I’ve arrived here in Toronto, Canada to lead Oxfam’s campaigning work for the upcoming G8/G20 Summits on 25-27th June. We have lots planned so make sure you stay tuned!
The G8 meet first, in what is dubbed ‘the Muskoka Summit’ for about a day. Then the G20 will meet in downtown Toronto for another day and a half. The G8 has a broad agenda of issues they will cover such as maternal health, security, terrorism etc. The G20 will focus on finance and global economic recovery.
Campaigners and activists are coming in from all over the world to make sure their voices are heard. So why should YOU care about yet another meeting with powerful men in suits?
- Promises, promises, promises. Rich countries have made promises in the past and those need to be kept. They promised aid (0.7% of GNI), they promised money to fight hunger, they promised to invest in maternal and child health, they promised money for the climate. We are here to expose what is really happening behind those closed doors and help make sure your voice is heard too.
- Climate change – not a side show. This is the first major opportunity world leaders have had to discuss climate change since Copenhagen in December last year, where they failed to deliver the fair, ambitious and binding deal on climate change the world so urgently needs. At the moment, the chair of the Summits, Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper, is downplaying the importance of climate change despite pressure from the world, as he considers it a 'side show.’ We disagree. Climate change is threatening millions of the world’s poorest people right now and it needs to be front and center of any political discussion. A key part of the climate puzzle is ensuring that money starts flowing now to those that need it most.
- How much is $1 billion anyway? The Canadian context is raising some interesting questions over how money is, or should be spent. Canada is spending over $1 billion on the three days of Summit security (last year’s G20 Summits in London cost a mere $30 million). $1 billion is also what Oxfam sees as Canada’s ‘fair share’ of the $30 billion of fast-start climate money already pledged over the next three years. Furthermore, Canada spends about $2 billion a year subsidising the fossil fuel industry, fuelling runaway climate change. Does that add up to you? I didn’t think so.
- Hang on, why not invest in the future? Canada is strongly opposing the introduction of a Robin Hood Tax (AKA Financial Transaction Tax), a tiny tax on financial trading that can help raise hundreds of billions of dollars (please compare to the above-mentioned figures), money that we think should be spent on fighting poverty home and abroad and fighting climate change. Agree? Sign the petition now.