Nov 3rd, 2011 12:49 PM UTC
By Sara Kianpour
The G20 summit is officially starting today in Cannes, at 12 pm CET.
So far, France, which chairs the Summit this year, has called for a common and sustainable dynamic for development. However, tensions about the Euro crisis may overshadow action against global poverty at this year’s conference.
“Development will be a second major challenge for the G20. I want our dual presidency (G8 and G20) to make Africa its priority”
Nicolas Sarkozy said at his press conference in January 2011.
However following recent events in Greece, this morning after a bilateral meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama said that their most important task for the next two days is to solve the Eurozone crisis.
Does it mean that development will be, once again, the “poor kid” of the summit?
Our team is on the ground in Cannes and will regularly update us on the summit. Stay tuned, we will update this blog throughout the conference. We’ve also put together a list of people tweeting updates which you can follow for minute by minute reports.
Gates offers relief from Greek tragedy and puts Africa centre stage – Bill Gates has published a report on development and has urged G20 leaders to embrace his “bold formula”
Nov 1st, 2011 5:48 PM UTC
By Sara Kianpour
The “F-word” resonated loudly last night in Paris as anti-poverty campaign group ONE teamed up with the City of Paris to send a shocking message to G20 leaders, who are meeting later this week in Cannes. The square of the Paris Town Hall was plunged in complete darkness while ONE’s “F-Famine” and “A future without famine” videos were projected onto the wall of the Town Hall.
On the eve of the G20 summit in Cannes, hundreds of members of ONE, along with a few celebrities including Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Friedreric Diefenthal, gathered on the steps of the Hôtel de Ville in Paris to recall on world leaders that if the drought is an act of nature, famine is man-made.
With the exceptional support of the City of Paris, the latest clips of ONE, called “F-Word: Famine is the real obscenity” and “A future without famine” were projected onto the walls of City Hall, first in their French version and the English version.
The names of over 400,000 ONE members who have signed the petition calling on G20 leaders to break the cycle of famine were also projected on the building in the center of Paris. This exceptional mobilization was living proof of all ONE Members’ voices calling our leaders to make sure people are hungry no more.
As Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, said : “Today we are reach 7 billion worldwide. The challenges of population growth are numerous but one that is particularly urgent is food. A few days before the G20 I seize on this occasion to call for global mobilization against hunger…”
At ONE, we hope that the voice of all our members will be heard and strong commitments will be taken and actions implemented by the G20 leaders.
It’s not to late to add your voice to the 400,000 people who have signed the Hunger no More petition
Oct 18th, 2011 11:15 PM UTC
By Sara Kianpour
Photo courtesy of GirlsandWomen.com.
The second edition of the G(irls)20 Summit opened today in Paris, and will run until October 21. Because girls and women are half of humanity and are always the first affected by the different global challenges, this international summit is dedicated to women and to solutions they can provide to major global economic issues. The G(irls)20 is an integral part of the international campaign “3.3 Billion Ways,” based on the assumption that the planet has 3.3 billion women and therefore, there are 3.3 billion ways to change the world!
The G(irls)20 brings together female citizens, aged 18 to 20, from each G20 country and a representative of the African Union, bringing the number of delegates to 21. Delegates will discuss, debate and design innovative solutions to global economic challenges. Representatives of civil society, the private sector and foundations are attending this 100% female summit and will share and discuss their ideas with each other for better integration of girls and women in the global economy.
According to Belinda Stronach, founder of the Belinda Stronach Foundation and summit organizer, “The G(irls)20 Summit is a unique platform for the girls to express their innovative ideas and to bring them to the G20 leaders.”
At ONE, we fully support this initiative and look forward to its conclusions!
For more information, please visit: www.girlsandwomen.com
Jun 29th, 2011 6:27 PM UTC
By Sara Kianpour
Sara Kianpour from our ONE France office reports on the G20 Agriculture meeting in Paris.
G20 ministers of agriculture are in Paris this week to decide the fate of the entire world’s small holder farmers. These small farmers spend between 50 and 80 percent of their income on food, and in the 21st century, this fact is alarming.
At ONE, we hope that this data will give the G20 ministers of agriculture a good reason to find sustainable solutions to stop excessive speculation on commodities that affects the poorest.
Therefore, we recommend some concrete measures for the G20 Agriculture to be a success:
Fulfill L’Aquila commitments: Almost two years after the G8 Summit of L’Aquila in 2009, donors still have yet to declare precise when and how they are going to deliver their promises. Donors must urgently and rapidly fulfill their L’Aquila commitments on aid quality and quantity for agricultural development and food security. G8 and other L’Aquila Food Security Initiative contributors, including G20 members that endorsed the statement on the AFSI and had pledged to provide technical assistance, must clarify and deliver on these commitments.
Finance the GAFSP: New and existing donors should finance the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). In less than a year it has quickly disbursed grants to well-developed, results-oriented country-owned plans.
Increase transparency and regulation in food commodity futures markets: The G20 should make more information on grain stocks publicly available and refrain from imposing export bans. This will help prevent extreme food price spikes and temper price volatility. Specifically, the G20 should agree to create position limits on OTC derivatives and index-fund food commodity futures trading; require that all derivatives of food commodities are subject to notification, clearing and monitoring by making position information publicly available; and establish a regulatory body, similar to the US CFTC for European and other market future trading
Develop agricultural risk management tools and social safety-nets: Investments in agricultural risk management and social safety-net programs can ease the impacts of prices spikes and build the resilience of poor countries and farmers to withstand price shocks when they occur.
The G20 Agriculture meeting has, for the first time ever, made agriculture a global topic. At ONE, we just hope that this world first will go down in history. Because a failure will have an impact on the poorest people.
May 28th, 2011 2:15 PM UTC
By Sara Kianpour
The G8 Summit ended yesterday and here’s a quick summary of what we learned:
For the first time, freedom and democracy are headlining and ONE welcomes them. However, we are concerned that the final statements are primarily statements of good intent.
We would like first to refresh the G8′s memory regarding the $14 billion to help sub-Saharan Africa that is still missing compared to the G8′s promises in 2005.
Agriculture gets barely any attention and it has hardly been discussed. It is needless to recall the grand promises made in L’Aquila in 2008 at the height of the last food crisis: $20 billion to be disbursed by next year. Yet less than $5 billion have been provided so far.
On health issues, particularly vaccines, the G8 has until next month – when the international conference of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) will be held in London – to lead by example. The final declaration stressed the importance of GAVI and calls for its funding. We welcome this support. However, regarding the amounts of contributions, for the moment, they are neither seen nor heard.
Transparency is the real champion of the summit. For the first time the G8 supports legislation to ensure transparency in the extractive industries. This is a very important step. President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and US President Barack Obama deserve to be applauded on this issue. At ONE, we will follow closely the detail of future legislation to ensure that these efforts will not be wasted.
To conclude, despite some positive steps, Deauville failed to deliver for Africa. So will we be waiting for the 2012 G8 Summit in the US for concrete action?
Image courtesy of the G8
May 27th, 2011 11:41 AM UTC
By Sara Kianpour
Sara Kianpour from our ONE France office reports live from the G8 in Deauville.
The first elements of the final communique were revealed in the press. The Arab spring and democracy in North Africa placed high on the agenda. At ONE, we are delighted. However, we believe it is essential that the G8 efforts affect the whole continent, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.
For the first time, the existence of a joint declaration by the G8 countries and Africa was announced. That said, this text does not mention in any case how the G8 is planning to keep its aid promises. A regrettable “omission” ?
Another important element is missing from the communique: while we are only few weeks away from the international conference of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), there were no concrete commitments regarding the amounts to be allocated by rich countries to vaccination. Yet, these countries have 4 million good reasons to do so … to help save the lives of 4 million children in 5 years!
Ending on a positive note, ONE welcomes the G8 commitment to fight against corruption through increased transparency in the extractive sector. Nicolas Sarkozy committed to this in January, and this morning, President Barroso signaled the European Commission’s explicit support for such a project.
Photo courtesy of the G8
May 26th, 2011 8:42 PM UTC
By Sara Kianpour
During two days, Paris was the world capital of the internet with e-G8 bringing together the web elite – from Eric Schmidt (Google) to Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) to Rupert Murdoch in Tuileries park. The objective: discuss the online economy and how it is changing.
And for the first time, a discussion about the internet has been put on the agenda before the G8 in Deauville, which started today.
ONE has welcomed the holding of such a meeting. We have all witnessed the key role the internet played, in particular for the recent revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. The web is an effective means to enforce rule of law, to increase transparency and to exit poverty.
Improving internet access and mobile connectivity in developing countries can allow farmers to consult market prices on their mobile phones, pupils and teachers to do distance learning, or civil society to use social networks to fight against electoral fraud or corruption.
But unfortunately, these questions have been relegated to the back seat, giving way to the predominance of some usual preoccupations : economic growth (ours), protection of children (ours), copyright (ours), etc.
This meeting could have been a historic moment for the people from the developing world, but we are far from there!
Despite this, an interesting conclusion on governance merits attention: neither governments nor entrepreneurs nor civil society will be able to resolve the challenges of good governance on their own.
At ONE, we believe that we urgently need a new partnership: web companies, governments and civil society should commit to work hand-in-hand in order to fight extreme poverty.
We can only hope for the leaders of the world’s richest countries finally act: as long as the most marginalized are forgotten, the promise of the internet will be unfulfilled.
May 20th, 2011 10:34 AM UTC
By Friederike Röder
Following the tradition started last year at the G8 in Canada, this year’s French presidency prepared an accountability report together with the other G8 countries, which outlines the state of delivery and results of the G8’s commitments on fighting extreme poverty.
Let’s start with the positives: it is commendable that the G8 continues with preparing such reports. Great promises are one thing, but keeping them and proving to have kept them is equally important. This is exactly what ONE has been saying for years (and showing the example for) with the DATA report.
It is also good to draw attention to the commitments on food security and maternal health, the focus of this year’s report. The report has the merit of establishing a baseline for the different commitments, reporting back on disbursements already made and giving a time line for outstanding disbursements. So far, so good. But…
There is a massive “but”. The G8 have found an artful way to embellish their performance. The report puts the spotlight on figures in today’s prices and tracks progress against them. It is a major issue, because current prices cannot be compared properly across years. This is why the OECD recommends using constant prices, prices that take into account changes in exchange rates and inflation from year to year and give an honest picture of the real efforts that were made. To put it simply $1 in 2010 doesn’t buy as much as $1 in 2005.
The result of tracking progress in current prices? Forgetting inflation suddenly makes the G8 look much better than it really is. Gleneagles’ targets are missed, but only by a “little” $1.27bn. Great success. Pat on the back. Except that taking inflation into account shows a very different picture. The G8 shortfall is in fact $19bn!
Careful readers will notice that the report also mentions the $19bn shortfall. Very careful readers, in fact. The figure is dropped in passing, immersed in a sea of data and tables all in current prices. Predictably, it is a blessing for countries that haven’t performed well and can conveniently quote the report to avoid facing their failure. Take Germany. The Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a press release yesterday, which selectively quotes the report to give itself a pass, when Germany’s under performance is in reality costing $ 4bn to the developing world.
As ONE’s Executive Director, Jamie Drummond, said yesterday:
“We cannot allow countries who are breaking promises to the world’s poor to hide behind misleading figures. When the G8 leaders gather in France next week they must acknowledge that accountability is more than just a PR exercise.”
This year’s G8 meeting on Africa (with the African Union and founding members of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development – NEPAD) will also examine the first accountability report prepared by the African side. We can only hope that Africa will have the courage to look shortfalls in the eyes.
Apr 7th, 2011 2:37 PM UTC
By Roxane Philson
How to sum up the last three days in Europe?
Not mine, but Bill Gates’… It’s unreal. He flew in overnight on Sunday, and in just two and a half days travelled to three cities, delivered three powerful Living Proof presentations, lobbied Presidents, Chancellors, and Ministers, gave numerous media interviews and rallied activists. He is a testament to the ability of a committed person to change the world. Of course, he has a few more resources at his disposal than most – but all the more impressive to think he could just be sat on a yacht sipping down piña coladas.
As I expect he himself would say however, Bill Gates isn’t what the trip should be about. What’s important is the impact, did we make a difference? Well, there have already been impressive outcomes from this visit, including France, Germany and the European Commission pledging to increase their funding for vital vaccines. This extra support will save thousands of children’s lives and free up health systems in developing countries to build healthier, more productive communities.
However, the news yesterday on broken promises shows us how fragile our gains can be and reminds me why this is just the start of our Living Proof campaign…
So, if there is one thing you do today please pass on some Living Proof to a friend, colleague, politician, or loved one (you can find plenty of food for thought on our new website), or simply use the widget below, and encourage them to do the same.
As my grandmother always said you catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar…
Apr 5th, 2011 7:22 PM UTC
By Roxane Philson
Last night ONE hosted a Living Proof event in Paris event aimed at convincing French politicians that development is worth their investment, and that they should stick to their promise of reaching 0.7% of Gross National Income on development assistance by 2015.
As I mentioned in my first blog in this series, if Living Proof is to succeed it needs to touch both the head and the heart. Bill Gates and prominent economist Esther Dufflo both made powerful arguments – one of the most interesting was about whether by saving lives we contribute to overpopulation. Bill himself had questioned this when he first got in to development work and after researching the issue came up with some surprising findings.
He found evidence to support the view that when families know their children have a better chance of surviving they choose to have fewer children. This was illustrated on a visual by the graphical and global health guru Hans Rosling (see his TED Talks), which you can see here in an earlier presentation:
You’ll see that as life expectancy goes up, family size goes down…
And so to matters of the heart…If a good hour of facts and figures hadn’t won you over then cue Mamadou Touré a softly spoken man from Cameroon and head of the Africa 2.0 initiative (which mobilizes young African leaders to create change from within). Mamadou stood up to ask a question, and as he did explained that part of the reason he was there and creating his own change was thanks to the opportunities afforded to him thanks in part to aid – he said he himself was ‘Living Proof’.
Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that are the most powerful.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
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