G8 Releases Accountability Report, Gets Flak Over Food Security Aid

Leaders during the first day of the G-8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy in 2009. Two prime ministers - Japan's Taro Aso, left, and Britain's Gordon Brown, third from the right - have since been replaced by Naoto Kan and David Cameron, respectively. Photo by: Maurizio Brambatti / G8 website

The progress of G-8 member countries and the European Union in meeting their aid commitments is mixed, with some countries meeting or surpassing their targets and others falling behind schedule, according to an accountability report released ahead of this week’s G-8 and G-20 summits in Canada.

The Muskoka Accountability Report – which tracks G-8 performance in implementing key development-related obligations, assesses the results of G-8 actions and identifies lessons that can be applied for future reporting – was released by the G-8 summit’s Canadian leadership amid fresh criticism on the status of the group’s aid commitments.

 “Overall there is a good story to tell,” the report states. “In some areas, the G-8 can point to considerable success; in others, it has further to go to fully deliver on its promises.”

On its goal of increasing development assistance by USD50 billion a year by 2010, the report says the G-8 is “four-fifths of the way towards the target.” An earlier report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stated that the G-8 is three-fifths of the way to the USD50 billion goal. The Muskoka report used current USD values while the OECD report used constant USD 2004 values.

Meanwhile, international organization ActionAid has accused the G-8 of “frittering away desperately needed money to fight poverty and hunger on dubious projects that include navy patrol boats in Nicaragua.”

“Rich countries cannot honestly expect the world to believe that giving boats to the Nicaraguan navy or investing in biofuels in Africa will put food into the mouths of hungry people or help save the lives of the 4.4 million children who die because of hunger-related illnesses every year, said Meredith Alexander,” the head of G-8 policy at ActionAid.

In new report, ActionAid said that the details of the USD22 billion food security initiatives announced by the G-8 leaders in their meeting in L’Aquila in 2009 “remain shrouded in mystery.”

The international organization noted that while some countries such as the U.S. has made new pledges to boost agriculture in the developing world, decreases in agriculture assistance made by the European Union and Japan is pulling down the G-8’s overall record.

In their meeting this week in Muskoka, ActionAid is urging G-8 leaders to establish a transparent and clear timeline for the delivery of the USD22 billion pledged in L’Aquila, create a plan to operationalize the country-led approach to food security they promised in the same summit and work out approaches that directly involve developing countries in the formulation of techniques and strategies. ActionAid also urged G-8 leaders to support the development of an action-oriented global fund to address global hunger during the September U.N. summit on the Millennium Development Goals.

About the author

  • 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.