Later this month, the G8 and G20 summits will be held in Canada. As the events approach, activists and aid organizations are calling on leaders to fulfill the promises they made in recent years.
They say rich nations have failed to follow through with the full funding needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. There are 8 such goals concerning such issues as poverty and hunger, education, health, gender equality and the environment.
The G8 and G20 summits are being held as nations try to recover from the global economic crisis.
Time running out?
Joanne Carter, executive director of the Results Educational Fund, says, “The G8 summit is taking place two-thirds of the way toward the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.”
She adds, “Action by the U.S. and Canada and other G8 leaders in this political window, extending from… the G8 [summit] to the September U.N. Millennium Development Goal summit in New York, will in many ways determine whether we have the resources and the commitment over the next 5 years to achieve the MDGs or whether the G8 simply makes gestures.”
Carter is also a board member of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She says this year, host Canada is stressing accountability on past promises.
“Promises like fully funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, like universal access to AIDS treatment and broader financial commitments,” she says. Many developing countries, she adds, have geared up programs in anticipation of increased aid.
“At the very moment when we can see the potential of bending the curves of these epidemics and reaching those last milers – the kids, the 72 million kids not yet in school – we’re actually in danger of falling back,” says Carter.
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and special advisor to the U.N. secretary-general, says both the G8 and G20 have “repeatedly endorsed” the Millennium Development Goals.
“Five years ago, at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, very specific commitments were made to double the aid to Africa by 2010; and to raise overall aid to the world by $50 billion per year so that these Millennium Development Goals can be fulfilled,” he says.
Sachs says the “Gleneagles Commitments” are due now. ‘They have not been met.” He adds Africa, which needs assistance the most, “has not received the promise.”
Many of the G8 nations have sharply increased funding for various issues, increasing aid by about $30 billion since the 2005 Gleneagles summit. That’s about $20 billion short of their 2010 goal. The G8 countries have also written off about $100 billion in debt owed by African countries.
The Toronto-based G8 Research group gives the G8 a grade of B when it comes to fulfilling its promises within a year after they were made, calling that “pretty good.”
This year’s G8 and G20 summits overlap. The G8 summit will be held June 25th and 26th, while the G20 summit is set for June 26th and 27th.