World leaders fall behind on existing promises on development, health and hungerSummit fails to address global food price crisis even as it pushes millions into povertyMay 27 2011, Deauville, France
—As Group of Eight leaders close their annual summit today, Christian humanitarian agency World Vision is concerned about the consequences of their failure to fulfill or bolster the impact of existing aid commitments, even as rising global food prices push millions of households further toward hunger and extreme poverty. The following are comments from Robert Zachritz, government relations director for World Vision in the U.S.:On Deauville G8 priorities:
“The Deauville G8
seeks to inspire us with the universal values of freedom and democracy; however it needed to be stronger on humanitarian values. Much more urgency was required around global hunger
and preventable child deaths.
“These summits set the course for critical decisions affecting what priorities world leaders will address and which they’ll set aside – in Deauville, they set aside development, health and hunger assistance for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children and mothers.”On Food Security and U.S. shortfalls:
“Regrettably, we are seeing the failure of the United States to move quickly on its promises to fight global hunger, as the G8 accountability report highlights. Only 5 percent of the U.S. commitment for global hunger was actually disbursed last year. That’s just $5 of every $100 pledged, in the first year of a three-year plan. This is not acceptable given the U.S. itself introduced and pushed this initiative at the 2009 G8 summit.”
“America’s humanitarian leadership abroad will be measured in part by whether we address the realities that send one in six people across the world to bed hungry every night.
“The G8 as a whole is still widely off-track on meeting the commitments under the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative introduced at the 2009 Summit.
“Two years into the three-year initiative, the group can report only 22% [one-fifth] of the total amount pledged has been disbursed, with an additional 26% ‘firmly on track’ to being disbursed. Together, this totals less than half of what should have been delivered.
“The assessments in last week’s Deauville Accountability Report fail to clarify how countries will fill the gap between promises and actual money for food and agriculture assistance to avoid a worsening global food crisis.”
“U.S. and world leaders must act swiftly to avoid a repeat of the global food crisis of 2008, which thrust an additional 100 million people worldwide into extreme poverty. Congress’ large proposed cuts to the U.S. international affairs budget would severely hamper America’s ability to adequately prepare for and respond to
major disasters and a global food crisis.”On key G8 humanitarian commitments:
“G8 meetings affect the health, well-being and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people living in poverty around the world – sometimes through action, but this time by leaving them off the main agenda.
“The leaders have passed up a chance to renew steps and fulfill funding commitments to advance the fight against global hunger and preventable child and maternal deaths. This is amid an unacceptable reality that 8 million children and 350,000 mothers die needlessly each year of preventable and treatable causes, and 925 million people lack enough to eat each day.”On Accountability:
“Leaders are stating the right principles when they affirm the importance of accountability and transparency on aid, but they again avoided specifics on concrete action and measuring impact on the lives of children and families struggling against poverty and disease.
“The communiqué is full of phrases like, ‘further efforts to push,’ and ‘Individual countries will proceed at their own pace,’ giving themselves a foggy, moving target.”
NOTES TO EDITOR:
· Every year since 1976, the heads of state of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia have been meeting to discuss the global economy, security and, increasingly, development issues. These leaders, known as the G8
(or Group of Eight), today close their annual summit in Deauville, France.
· G8 gatherings have been key events for announcing financial commitments for development, made jointly by individual countries.
· The world’s wealthiest governments pledged $22 billion in food security funding at the 2009 L’Aquila summit. The U.S. government, under President Barack Obama, led this initiative with a $3.5 billion commitment.About World VisionWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor -- regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews