What we don’t like, and this feeling is widespread among civil society representatives here, is the indisputable fact that the G8 has not come close to meeting past commitments. In fact, The DATA Report, the most credible source of information on this subject http://one.org/international/datareport2009/, says that the G8 had delivered only one-third of all assistance increases it had promised to deliver to Africa by the end of 2010 (in an earlier blog, I write about this in more detail). The Council calls on the G8 to get serious about living up to its previous commitments and doing it in a measurable and transparent way.
I must hasten to add, though, that the U.S. is one of the least guilty of the G8 members on this score. The DATA Report points out that the U.S. increased its assistance to Africa by 26% in 2008, a significant increase that outpaced the global average of 16%, and is now on track to meet or even exceed its 2010 target. It may surprise many that former President George W. Bush can take much credit for this astonishing turn of events.
However, the NGOs represented at the G8, largely European, were not pleased with the communique’s language on global health, water and sanitation, climate change, education, and the economy as laid out in a letter to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the other seven G8 leaders earlier this week.
“The communiqué is pretty disappointing with no real new initiatives or recognition of the dire state of the progress to meeting their previous commitments,” said Kel Currah, chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty G8 Working Group, which represents a broad cross-section of NGOs at the G8. “On the good side, they did produce an accountability annex but again, this was only for a few of their commitments and there are a lot of holes in the report.”