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CSOs wary of G8 meeting 0

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have hinted that the ‘Group of Eight’ (G8) meeting to be held between 26 and 27 May, in Deauville, France is likely not to meet the expectations of many people.

Speaking to Afronline, Deputy Director at ActionAid in Italy Luca De Fraia says: “ G8 leaders may seek to run away from issues like food security and agriculture development which need immediate attention.”

The Leaders of the top eight economies in the world are scheduled to attend the G8 Summit. In 2005, the heads of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States made a $50 billion aid promise to the world’s poorest people of which part of pledge was to halve poverty by 2015. But with only four years to go this is unlikely to be met with Africa being the most hit.

De Fraia says if progress has to be made a comprehensive approach is needed in order to address food security and agriculture development in Africa.

“ Better placed policies which centre on community farming in Africa must be on top of the agenda at a meeting like the G8. However this is not the case because the summit will be ‘over shadowed’ by issues which may not be even related to the problems the poor people are facing,” he says.

De Fraia also said that the G8 is not sincere in the way it is giving information on how its members are trying to meet their pledges.

“The reporting is not encouraging as it lacks quality. The other point is that the rate of disbursement is slow which is very worry.”

“ In 2009 the same leaders committed themselves to the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative but nothing seems to have come out. In the same line the initiative proposed to work in developing countries mostly in Africa through the Global Partnership for Food Security, all this is unlikely to be addressed in France.”

He also said it is important that meetings like the G8 and G20 blended agriculture development in the South with just trade policies coming from countries in the  North.

“It is important that developed countries open their markets unilaterally to the least developed countries and that there be binding commitments for aid-for-trade, so that developing countries can avail themselves of the opportunities provided by trade liberalisation.”

Meanwhile, Oxfam international in a press release dubbed “Will the G8 be just a ‘social network’?” has urged G8 leaders not to take people for granted as they arrive in France ahead of the Summit.

Spokesperson Emma Seery says that they need to show that they are not just a talking shop, and to Google their previous commitments to the world’s poor before making new ones.

“Does global poverty need to be the top hash tag to keep the G8’s attention?” “The G8 can’t wait for the billion people who go hungry every day to tweet about it before they get their promises to fight hunger and poverty back on track.”

A web campaign released today also says “ This year, the G8 must start by reaffirming their Gleneagles, L’Aquila and Muskoka commitments, and setting out an emergency plan to deliver the overall shortfall in aid promised of $19 billion… food insecurity in Africa is a matter of emergency.

Two years ago during the meeting in L’Aquila the G8 promised $25 billion to Africa. However only $11 billion has been delivered.

By Joe M. L. Kaluba – Afronline

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