Aid Groups Slam G8 Rhetoric, Press Countries to Meet Aid Targets

The G-8 leaders and heads of various organizations during the group's 37th summit in Deauville, France. Photo by: David Ohana / UN

Beyond aid plans for the Middle Eastern and North African countries, the final communique from G-8 leaders in Deauville, France, outlined their commitments to global efforts to improve health and food security. A number of international non-governmental organizations, however, criticized the communique for its vague language and lack of concrete targets.

>> G8 Eyes Up to $40B in Aid for MENA Countries

In the final communique, the G-8 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the maternal, newborn and child health initiative they launched in 2010, welcomed ongoing reform efforts at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, pledged to continue supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and welcomed the Patent Pool Initiative spearheaded by UNITAID in a bid to increase poor countries’ access to affordable generic medicines.

The leaders also called for a successful pledging conference for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, which will be held in June in London.

On food security, G-8 leaders said they would disburse or allocate the commitments they made in 2009 “in full by the end of our respective pledging period.”

G-8 countries have been under fire for missing their aid targets for 2010, as shown in reports released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and several non-governmental organizations.

An accountability report released by the G-8 recognized the countries’ shortfall, which totals some $19 billion. Meantime, the communique also commits G-8 leaders to improving the effectiveness of their aid programs and transparency of their aid information.

Tepid reactions

The comminique failed to generate a warm reaction from members of the international development community. A number of aid groups said they found the document lacking and pressed G-8 countries to fullfill their past aid promises.

“We welcome the G8 Deauville final communique and what it has to say about global health. The problem with these high-level processes is that the emphasis is on commitments and reports, not on actual results on the ground. The communique is heavy on rhetoric and light on a demonstration of real improvements in the health of women and children,” said Jeffrey L. Sturchio, president of the Global Health Council.

“The leaders have passed up a chance to renew steps and fulfill funding commitments to advance the fight against global hunger and preventable child and maternal deaths. This is amid an unacceptable reality that 8 million children and 350,000 mothers die needlessly each year of preventable and treatable causes, and 925 million people lack enough to eat each day,” according to Robert Zachritz, World Vision U.S.’s director for government relations.

“If Deauville is remembered at all – which is doubtful – it will be remembered as the summit that promised little and delivered even less. World leaders have got the right words, but until action is delivered, their dither and delay will continue to cost lives,” said Chris Page of World Vision U.K.

Others, meantime, raised concerns that the G-8’s pledge of massive economic aid to Middle East and North African countries would divert money away from other global development problems and priorities.

>> NGOs: MENA Region Aid Plan Should Not Affect Funds for Other Countries

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.