British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the UK-chaired G8 summit next June will be held in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland. In a blog earlier this month, ONE’s Adrian Lovett set five tests for Cameron in 2013, the third of which was using the UK’s G8 presidency to help ensure that ours is the generation that eradicates extreme poverty.
In his announcement, Cameron lay out three G8 development strands, building on his ‘golden thread’ narrative: advancing trade; ensuring tax compliance; and promoting greater transparency. As you may have read elsewhere on the ONE Blog, the golden thread is a distinct approach to poverty reduction which argues that if societies are to move from poverty to prosperity, they need to have the right institutions and governance arrangements in place, with people empowered to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that they face in their daily lives.
Cameron expanded on this in an op-ed on Wednesday, in which he said that “as more and more countries attract investment, exploit their natural resources and expand their tax base, Africa’s development prospects increasingly rest on its ability to harness domestic resources for the benefit of all”, and that “there are several ways the G8 can uniquely support this process, advancing transparency in order to empower citizens to take charge of their own destiny.” We couldn’t agree more. Greater transparency – of aid flows from donors, of government budgets, of tax and illicit finance, and within the extractives industry – is central to this. And what’s more, we expect G8 leaders to put their own houses in order, including looking at tax havens and the recovery of stolen assets within their own countries.
In addition to the golden thread focus, Cameron will host a high-level food and nutrition event just ahead of the G8, building on this year’s Olympic hunger summit. The New Alliance, launched at the 2012 G8 in Camp David, committed to lifting 50 million out of poverty through investment in agriculture. Next June, leaders must enhance and expand the New Alliance if we are to make progress towards this goal. Donors must also commit to backing African governments’ agriculture plans with the necessary resources, as well as enhancing nutrition.
We are hopeful that making real progress on trade, tax and transparency could pass the third test that Adrian has set. There is certainly real potential. Northern Ireland’s recent history has demonstrated how bleak prospects and endemic pessimism can be overcome within a generation with the right combination of time, resources and political will. For the goal of ending extreme poverty, we need the same ingredients. This is Adrian’s fifth test: whether Cameron – and other G8 leaders – are prepared to invest the necessary time, resources and political will.
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