News / Africa

NGO’s Look for Greater Commitment from G8 summit

The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
x
The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
Leading NGO’s held a briefing June 12 to discuss issues they hope will figure prominently at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland. Among them are food security, nutrition, tax havens, transparency, and mining.

The NGO’s pointed out that the global economic downturn in recent years has meant commitments made at past G8 summits have not always materialized.

But at the Food and Nutrition Summit held ahead of the upcoming meeting, over four billion dollars were pledged to address global food security. The grassroots advocacy group ONE said it will be monitoring the implementation of these and other commitments.

Ben Leo, the group’s global policy director, explained that groups like the ONE campaign actively monitor how G8 leaders and governments follow through.

“We do a series of accountability reports that look at a range of issues, agriculture, health, transparency, and overall development assistance levels,” he said.  “So there are a number of groups that we will be watching, so when words are delivered, action must follow. And the G8 will be held accountable for actually delivering on that.”

He also emphasized that it’s more than making a pledge and keeping it; it’s about providing people with the proper tools to get out of poverty. For example, he said his organization has been working hard over the past couple of years to bring the plight of smallholder farmers -- who are mostly women -- to the forefront.

“The G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is continuing to expand in a number of countries that are participating in that. Nigeria was just added along with two others. The Nigerian agriculture minister has a very aggressive plan. So with the G8 supporting private investment that is sensitive to these women smallholder farmers, a lot can actually happen,” said Leo.

He favors better targeted internventions, not just directly to the farmers, but across the value chain.  Leo said, for example, that food storage and access to markets are opportunities for companies to help play a role in addressing many aspects of the food chain.

Nora O’Connell, Save the Children’s public policy and advocacy director, said nutrition plays a vital role in creating a sustainable global economy.

“New research actually just came out from the Lancet medical journal last week that says nutrition is critical to child survival. And in fact, the numbers have gone up, that malnutrition is a leading cause for 45-percent of child deaths worldwide. But what does that have to do with economic growth? And how is this linked to this broader agenda?” asked O’Connell.

“I think that’s really embodied in this summit that David Cameron and the government of Brazil and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation hosted last Saturday in London, called ‘Nutrition for Growth Beating Hunger through Business and Science.’  I think that link between nutrition and economic growth really links it to this broader agenda.”  

She added a report recently released by Save The Children documented that those who do not receive proper nutrition up to age two are 20% less likely to be literate than children who do.       

What that means is that those children don’t do as well in school. They have about 20% less earnings as adults, and economies can have up to 3% [smaller gross domestic products]. So when you’re looking at the long term, how do we create a global economy that enables economic growth? You can’t actually have that picture without core human development and looking at [the role of nutrition],” explained O’Connell.     

Marie Brill, executive director of ActionAid USA, said tax havens can be made to produce revenue to help cure hunger. She said, “We could have an incredible gain for food security at this G8 summit if there’s concrete action taken to cut down tax dodging, and to address tax havens. That would leverage a tremendous amount of resources that could be applied to addressing food security by supporting women smallholder farmers, access to land, increased investment in nutrition, and a whole host of different social services that would actually address the root causes of hunger.”  

Brill also pointed out that it is vital to allow countries to tax corporations so big multi-national companies would not pay less in taxes than the women who are selling the same product. She wants G8 leaders to seriously look at ways to address this issue.

“The G8 is an incredible place to start because they have the power to make decisions. [One is how to create] a global protocol to ensure transparency for information from companies.  [Another is to have] a public registry for the beneficial owners of different companies so that countries have access to the information they need to tax fairly, corporations and individuals,” said Brill.

For Africa, a continent rich in mineral resources, how to best utilize its resources has always been a topic at the forefront of the G8 summits.

Ian Gary, senior policy manager of extractive industries at OXFAM International, said as a result of the UK government’s focus, world leaders will be taking a closer look at how to make better use of oil and mineral resources in Africa and other regions.   

“More than 1.5 billion people live on less than two-dollars a day in resource- rich countries, and a key to unlocking that wealth and reducing corruption and mismanagement is transparency. So what we’re expecting is a strong statement from the G8 leaders that mandatory disclosure requirement for payments that these companies make, should be a global standard,”  explained Gary.
So far, Gary said they have seen good progress in this area.

For example, in the US, the Dodd-Frank Act requires all companies that report to the US stock exchange to disclose their payments.  Also, he said this week, the European parliament approved a similar measure, and that the Canadian prime minister said he would support mandatory disclosure.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More