Next week, G8 leaders meet in L'Aquila,
Italy, amid the global economic crisis and some unfulfilled promises to the
developing world. As a result, some are
raising questions about the importance of the G8 summit.
Watt, head of public affairs and campaigns for the humanitarian agency World
Vision UK, spoketo VOA from Westminster, England, about the relevance of the
summit coming up next week is going to be a test of whether the G8 can continue
to demonstrate relevance. And to do that it's going to have to deliver
on the pledges that it's made, not least to the world's poorest countries," he
Promises made, promises not kept?
2005, at the Gleneagles Summit in Scotland, G8 leaders pledged to greatly
increase aid to the developing world.
Critics say many of those promises have not been met.
think there are probably different reasons in different G8 countries. I think in some countries it's been down to a
lack of political leadership. Some
countries don't necessarily have the same history of high-level commitment to
international development," he says.
says Italy, the summit host, was "lacking on its aid commitments well before
the current recession that's now being used as an alibi."
its part, Italy has placed aid to Africa high on the agenda at the L'Aquila
summit. Watt says the United States and
Britain have a good record of meeting their commitments or being on track to do
underscores the fact that these commitments are achievable," he says.
Two big challenges of health and aid
"The G8 have already made a number of
pledges to tackle the global health situation…to cut child deaths by two-thirds
by the year 2015…. The G8 has already come up with commitments, for example, in
2006 to pledge $60 billion in aid over five years to help address that," he
we're calling on the G8 to do is to actually fulfill those pledges. There are other challenges as well: the
commitment to ensure that everybody with HIV is on treatment…by the year 2015."
Keeping track of the G8
says a better accounting system is needed to check on whether G8 assistance
pledges have been met.
been a lot of discussion…about what's being called an accountability matrix….
There would be a tracking, country by country, where each of the G8 members is
in terms of fulfilling the pledges it's made to the poorer countries," he says.
he says both Italy and Germany are opposed to the idea, which means such a tracking
system may not be mentioned in the summit's final communiqué.
any basic accountability, it's very hard to actually really follow through on
these pledges and have transparency about what has and has not been done," he
calls Africa the G8's "litmus test" for the L'Aquila summit.
it's the poorest region of the world.
It's the region of the world where aid continues to play a very critical
role in enabling people to meet their most basic needs," he says.
like Ghana and Tanzania were only able to make great strikes in education and
health, he says, because of ""critical support from donor countries like the
United States…UK…France and Germany."
"Africa is the test bed. And it's the region where half of the aid
increase that was committed in 2005 (at Gleneagles) is supposed to be going,"