Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sachs calls for an accountable G-8

Jeffrey Sachs is calling on the G-8 to be accountable for it's string of broken promises, or else the institution and it's meetings will become meaningless. The G-8 plans on issuing an accountability report ahead of it's upcoming meeting, but Sachs doubts that even the report will change the minds.

From the Vancouver Sun, writer Juliet O'Neill recorded the teleconference that Sachs hosted on the subject.

If the G8 summit leaders don't make good on a litany of broken multi-billion-dollar pledges to help the world's poor, the credibility of the annual gathering of industrialized countries will be shot, renown economist Jeffrey Sachs said Wednesday.

His comments came as G8 officials prepared to release an "accountability" report, expected Sunday, in which summiteers come clean on dozens of empty or unfulfilled promises from past summits, ranging from doubling aid for Africa to establishing a food security fund for small farmers.

His blunt assessment of what Prime Minister Stephen Harper hopes will be remembered as the "accountability summit" in Huntsville, Ont. June 25-26 included some sharp words about Canada's own "disappointing" record on development aid dating back about eight years. He said Canada has not fulfilled its own targets or shown leadership.

A pledge at last year's G8 in L'Aquila, Italy for a new $20 billion fund for food security has less than $880 million in the pipeline, Sachs said. The pledge to double aid to Africa is $20 billion short by the G8's own accounting. A target of universal access to medicine for people with HIV by 2010 is not within sight.

"Frankly I'm not so sure whether the G8 is really going to hold itself accountable," Sachs, an adviser to the United Nations secretary general and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, told reporters in a teleconference from Washington. "That would be quite unusual for politicians and it remains to be seen."

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