Welcome. Join Us.
On July 8-10, the G8 met in L'Aquila, Italy. This year's Summit included the G8 heads of states, as well as leaders of major emerging economies and key international organizations. During the event, world leaders discussed the global economy, development, climate change, trade and international politics. African leaders joined the Summit on the final day to discuss the implications of the financial crisis, and a broader group met soon after to tackle the issue of food security.
A total of seven documents were approved during this year's G8 Summit. One of the most significant agreements reached was the joint Declaration on Global Food Security, referred to as the "L'Aquila Food Security Initiative" (AFSI). With strong U.S. leadership, 40 government heads and international organizations committed to providing US$20 billion over three years to help farmers in poor countries boost productivity, signalling a new focus on sustainable agricultural investment previously absent from G8 communiqués.
The G8 also published a preliminary accountability report that monitored implementation of past G8 development commitments and agreed to establish a senior level working group tasked with creating a clear accountability framework that would further examine the progress of G8 pledges. The report is scheduled to be delivered at the 2010 G8 Summit in Canada.
In other sectors (including health and education), the G8 mostly reiterated previous commitments. And, despite prominent climate change discussions, participants agreed to put off future decisions until the UN Copenhagen conference in December.
1. OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE (ODA) DELIVERY
ONE welcomed the G8's new efforts to improve transparency and accountability of their commitments, and looks forward to the comprehensive data that will hopefully be provided in the final full report. The preliminary report provided a look at the main results found by G8 Expert Groups on Food Security, Water, Health and Education, and while some sectors (such as food security) offered clear information on G8 members' commitments and disbursements, other sectors did not provide comparable data. The preliminary report also failed to show the G8's progress in delivering on their 2005 ODA commitments.
ONE also remained somewhat concerned that the "whole of country" approach-or the total amount of public and private resources that flows into a country (including official development assistance, trade, investments, remittances and private sector funding)-might become a smokescreen for countries to escape from their ODA targets. ONE agreed that there was a need to better ensure that all types of involvements from a country (central and local governments, private sector, civil society) could effectively contribute to international development. But, the 'whole of country' approach must not divert from the government's responsibility to deliver on their promises.
At the last minute, text was also inserted that called for a global assessment before next year's Summit of what the G8 needed to do in order to achieve the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. The G8 stated that it was their "responsibility" to push forward the achievement of the MDGs, particularly in Africa. This language could provide an opportunity to create a plan that clearly outlines how to achieve substantial progress on the MDGs in the next five years.
As hosts of the 2009 G8 Summit, ONE called on the Italian government to take action on their past promises. While their L'Aquila commitments did not come close to making up for the €411 million they cut in aid, Italian leaders vaguely promised to create a plan that would get them back on track to meet their global 2005 Gleneagles commitments (0.33% by 2010 and 0.51% GNI/ODA by 2013). Given the recent history of cuts, ONE remains concerned about whether Italy will follow up on these modest promises.
To improve the effectiveness of ODA, ONE called on the G8 countries to publish operational plans that would explain how they intended to implement the AAA. While the G8 stated that they would "accelerate implementation of [their] aid effectiveness commitments," and review the issue again at the 2011 Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness," they did not commit to publishing concrete plans.
Lending Capacities of International Financial Institutions
At the Summit, the G8 stated that it was fulfilling its commitment to provide resources to the IMF. The group also said that they were exploring ways to make loans more concessional to low-income countries. However, the G8 were unable to make concrete progress on proposals made by the G20 and the IMF/World Bank earlier in the year, in particular, failing to specify that the IMF must provide lending to the world's poorest without imposing burdensome economic conditions and putting them at longer-term risk of unsustainable debt.
The G8 also "welcomed" the actions being taken by the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to respond to the global crisis and said that they would consider additional financing needs.
The G8 should provide $25 billion over three years (an extra $5 billion in 2010, scaling up to $10 billion annually by 2012) for medium and long-term agricultural initiatives in Africa. The proposals should support technically sound, accountable, country-led plans that work with African-led initiatives, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), a program of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
At the Summit, leaders of the G8, emerging economies, African countries, and international organizations signed the "L'Aquila Food Security Initiative" (AFSI), outlining their common vision and approach to global food security. Signers of the initiative agreed to globally mobilize US$20 billion over three years through a "coordinated, comprehensive strategy" that "focused on sustainable agriculture development."
Prior to the Summit, the deal was expected to amount to US$15 billion over three years-yet at the last minute, the figure rose to US$20 billion. It is still unclear how much of the promised US$20 billion is new money, how much money several of the individual country and organizations will contribute and whether 2008 or 2009 will be counted as the first year of this three-year initiative. The U.S. has indicated that it intends to double its assistance over the three years of the initiative, providing a total of approximately US$3.5 billion, Canada announced that it will contribute $600 million new money bringing its total, including food aid, to $1.18 billion by 2011 and the UK said that it will contribute US$1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) and Italy pledged $450 million over three years. ONE has now called for all governments to come forward with concrete funding plans that offer specific details about delivery dates, whether the funding is additional to previous commitments, and what proportion of the funding will go towards Africa, and how the funding will be disbursed (towards multilateral funding or bilateral assistance).
ONE was also greatly encouraged by both the initiative's emphasis on agricultural development assistance, rather than just emergency food aid and by its call for greater effectiveness in agricultural aid. The plan highlighted the need for improved "coordination of financing mechanisms" and ONE has called for progress on global coordination of these funds by the time of the September G20 Summit in Pittsburgh. The G8 Communiqué also supported the High Level Task Force on Global Food Security and the Comprehensive Framework for Action. This showed the G8's commitment towards coordinating and implementing the Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security-building on the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and a reformed Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-by 2009.
A section of this year's G8 communiqué also used robust language to focus on promoting global food security. The statement called for a comprehensive strategy that would include short, medium, and long-term initiatives to support agricultural production. These plans would include rural agricultural development, post-harvest initiatives, safety-net programs, nutrition, rural infrastructure development, market integration, private-sector engagement and employment creation. The statement also called for support for women and smallholder farmers and a commitment to environmental sustainability.
A few health statements published by the G8 were encouraging: ONE welcomed the G8's acknowledgement that progress towards Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 (reduced child mortality and improved maternal health) were off track-especially in Africa. ONE was also optimistic about signals of concerted G8 efforts to assist African countries in strengthening their health systems so that key health interventions can be delivered effectively and efficiently. ONE is also supportive of accelerating progress on reaching the health MDGs through a comprehensive and integrated approach which focuses on maximizing synergies between global health initiatives and health systems and includes implementing further efforts toward universal access for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, addressing child and maternal health, malaria, TB, and polio, monitoring emerging infectious diseases and raising awareness of neglected tropical diseases and non-communicable diseases.
However, the communiqué also raised several concerns. Even though the G8 played a critical role in launching the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, there is no mention of how the G8 will help to fill the Fund's US$3 billion funding gap. In addition, while the G8 stated they will implement efforts to reach universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, no specific steps were outlined. And while the G8 once again reiterated their 2007 commitment to provide US$60 billion to fight infectious diseases and improve health systems, this money remains inadequate to achieve the G8's health outcome commitments.
The G8 also did not strongly recommend exploring innovative financing options. Rather, they acknowledged the work of the Leading Group and the recommendations of the High Level Task Force on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems, and mentioned that a few G8 countries were considering specific recommendations.
4. CLIMATE CHANGE
The G8 emphasized its leadership in the fight against climate change, but failed to back their commitment up with specific targets. Much of the language simply reiterated previous goals and reaffirmed the issue's importance in global development, even in light of the economic crisis. The G8 stated that they were "deeply concerned about the consequences of climate change on development, ecosystem services, water and food security, agricultural output, forests, health and sanitation." They pledged to support "the development of positive incentives to promote emission reductions" by reducing "deforestation and forest degradation" in developing countries, and affirmed that "all countries except for the least developed countries (LDCs) should participate in the financial effort to tackle climate change." And while the G8 recognized the need to mobilize "financing for developing countries through a broad range of financial sources, including financial assistance," they failed to commit to any concrete funding for adaptation or mitigation assistance.
The G8 also reiterated "the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050," but no interim targets were set. Further discussions were pushed back until the September G20 Summit in Pittsburgh and the December UN conference in Copenhagen.
The G8 Communiqué noted that progress had been made towards achieving $4 billion in trade-related assistance by 2010, and the group welcomed a focus on the effectiveness and results of current aid for trade initiatives-particularly those aimed at least developed countries. The G8 also called for stronger regional integration and encouraged developing countries to make trade a part of their national development strategy. But none of this language was new; the G8 failed to make progress towards a more ambitious commitment on aid for trade.
The G8 and several other major economies, including Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Republic of Korea and South Africa, also agreed to "seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion" to the WTO Doha Development Round by the end of 2010. The group instructed their trade ministers to immediately explore all possible avenues for direct engagement with the WTO and ordered them to meet prior to the G20 Pittsburgh Summit. The "mini-ministerial" will likely take place in New Delhi on September 3-4, bringing together trade ministers from up to 30 countries.
It must be noted, however, that similar high-level Doha promises have been made before-without any results. World leaders have continuously called for a quick end to the global trade talks that began in 2001, but progress has been slow and deadlines have been missed. If the Doha Development Round is to be completed by 2010, participants must ensure that the talks produce a deal that integrates poor African countries into the global trading system.
The G8 once again stated that a healthy, vibrant and competitive private sector is crucial to promoting growth and achieving poverty reduction. They also commended the work of the Investment Climate Facility (ICF) for Africa and welcomed progress made by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA), the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, and other bilateral financing initiatives. However, the G8 failed to make any new, specific commitments.
Once again, the G8 said that "no country seriously committed to EFA [Education for All] will be thwarted in its achievement due to lack of resources." And while the G8 stated their support for the Education for All-Fast Track Initiative (FTI) and reaffirmed their commitment to pursue funding to help fill the FTI's funding gap, they failed to specify what their contributions would be.
ONE also called for the G8 to commit to establishing a Global Fund for Education-the next step in the evolution of the FTI partnership-and while the G8 pledged to help implement the FTI reform process, there was no specific mention of an expanded multilateral mechanism. The G8 did, however, welcome major global campaigns to promote educational support, such as the FIFA World Cup in 2010. ONE hopes that these campaigns will help make major advances in 2010 towards donor assistance and coordination on global education.
8. WATER AND SANITATION
The G8 and African leaders issued a joint statement on water issues for the very first time, expressing their determination to increase access to clean water and sanitation. The statement reasserted that African countries - under the leadership of the AU's African Minister's Council on Water (AMCOW) and in partnership with the G8 - will continue its efforts to make water-related MDGs a top development priority, to create a national water and sanitation plan and to institute a clear financial structure. The agreement, however, did not outline concrete steps on how to implement the partnership.
The G8 also committed to strengthen support for existing plans that promote access to clean water and sanitation (such as the Evian Water Action Plan), but the group failed to commit to any hard numbers.
The G8 again stated their support of the African Union's pledge to improve governance, including through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) African Peer Review Mechanism. The G8 also stated its continued support of programs such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) (a program that sets a global standard for transparency in oil, gas and mining), the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) (particularly in combating the illegal trade of timber) and the Kimberley Progress (an international initiative that ensures that diamond trade does not fund violence). The G8 again urged countries to adhere to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
The G8 welcomed the 2009 launch of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and called for improved financial and legal systems that could provide necessary tax reforms and allow for better international cooperation in the fight against tax evasion. The G8 also reiterated previous commitments on the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and pledged their support for anti-corruption measures, including the Stolen Asset Rec