G7 leaders must ensure that global instability does not force hundreds of millions more people into poverty
ISE, JAPAN – 27 MAY 2016 – As world leaders concluded their work at the G7 Summit in Shima, the ONE Campaign — the global anti-poverty organization co-founded by U2 lead singer Bono now with more than 7 million members worldwide — issued the following reaction.
Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director at ONE:
“The world’s most powerful economies did a good job focusing on the world’s most vulnerable people. G7 leaders paid attention to refugees, girls and women, those who are hungry and suffer ill health, and on focusing assistance on the neediest. This welcome attention needs to translate into concrete commitments in the weeks and months ahead, particularly as EU leaders begin to discuss budgets for 2017.”
“Development efforts and humanitarian crisis relief need to go hand-in-hand. The refugee crises in the Middle East and East Africa are not short-term problems. Long-term humanitarian disasters require long-term development strategies — strategies which, done right, can help prevent the next refugee crisis. While leaders promised increased resources, most G7 countries have abjectly failed to deliver on increasing development assistance to respond to the urgent and long-term needs of both humanitarian crises and development.”
“Each of the G7 leaders agreed-to or supported the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations last year. The goals are essentially a global framework for ending extreme poverty. The G7 leaders rightly affirmed that the 17 goals are ‘integrated and indivisible’ and we are pleased to see their commitment to reverse the declining proportion of development assistance being steered to the least-developed countries. The leaders are right: they can and must do a better job of targeting development assistance toward countries where the needs are the greatest. World leaders have a responsibility to look out for the most vulnerable among us.”
Below a more detailed reaction to the G7 communique, as analyzed by ONE’s policy experts around the world. This covers health (including the Global Fund), nutrition, girls and women, refugees, corruption and financial transparency, and looks at the progress report issued last week.
Tom Hart, ONE’s Executive Director for North America and Asia:
“We commend the G7 for its commitment to continuing critical life-saving assistance to refugees and call on leaders to deliver on their promise to increase resources to address crises on the ground and invest in long-term development assistance budgets. Further, the G7 has committed to go beyond merely saving lives, and also meeting the medium- and longer-term needs of refugees, including a commitment to helping front-line states provide access to education and employment for refugees, helping them to integrate into the economic and social fabric of their host countries, and to resourcing crucial agencies on the front-line that are currently chronically under-funded, including UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF. The G7 also committed to improving coordination between development and humanitarian policy and spending – swift implementation of the ‘Grand Bargain’ that nearly all G7 countries signed up to at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul will help introduce better policies such as more multiannual financing for humanitarian agencies.
“From the Syrian refugee crisis and the Zika virus to weather disasters and extreme poverty, the need for donor assistance is at its highest level in decades – and growing. If current trends continue, by 2030, the costs of humanitarian assistance alone are projected to double to $50 billion – just when the world should be achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty. But budget trade-offs are resulting in some donors becoming the single biggest recipients of their own overseas aid as they divert development resources to cover the costs of supporting refugees at home. Substantial new resources and sweeping policy reforms are therefore urgently required for the world’s most vulnerable people to have a hope of leading productive lives. The international community needs to think bigger and move faster in addressing current crises, and world leaders need to agree to invest more strategically in preventing future ones through life-saving overseas aid to the world’s poorest people.”
Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director at ONE:
“The EU has shown that it can do both: its 2016 budget raised funding levels for both the refugee crisis and long-term development assistance to the poorest countries. For 2017, the EU will once again need to ensure that it grows the development budget for the poorest countries in line with what it will take to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, while deploying and increasing the budget’s flexibility to mobilize the financing needed to ensure that refugees are afforded the protection they need, both in Europe and further ashore.”
ON CORRUPTION AND FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY
Tom Hart, ONE’s Executive Director for North America and Asia:
“Corruption drains the lifeblood of the global economy and makes the world less secure, prosperous and just. Recent revelations disclosed in the so called ‘Panama Papers’ have highlighted the extent to which secrecy can be used for money laundering, illegal tax evasion, and other illicit financial flows. An analysis by ONE found that developing countries lose over a trillion dollars each year due to corruption, forcing the poorest people to pay the highest price for financial secrecy. If these funds could stay in developing countries, a portion could be taxed and invested in basic health and education services, and could transform the lives of millions of people.
“Earlier this month, Prime Minister Cameron hosted world leaders for an anti-corruption summit in London. Each of the G7 countries was represented at the summit, agreeing to several important steps toward reducing corruption. The G7 summit was an opportunity to make important strides toward financial transparency and reinforce the principles agreed-to at the Anti-Corruption Summit, making them a part of the G7’s global leadership moving forward and shining a light on dodgy practices by making beneficial ownership, tax reporting, contracting and other information open by default. While we are pleased that G7 leaders recognized the need for transparency and the rooting-out of corruption, we are disappointed by the lack of any new commitments in this area. G7 countries should urgently implement gold-standard policies that ensure fair play. To root out corruption, we need committed and robust action, including the public disclosure of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts.”
Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director at ONE:
“It is great that the G7 resolved to take measures to enhance fiscal transparency and improve transparency of the beneficial owners of legal arrangements. In fact, the EU could make good on this promise within a matter of weeks. The European Commission is amending the Anti Money Laundering Directive over the coming days, and should render the current registers for the beneficial owners of companies and of trusts fully accessible to the public. Only that way can citizens, including in developing countries, follow the money and root out corruption.
The EU also has a chance to make multinationals’ tax information public by strengthening and adopting the Commission’s recent proposal for country-by-country reporting. The proposal currently excludes most countries and most companies, but if its coverage and content were expanded it could deal a real blow to the illicit financial flows that rob developing countries of $1 trillion a year.”
“Every other child under age 5 who dies dies for reasons tied to poor nutrition and, yet, the world spends less than 1 percent of its assistance to combat it. Like dangerous roads, dirty water, and a lack of electricity, poor nutrition is part of the infrastructure on which extreme poverty festers. We have simple, effective and inexpensive interventions, like vitamin A and breastfeeding, that can save millions of lives. Improving nutrition and ending extreme poverty are inextricably linked. While it is good to see G7 leaders reaffirm last year’s commitment to assist 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, G7 leaders have let another moment for real leadership on agriculture and nutrition pass them by. Leaving Ise-Shima without improving the dismally low current levels of spending on basic nutrition and without improving accountability for past commitments in agriculture and nutrition is a disappointing failure of leadership. In the coming months, G7 leaders should ambitiously ramp-up funding, particularly for basic nutrition from its currently dismal level, should complete a robust, open-data-reliant accountability framework for last year’s commitment to assist 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, and should propose comprehensive accountability reforms for nutrition investments that will allow tracking from incoming dollars, euros, and yen in to outbound results.
“The lack of basic nourishment has a profound impact on the health of people living in the poorest places in the world. One in five of all maternal deaths is caused by malnutrition – a preventable and senseless tragedy that must end. No mother should die giving life. Malnutrition is also to blame for nearly half of all deaths of children under age 5 around the world. Better nutrition has the potential to save millions of lives. Investments in nutrition are incredibly efficient, contributing to better health, education, and economic growth in the world’s poorest places.”
“It is possible to end the scourge of HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, but only if we invest more in girls and women and fully finance the Global Fund this year. G7 leaders have again recognized that the Global Fund remains the single-best investment on the planet for fighting the spread of these diseases. We are pleased they have committed to fully financing the Global Fund’s $13 billion USD replenishment in Montreal later this year. The world has made remarkable progress in the fights against these deadly diseases over the last 15 years, largely because of the Global Fund, and for the first time ever, scientists see a pathway for not just controlling these diseases, but for defeating them. The next few years will be critical in the arcs of these diseases — and the lives of tens of millions of women living in extreme poverty — giving world leaders a truly historic opportunity to end these diseases for good by strengthening their commitments to the Global Fund in Montreal this September.”
“With its pledge last week — an 11 percent increase in Yen — Japan joined the United States and Canada as G7 members to have made their pledges for this September’s replenishment. The European Commission also made its pledge — a 27 percent increase — in March. It’s time now for France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom to step up with their commitments. The lives of millions living in extreme poverty and the future of the AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria epidemics are now riding on what President Hollande, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Renzi, and Prime Minister Cameron do next.
“The world’s ability to withstand pandemics and other health crises depends largely on the strength of local, sustainable health systems, and the quantity and expertise of qualified health care workers. While G7 leaders recognized the need for stronger, sustainable health systems, they failed to include any specific commitments to help build them. Shockingly, the leaders appear to have ignored the profound shortage of trained health care workers and made no commitments to address it.
“We welcome the G7’s proactive support for the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to ensure that the global response to future epidemics like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa are addressed quickly. Delays simply create more suffering and increase the threats to our world, and the poorest people tend to be hit the hardest. And we need to ensure this financing is transparent so that governments can be held to account for effective delivery of their commitments. If the Ebola outbreak in West Africa taught us anything, it’s that we really are all in this together. Pandemics know no boundaries, and investments in health systems everywhere are a shared necessity. They are also critical to economic growth and political stability, as well as to the elimination of extreme poverty.”
ON GIRLS AND WOMEN
“Poverty is sexist. Girls and women in the developing world are hit harder in almost every regard – economically, socially, physically — and it is critical that world leaders take action to change that. G7 leaders placed special importance on girls and women at Schloss Elmau last year, with a particular focus on training, early education, and entrepreneurship.
“It’s encouraging that G7 leaders have affirmed their interest in improving the lives of girls and women in the developing world, but they have missed the opportunity to commit to meaningful change. We will look to future summits – such as the Global Fund replenishment, World Bank-IMF meetings and others – for countries to step up to the challenge of tackling poverty among girls and women, and begin to fulfill their commitments to end extreme poverty. Girls and women are the key to ending the intergenerational cycle of extreme poverty.
“Poverty and gender inequality go hand-in-hand. In 2016, half a billion women still cannot read, 62 million girls are denied an education and 155 countries still have laws that discriminate against women. Economically empowered women have the potential to transform their communities and their countries, putting a premium on supporting female entrepreneurs. G7 leaders had the opportunity to build on the women’s initiative created last year by expanding it to include more girls and women. It is disappointing that their neither acknowledged that initiative, nor committed to doing more to help it achieve its potential. Expanding the number of African women able to access microfinancing solutions or agricultural training through G7 programs would have been a meaningful step forward for this promising initiative. It’s disappointing that declined the opportunity this year.”
The ONE Campaign is a policy and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, it raises public awareness and presses political leaders to combat AIDS and other preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.
Contact, information & interviews – Andrea Ghianda // [email protected] // +32 (0)2 300 89 42 // +32 (0)471 89 64 22