As the G7 Summit concluded yesterday, leaders agreed to work for an end to extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. This is brilliant news, but we need to make sure that these commitments are kept!
Over the last few days, governments from the world’s richest countries have signed up to initiatives to; empower girls and women, which was what we called for with our Poverty is Sexist campaign, reduce the number of people living in hunger and malnutrition by 500 million, and learn the lessons of Ebola in order to respond faster to disease epidemics.
They also committed to reverse the decline in aid to the least developed countries and reconfirmed existing commitments including EU countries allocating 0.7% of national income to aid. One of our biggest asks this year was that the least developed countries started to receive a higher proportion of aid, so this is a great step in the right direction!
These are all incredible outcomes and reflect an inspiring year of campaigning from ONE members around the world, but the fight is not over…
We’ve broken down the official G7 communiqué and pulled out the good, the not-so-good and the definitely-not-good:
Official Development Assistance
Good: It’s the first time ever that the target to deliver 0.7% of national income in aid that binds several countries is mentioned in the main communiqué (and the first reference in any G7/G8 document since 2005). This is a welcome signal a month before world leaders meet in Ethiopia to agree their development spending for future years.
Not-so-good: The objective needs a credible and ambitious timeline, ideally with a deadline of 2020.
Good: The acknowledgement from the G7 that the trend of aid to the least developed countries declining since 2010 needs to be reversed is welcome.
Not-so-good: We are disappointed that they have not yet joined developing countries and others such as Belgium and Ireland in backing a concrete target: at least 50% of aid should be allocated to the least developed countries, at the latest by 2020.
Good: We welcome the confirmation of the G7 to mobilise $100 billion jointly with other partners. Leaders must ensure that in delivering this, the very poorest countries are prioritised.
Not-so-good: We are concerned by the fact that the G7 does not mention the internationally agreed principle that this funding be new and additional to existing aid commitments.
Hunger and malnutrition
Good: If the G7 delivers on its promise to enable 500 million people to free themselves from hunger and malnutrition by 2030, they will have made a strong contribution to the end of hunger. This is likely to be one of the new ‘global goals’ and we are encouraged that Schloss Elmau has given it early momentum.
While the ambitious figure the G7 have put out today should encourage others, there is a lot of work for the G7 to do: in our experience, big G7 announcements are only worth as much as the accountability framework and the funding behind it. Development partners must mobilise $15bn every year if they want to meet the target of lifting 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition.
Girls and women
Good: For the first time ever, the G7 has agreed on an initiative supporting women and girls in G7 and also developing countries: with the increase of vocational training of women by a third, the G7 offers a trackable outcome target – though we believe that future summits must build on the ambition of this initiative. This initiative is a very welcome and long overdue step. The G7 needs to seize one more opportunity to this end this year: the conference Chancellor Merkel will organise in September.
Good: Chancellor Merkel promised to make health and the lessons learned from Ebola one of the big priorities of her G7 presidency. The G7 commitment to assist at least 60 countries over the next five years to prevent future outbreaks from becoming epidemics is a tangible contribution, and the mention of the Global Finance Facility is welcome.
Not-so-good: The level of ambition and level of financial commitments to all health initiatives mentioned need fleshing out. These initiatives that the G7 has launched with other partners mean the world will be in a better position to fight an epidemic outbreak such as Ebola.
However, the G7 seems to have learned only part of the lesson of Ebola. In addition to response capacities, there is the less glamourous task of strengthening local health systems. This is mentioned but not adequately addressed. Health care workers are completely absent from the communiqué. The G7 can’t stop here on health, and the Global Fund Replenishment in 2016 will be an important test of the G7’s resolve to deliver.
Definitely-not-good: It has been two years since the G7 committed to include developing countries in the progress made against tax evasion. However, no concrete results have yet been delivered. None of the least developed countries are part of the new system of automatic exchange of tax information and no G7 country has agreed to give them access to the data crucial to investigate against fraud. The G7 also stopped short of fully disclosing the real owners of companies and trusts. This is even more disappointing as the summit took place against the backdrop of the FIFA scandal that showed one more time how shell companies are used to launder dirty money – a process that robs the poorest countries of billions of dollars that could be used to fight poverty.
AU/G7 initiative on renewable energy
Good: The ONE Campaign applauds the announcement of the joint AU/ G7 commitment to install 10 GW of renewable energy in Africa.
Lack of access to electricity is a problem that plagues over 630 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, and undercuts progress on every development front. The generation of new renewable energy will provide electricity that can improve access to quality health care, education, and economic opportunity that is necessary to see the end of extreme poverty.