G8 2008 Summit: Broken Promises, Africa Agenda & Shifting MDG Goals


Steve Dii

Steve Dii

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Steve Dii

Steve Dii

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The G8 summit of industrialised nations opens in Toyako on the Japanese island of Hokkaido Today. The issues likely to dominate the talks.


Tough times ahead
By Economics Correspondent Andrew Walker



When these summits were first conceived by a smaller group of countries in the 1970s, the world economy was the main focus. In the intervening years, the agenda has become much wider, but this time economic troubles have forced their way back to centre stage.

There are some similarities with those grim days - although it's important not to exaggerate the parallels. Back then, there was an oil crisis, rising inflation and weak economic growth, or at times, none.



Today those concerns are back. Energy and food prices have pushed inflation up. The international credit crisis has weakened economic growth, though in most economies it has not been extinguished, so far at least. The latest spike in oil prices could aggravate both problems. It adds to inflation, hits company profits and leaves consumers with less to spend on other things.


What can the G8 do about the oil price? Probably not very much. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has some ideas about reducing the world's dependence on oil. They might help in time, but not in the next couple of years.


On inflation, central banks are in charge. The European Central Bank has already made a start by raising interest rates in the last week. Others have hinted they may follow. It is not the best time to be doing it. Slowing economic growth normally calls for lower interest rates. The US Federal Reserve has cut rates, but it looks like its next move will be an increase.
The G8 leaders will wrestle with all these problems and no doubt come up with some ideas. But ultimately they - and we - will probably just have to hold tight for an uncomfortable ride.



Rising food prices
By international development correspondent David Loyn



The food price crisis has narrowed to one specific request to the G8 - funding for an ambitious aid programme to boost agriculture in the world's poorest nations so that they can feed themselves.

It is the first time for many decades that agricultural investment has taken centre stage in this way, and the presence of leaders of the largest economies in Africa and Asia at the margins of the summit will help to focus attention on the issue.


Beyond the aid demand the food price issue will also tie in with the big economic concern that is central to the deliberations - tackling soaring oil prices.


The price of oil is the main cause of volatility in food prices.
This summit is unlikely to discuss other causes, in particular the role of biofuels, denied by the US despite increasing evidence that the rush to plant crops for fuel has been a major contributory factor in the high cost of food.


The summit is likely to try to provide political impetus towards breaking the logjam in world trade talks.


A round of negotiations to provide a new regime of trade rules was launched in Doha in 2001 - designed to be a "round for the poor".
Success should make it easier for poor nations to export agricultural products, while opening up China and India to increased trade.


Success in this could have more impact than an aid package in enabling development in some of the poorest countries in the world.


But protectionist pressures tend to rise during hard times, and at the time of the highest rise in food prices - at the start of the year - major exporting countries imposed export restrictions.
The G8 will be asked to oppose these moves.

Africa's broken promises
By BBC World Service Africa editor Martin Plaut



Both the leaders of the industrialised world - the G8 - and the presidents of Africa are failing to keep the promises they made at Gleneagles summit in Scotland in 2005.
The deal made there was simple:

  • The G8 promised to double aid by 2010, increasing aid to Africa by $25bn (£12.5bn)
  • Africa promised to end the cycle of coups, crises and corruption that have blighted the continent
Neither have kept their word.


Although there has been substantial progress on cancelling Africa's debt, progress on aid has fallen behind schedule.


According to aid campaigners, the G8 has increased aid to Africa by only about a quarter of the $25bn promised.


Worse still, according to a draft communique obtained by the UK's Financial Times newspaper, the G8 leaders plan to commit themselves to fulfilling "our commitments on [development aid] made at Gleneagles" - at their meeting in Japan, but will fail to cite the target of $25bn annually by 2010.


Continuing conflicts

Expressing her concern, the head of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking said: "We cannot allow G8 leaders to view current global crises as an excuse to lower ambitions and push back on the poverty agenda."


But Africa has also failed. Since 2005 only one country has become truly democratic, according to the Africa Panel, established after Gleneagles.
There are also continuing conflicts in Somalia, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and border crises between Chad and Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.


At last week's Africa Union summit in Egypt, the continent's heads of state failed to impose any sanctions against the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, despite its own monitors declaring that the recent elections failed to meet democratic standards.

Other business
By Diplomatic Correspondent James Robbins




Although this Summit is dominated by crises in the world economy and the threat from climate change, leaders also have to confront a range of other challenges. The most prominent are:


NORTH KOREA:


The leaders are expected to repeat a call from G8 foreign ministers urging North Korea to "fully cooperate" in the verification of its nuclear declaration and settle the issue of the country's past abductions of Japanese nationals. That remains a major concern of Japan.


This summit is also expected to call on North Korea to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes as well as ballistic missile programmes."


ZIMBABWE:


The White House says it believes leaders will "strongly condemn" the Zimbabwe government of President Robert Mugabe in their official communiqué.


"I think the G8 will strongly condemn what Mugabe has done,"
Dennis Wilder, the National Security Council's senior director for Asia told reporters aboard Air Force One as President George W. Bush was on his way to Japan.


"It will strongly condemn the legitimacy of his government and his governing of Zimbabwe."


But questions remain over Russia's willingness to agree to strong criticism, fearing that it could make it harder to resist UN sanctions.
A powerful statement on Zimbabwe is regarded as vital by Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who has taken a leading role alongside the US in condemning the brutal violence of President Mugabe's regime to cling to power after recent elections.
Source : BBC News

SteveD.
 
Steve Dii

Steve Dii

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G8 to hear sanitation cash plea


By Mark Doyle
BBC News


The charity Water Aid is telling the G8 summit in Japan that investing in sanitation would be the single most effective way to cut child deaths.


Water Aid is lobbying the summit with a new report that says 40% of the world's population lack even basic sanitation.


This kills more children than malaria, HIV/Aids and measles combined, it says.


The report cites 19th Century England as an example where investment in sewers and piped water brought huge falls in child mortality.


There was a similar positive experience in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, in the 1940s.


Current research in South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia suggests a similar big impact for investment in sanitation.


Water Aid says that historically and medically this investment gives the greatest public health returns of any development initiative.

Millennium goals


Lack of toilets and bad habits by people with few choices are primary causes of diarrhoea and respiratory diseases, the two biggest killers of children in poor countries.


Water Aid says world leaders, at the G8 Summit and in the Third World, should focus on the issue of toilets and sanitation and not respond to other issues that get the most press attention or the most celebrity endorsements.


It is something G8 leaders may reflect upon during comfort breaks in the no doubt gleaming and efficient toilet facilities at their summit in Japan.
Improving access to toilets and providing clean piped water are part of the Millennium Development goals set by all world leaders at the turn of the century.


They pledged to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to decent sanitation by the year 2015.


On current progress, according to Water Aid, that target will not be met in sub-Saharan Africa until the year 2076.
Source: BBC News

SteveD.
 
Masanja

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Masanja

Masanja

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StevD, umeniwahi nilikuwa nataka niweke huu mjadala wa G8 na mustakabali wa bara letu la Africa. Ingawa umeweka quotations za BBC nilitaka tulijadili hili on serious note.

Hivi do you really think kwamba G8 they OWE us anything? nimeona watu wanaandamana, waafrika wakilalamika nk. Lakini hebu tujiulize...do we have a compelling case to make to these people meeting in Japan? Jk na maraisi wengine wamekaribishwa Hokkaido, do you expect any difference?

I will appreciate kupata maoni ya wadau hapa JF kuhusu hii G8 na jinsi watu tunavyoona kwamba they have promises to keep especially for Africans. I for one, I will be very interested to see how people view the whole notion of G8 summit and Africa. Nitarudi ngoja nitafute mkate wa leo
 
Steve Dii

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Steve Dii

Steve Dii

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Masanja, in simplistic and technicalness, G8 owes us nothing!! But as people of the world and entirety in human interaction, the holistic verdict is that - THEY OWE US BIG TIME.

Being the first to get "there" don't mean you forget others are in need and/or want to get there.... If you are conscious enough, you'll make sure you do your best to assist them get there. Since you (the already prosperous) and them (the walalahoi) both believe in one form of prosperity called maendeleo kwa jamii, watu wake na mazingira.

Mfano mmoja ambao naweza kusema kuwa hawa G8 wanahaja kubwa ya kusaidia walionyuma ni kwamba, imagine kama export of raw material kutoka Africa na kwingineko ambako maliasili yote inayoleta maendeleo huko kwao ingesitishwa.... yaani kuwepo na mgomo mmojawapo wa kama ule tunaousikia ile miaka ya sabini ulitaka kuanzishwa na Saudi Arabia kuhusiana na mafuta.... sasa leo hii hebu imagine Africa igome kutoa machimbo ya aluminium, uranium, mafuta, vyakula, n.k... hayo maendeleo wanayoyapata yatakuwepo kweli?!

Hapo mfano wangu juu ni sawa au unalingana na upuuzi ya viongozi na watu binafsi unaofanywa hapa kwetu.... watu wananunua mashangingi kwa ajili ya mabarabara mabovu... how stupid that is!! Tengeneza mabarabara kwanza, then excess nunua magari ya kifahari... this is towards the government policy.

Sasa, huwezi ukajiita wewe tajiri na unakula kuku na ukaonekana una la maana wakati jirani yako anashinda kwa mlo mmoja. It's just not in human....but we're so unfortunately that there are human with such thinking!!

I hope nimejaribu kujibu kidogo walau kwa kifupi..

SteveD.
 

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