G8 Italy 2009 - Partnership sends open letter to Leaders
BLOG: Leora Hanser - Save the Children, Head of Campaigns
9 July 2009 |Rome - The G8 leaders are meeting merely metres away from the International Press Centre and yet we as NGOs and the press only learn of their activities by watching the closed-circuit televisions in the press room and through behind-the-scenes contact with government staff and aides. Thus, when the Africa and Development Communiqué came out at the end of the first day of the Summit, we were a little surprised, if not shocked. How much time had they actually spent debating our issues? On content, Save the Children
There was some encouraging news on accountability of aid commitments. Developing countries, civil society and the public can track G8 aid promises but even then, there is a sense that it’s too little, too late. The deadline for the Gleneagles targets is next year. On this final day, Obama announced a new initiative on agriculture subsidy for developing countries. This is money to support farming so that people can be more self-sufficient and rely on their own resources. It is an encouraging change of direction but on its own it will not do enough to break the cycles of famine.
While there were no new financial commitments, there is some hope in the "warm support" for the consensus on maternal, newborn and child health. By prioritising these topics together, not separately, and by being clear that action needs to be delivered through government health systems and to ensure access for the poor, it offers a strong basis for future action. Save the Children is keen to help build this into something big.
There is definitely a cycle where, at the end of the G8, the NGO community leaves disappointed but with the constant hope that next year will be better. As we all know well, 2010 is a crucial year for the Millennium Development Goals, the last chance to renew commitment and action towards their achievement. We know that if we leave it to the G8 on their own, it will not happen.