, with the Italian summit setting a new low in dodging accountability for performance. As first eight, then 14, then 18, 20 and 28 world leaders trotted out to smile for the cameras, the time for action on Africa slipped away.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper insists the Muskoka summit will be different. The Conservative leader has made accountability a hallmark of his own administration and says he’s poised to name and shame the laggards in 2010.

He does not apologize for setting – but meeting – modest goals for Canada. He much prefers to under-promise and over-perform. And in his wrap-up news conference in l’Aquila, he admitted he has heard no credible excuse for the lack of performance by those nations that have fallen furthest behind.

For there can be no excuse that G8 countries are unable to meet their commitments to the billion women and children living in poverty. Not after they managed to mobilize trillions to bail out the banks.

So we insist that when the leaders gather in Muskoka next year the accountability reports clearly demonstrate the $23 billion shortfall in aid spending has been erased and that emergency plans have been implemented to bridge the gaps.

And we call on Prime Minister Harper to show real leadership before the G8 – or G14 or 20 or 24 if it comes to that – by taking bold action on climate change and making a clear commitment to accelerate the growth of Canadian aid to reach the 0.7 per cent of national income target set by a former Canadian prime minister 40 years ago this year. This will be crucial if he is to have the moral authority to lead.

The last time the G8 leaders met in Canada, they launched the Africa initiative at Kananaskis. They are long overdue to live up to that promise. 

Nothing less is acceptable.

Comments

Climate Change

Do you think climate change is really that important an issue? It is so long term and so difficult to market. You just end up getting boring types talking about the see rising. Anything that gives me a water view quicker can't be like the end of the world!!!!

G8

You can hold your breath forever that the civilized nations of the world will rescue all the poor people, but the fact is we have invested billions of dollars and thousands of lives trying to bring peace to these places.  Until people are free of oppression they will not have the opportunity to get access to the blessings of the civilized world in the manner in which all humanity should - as free men and women pursuing their dreams.  How will we accomplish that I don't know aside from just take over the countries themselves so they can install democratic goverments.

And stop going on about climate change needing human intervention.  Climate change is a natural occurence.  The increase in green house gases will protect life from the next ice age - so stop telling people we need to get rid of them!

Our Destiny is twined.

We might differ in approach even the routes we take might be different but the ultimate destiny and desire is the same. I tottaly disagree with your assertions that the west should come and ocupy the developing countries so that we get Democracy. A quick question, what democracy do you mean?  who told you that the parameters that  are in the west are the same parameters for the developing world. I agree there are universal tenets like free choice and speech. Alot of money has been sunk in the south true! But what about the vast amounts that where taken from Africa and Asia in form free labour, minerals and raw materials? The Aid that you send to africa and other developing world is not an act iof charity but  a right. This i can defend from all angles and perceptions. But i suggest that we desist from this Argument and concetrate on the Major challenges of our generation. Indeed poverty and climate change are the defining characteristics of our times. The times that we have lived shall be judged on how best we responded to these two issues. I totally agree with you that climate change is a natural occurance but even sickness is a natural occurance but we treat it. Why should we treat something that is bound to happen? This we do because we are minimising the effects that we already know. Climate change is the one single factor that has the potential be the Floods that afflicted Noah and His Ark. Thank God this will affect both the developed and the undeveloped countries so we need to work together dear. Have u realised the heat waves that have affected Europe, what about the Hurricanes in the US, Have u noticed the Forest fires in Australia?? All these are due to climate change. By the way you should realise that More Billions of dollars will have to be sunk into the developing world because of climate change. So in order to avoid sinking more Billions, we should act and prevent the climate from further escalating.

On the Issues of poverty, democracy and good governance, we can not have this discussion with out first analysing the Historical context and the power confuguration in the world body of trade and politics. The political economy is structured in away that the South should remain at the bottom and the north at the Top. And thats the reason why the Oxfams of this world are fighting to change this and they need all our support. Unless the western goverments change their perceptions towards Aid and trade I am afraid your Billions will continue to go the waste. Have you ever wondered why despite of teh fledging aid Industry people are still dying of hunger, Diseases and war despite all the money poured in he prevention of these. Pls take some time to think. You will realise that Most donors especially govts do so not for humanitarian grounds but for their countries strategic interests. Why fund Mobutu for all those years, Addi Amin, Look at Egypt today why continue giving them aid? dont you ever ask such a question before you talk about accupying sovereign countries to Impart democracy.

I always believe in getting solutions for our problemsand i suggest the folowing

1. Aid should be pegged on Good Governence where there is free and fair elections, free speech and accountability to the people. In other words we need a whole new regime of the Aid industry to be thout through.

2. International trade best on mutual respect and purpose should be instituted. The south should be given unfetted access to the markets in the North. Oxfam did a study that showed that increased trade btn the south and the north By just 1% will lift 100 million people out of poverty.

3. Technological transfer should be effected. The North should transfer technology to the south.However this should be done in the way that doesnt distort the markets of the south. 

4.The north should curb their carbon emissions so that we curb the effects of climate change. This should be done with increase in funding from the North climate Change Adaptation. This funding should not be based on any set pre conditions.

5. The funding that the North is Providing to the south should be focussed mainly on helping the poor people acumulate capital base to create wealth. Wealth creation is the only way that we can build sustainable development.

6. Disasters should be used as opportunities to improve the lives of the people from their previous sitiuations to better situations say inf orm of housing, and other infrastructure.

7.The Humanitarian assistance Given should not undermine the natural ciping mechanisms of the affected communities.

Comrade i strongly belive that if we do the following we all find our lives more purposeful to build societies that shall outlive us because our desires despite being in different contexts demand the sam actions and aspirations which are equility, hope and happines. there is no standard measurement for achieving this, But wirking as a team and listening to varying opinions and suggestions are paramount.

Thanks