19 MAY 2012
G8 to poor countries: It’s not you, it’s me
At Camp David, leaders of the world’s richest countries fail to renew vows on global food security
As the Camp David G8 Summit winds down, international agency Oxfam criticized G8 leaders for failing to renew measureable funding and policy commitments to help address global food security. Leaders were unwilling to continue current efforts to invest in developing country agriculture, even as they set a new goal of helping 50 million people lift themselves out of poverty through agriculture by 2015.
“As if they are using the classic break up line, ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ the G8 is walking away from the agreement struck in Italy just three years ago,” said Oxfam’s Gregory Adams. “Breaking up is never easy, but the G8’s unwillingness to sustain their promises comes as the challenges facing poor people around the world are only getting harder.”
While members of the private sector featured prominently in G8 discussions, the concerns of smallholder farmers who are the key to food security were not at the table. Concerned with the direction of the G8’s efforts on food security, a number of African civil society leaders have asked the G8 to stick to the plans drawn up in L’Aquila.
“The G8 made a commitment in 2009 to stand with developing countries for better or for worse,” said Oxfam’s Lamine Ndiaye. “Poor countries have presented the G8 country-led, sustainable, and coordinated plans for food security and agricultural development, but today the G8 gave them the cold shoulder.”
In one summit bright spot, a handful of countries made much-needed pledges to the tune of $1.2 billion to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), the multi-donor fund that invests directly in country plans. Oxfam urged the rest of the G8 to follow suit, channeling all pledges through the public sector window.
“The GAFSP has been running on fumes and will certainly benefit from the announced injection of resources,” said Adams.
As the shutters close in Camp David, Oxfam turns its attention to the G20 in Los Cabos, calling for concrete action to fix the broken food system. Attention also shifts towards the UK, which will host the next G8 Summit.
“Along with the US, the UK deserves credit for sticking to its overall aid commitments and those made at L'Aquila to address global hunger,” said Adams. “And as chair of next year's G8, it is the UK’s turn to raise the level of ambition and deliver a partnership with developing countries to tackle the scandal that sees one in seven people going hungry.”