The world is watching and won’t look away.
by Max Lawson, policy advisor at Oxfam.
So its all over- the leaders have left on their various planes, they are dismantling the 30 million dollar media centre, and we are all getting ready to go. So was it worth it? What did we get from the G8 in Japan? Why should campaigners around the world keep demanding that the G8 act?
Because this is a key moment of accountability where the eyes of the world are on the most powerful leaders, and they have to account for themselves. Because when the G8 act, millions of lives can be saved. Because if we were not constantly keeping up the pressure they would do even less than what they manage to do now.
This summit will be remembered as the G8 where leaders learned that they cannot quietly forget their commitments to the world’s poor. Without campaigners around the world and here in Japan they would have gotten away with portraying the target set for 50% cut in emissions by 2050 as a huge step forward on climate change. Instead it was clear to everyone that it was a very long way from what is needed and that they need to do much more, much sooner.
Without campaigners around the world demanding action and embarrassing them they would have quietly forgotten the promises they made in Gleneagles in 2005 to increase aid by $50 billion by 2010. Instead their officials were forced to stay up until 3.30am fighting and debating until the numbers were put back in.
We could have got more. We had the most attention ever on health, especially on the need for 4.25 million more nurses and doctors, but although the G8 recognised this crucial need we did not see signficant increases in aid for health, or significant commitment to co-ordinate aid behind developing country health plans.
On food, although we saw commitments of money, the G8 absolutely failed to tackle the major cause of the food crisis, biofuels, and the G8 still are getting away with burning food whilst poor people starve.
So what next? We will continue the fight into September, when world leaders meet again to discuss the Millennium Development Goals and again in December when they meet to discuss climate change. Because the world leaders need to know we’re watching them and expect them to deliver.