Heiligen-sham: the devil's in the detail

So we are about to pack up the office and head home, and to be honest I am feeling pretty blue after the final G8 announcements today. Despite your efforts, and despite the efforts of people here in Germany, this year’s G8 was a missed opportunity.

It doesn’t take an economist to read between the lines, and see that the G8’s big showy promises to give more money on HIV and AIDS is little more than a PR job. I am outraged by their blatant attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. They are splashing around the slogan ’60 billion more for HIV and AIDS’ as though they have really made a breakthrough. Unfortunately the real truth is that just 3 of the 60 billion announced today is new money. And this is still a massive 27 billion short of what the G8 promised to give in aid at the Gleneagles Summit. Rubbish.

I know that in the UK where I work, thousands and thousands of people have been campaigning hard on climate change. Again, on this issue, the G8 have fallen well short of expectations. They have promised to start a process to figure out how to cut carbon emissions, but the fact is that right now the world’s poorest people are being hit by the effects of climate change. Whilst the G8 were in that room discussing deals and holding their positions, people in poor countries are dealing with the daily reality of increasing famine, severe drought and flooding.

This needs action now, not in a few years when they finally get round to making some decisions. When it is likely to be too late.So this evening I am going to keep my spirits up by thinking about the great media attention our issues got, the great team I worked with in Germany, and the great activists everywhere who have been campaigning for change. Without all of this, things could have been much worse.

I might even indulge in a bit of wallowing for the next couple of days about the disappointing outcome. But after I have caught my breath, watch out G8. We are all still here and we won’t let you get away with this. I know there are people everywhere who won’t stop fighting, because they believe in justice and equality for everyone. And I will carry on fighting with them.

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