Thursday, July 02, 2009

Comment: World Vision's wishes for next weeks G-8

With the G-8 meeting in Italy next week, aid organizations around the world are making their voices heard on what they would like to see done. Advocacy campaigns director for World Vision Patrick Watt, has written an opinion that the G-8 needs to firm up their commitments to aid that they made back in 2005.

From The Huffington Post, we find this snippet of Watt's commentary

Four years on, what was dubbed a 'Marshall Plan' for Africa in 2005 risks disintegrating into a partial plan:

* While non-G8 donors, responsible for a quarter of the total aid increase, are delivering on their side of the deal, aid from the G8 countries has actually fallen. So far, G8 countries have raised aid by just one third of the total they pledged in 2005.
* Italy, the host nation, continues to slash its aid spending, and now gives less than a fifth of one per cent of its national income to poverty reduction.

Failure to deliver on recent promises will cost the G8 heavily in terms of credibility. But more importantly, it threatens a huge social cost at a time when the global recession is hitting low-income countries hardest.

The World Bank estimates that as many as 2.8 million additional child deaths could result between now and 2015 unless urgent action is taken to mitigate the impact of the economic slowdown on household income and public spending.

Some G8 countries -- most notably Italy -- have suggested that the fiscal squeeze in Europe and North America makes delivery of current pledges unaffordable. But on closer scrutiny this is a flimsy alibi: the global aid increase promised by 2010 is equivalent to just 2% of the total stimulus package announced for G8 countries at the London G20, and would be equivalent to about 1% of public spending in most EU member states.

Inaction by the G8 is the real unaffordable luxury, not least from the perspective of the 9.2 million children who continue to die each year from easily preventable disease. Where the G8 has delivered additional aid for areas such as health, it has made a lasting and positive impact.

A 90% reduction in deaths from measles in Africa since 2001, and provision of life-saving antiretroviral drugs for 4 million people with HIV and AIDS would not have been possible without the support of G8 countries. This is a platform that needs to be built on when the G8 meet in L'Aquila, not squandered.

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