So here we are at the G8 International Media Centre at l’Aquila, Italy. I cannot believe it’s already been 364 days after all the hype of the last G8 was over in Japan.
Back then, the G8 could not deliver what was expected of them in light of the food price crisis and the looming climate change crisis that were both putting strains on people’s livelihoods who were already struggling to make ends meet. The only positive outcome under the chairmanship of my government was the promise for them to see each year if they are keeping their past promises to help realize health services for everyone. A sad promise to have to make, and this in itself is a proof that the G8’s credibility had been in question.
This year, the existence of this Group of Eight is literally on the line. People all around the world, and their non-G8 governments, are angry that the economic model the G8 has been promoting has caused the economic crisis we are in, and angry at the fact that they have poured nearly 10 times as much money into bailing out troubled banks as all the world’s aid given to poor countries in the last 49 years put together!
If they can’t act like the powerful and responsible countries that they have always said they are – and that means showing us how they will keep the promise to increase aid by $50 billion by next year, helping boost the UN climate negotiations by slashing their carbon emissions by at least 40% , and committing to support farmers in poor countries so they don’t have to depend on food aid – then I really don’t know how they are planning to claim this was meeting was worth having.
Sadly, the signs are not looking too good. I have never been to a G8 summit where the chair himself expresses pessimism on the likely outcomes even before the leaders arrive! But our teams in l’Aquila and Rome are determined, as much as everyone checking out this blog (thank you!), not to let them off the hook.