G8 in Italy must prove its relevance
06 July 2009
Caritas Internationalis and CIDSE say G8 countries meeting in Italy need to roll back years of broken promises if they’re to regain authority on their flagship issue of tackling poverty.
Bishops from Nigeria, Ecuador, France and Italy are meeting with the Italian Finance, Foreign Affairs and Labour ministers with ‘an Agenda of Hope’ to urge the G8 countries to take effective steps to deal with the global crises
Leaders of France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, and Russia hold a make-or-break meeting 8-10 July in the Italian town of L’Aquila to prove the annual jamboree is not past its sell-by-date.
The summit comes in a critical year for international development. The global economic crisis threatens gains made in reducing poverty over the last ten years. As many as 100 million more people will remain poor or become poor as a result of the crisis. Negotiations on climate change are not making the progress needed to achieve an adequate deal to be signed in Copenhagen in December.
The G8 needs to reaffirm their commitments to agreed aid targets and commit to establish timetables showing how they are going to reach their targets. Hopes are not high. G8 countries have backtracked on their aid pledges, particularly Italy and France, citing the crisis as an excuse. However, world military spending surged to a new high of $1,4 trillion in 2008 while $8.7 trillion of state financing was found to shore up banks
Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley Anne Knight said, “If the G8 is to have any credibility left after this summit, it must make up for the broken promises of the past. This means committing to a firm timetable for achieving its previously agreed aid targets. To be cutting aid budgets whilst pouring billions into a bankrupt banking system is like robbing the poor to feed the rich. The G8 has an opportunity this month to show real leadership in the fight against global poverty. If it fails, it will show itself to be irrelevant.”
CIDSE Secretary-General Bernd Nilles said, "G8 countries have so far failed to commit to the necessary cuts in greenhouse gasses to avoid dangerous climate change. They have also failed to commit to providing developing countries with the support they need to enable them to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to pursue sustainable development paths. They’re fiddling while Rome burns.”
The G8 is one of the few moments where leaders of the richest countries will meet in the run up to Copenhagen and should play a crucial role in unlocking stalled talks and securing a deal.
The G8 must commit to a minimum of 40 per cent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, based on 1990 levels. They must provide their fair share of financing for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. Conservative estimates indicate $153bn of additional finance will be needed for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries by 2020.
Please contact Caritas Internationalis and CIDSE team at the G8 summit for further information:
Communications Officer Pascale Palmer (from CAFOD, a joint CIDSE and Caritas member in the UK ) on 0044 7785950 585 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Editor:
CIDSE (www.cidse.org) is an international alliance of Catholic development agencies working together for global justice.
Caritas Internationalis (www.caritas.org) is the biggest network of Catholic charities in the world works through its 165 national members to combat poverty and injustice.
On Friday 3 July, a delegation of bishops from Nigeria, Ecuador, France and Italy met the Italian Finance, Foreign Affairs and Labour ministers. CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles and Director Sergio Marelli of Volontari nel Mondo-FOCSIV were part of the delegation, which with ‘an Agenda of Hope’ urges G8 countries to take effective steps to deal with the global crises in order to guarantee dignified conditions of life for every man and woman in the world. More information…