G8 delivers false dawn in land of the rising sun

Dawn at Mt. Youtei, seen from the International Media Center of the G8 Summit Credits: Inae/Caritas Japan

Dawn at Mt. Youtei, seen from the International Media Center of the G8 Summit Credits: Inae/Caritas Japan

Caritas says that the G8 Summit in Japan has delivered a plan of inaction on Africa, aid and climate change.

Caritas Representative at the G8, Joseph Donnelly said, “The outcomes of the 2008 G8 are stalemate on climate change and a broken record on aid for Africa. The world was looking for fresh leadership, but instead got Groundhog Day.”

The Japan G8 promised to uphold previous pledges made at the 2005 G8 summit on increased levels of aid, but contained no detail on how they were going to do that or how they were going to reverse the reality that aid levels are in decline. Three years into the G8’s five year plan on increasing overseas aid to $50 billion a year, only a fifth of the money has been delivered.

The Japan G8 failed to address the $27bn shortfall in aid that is putting a potential 5 million lives at risk. The 2008 G8 is at the halfway point to the deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals with the anti-poverty targets way off target.

Mr Donnelly said, “Reheated commitments on aid that we’re still waiting to see fulfilled three years later will not deliver food, education, clean water, and health to the poorest people. Summing up the 2008 G8 in Japan, the morning after always looks grim if you happen to be wearing last night’s dress.

“The tragedy is that we can show the massive improvements that have been made in developing countries with the little amounts of aid that have been delivered. The G8 countries can afford to deliver on their aid pledges so it will be a scandal if the Millennium Development Goals fail to be reached because of lack of financing.”

Caritas said that in the Land of the Rising Sun, the G8 promised a false dawn on climate change. There was stalemate on cutting carbon emissions in a meeting between the G8 and eight emerging nations that include India and China.

“We seek to share with all Parties to the UNFCCC the vision of, and together with them to consider and adopt in the UNFCCC negotiations, the goal of achieving at least 50 percent reduction of global emissions by 2050, recognising that this global challenge can only be met by a global response ” the leaders said in a statement.

The UNFCCC refers to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which entered into force in 1994 setting an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

Mr Donnelly said, “G8 leaders needed to end the inertia on carbon emissions, instead they repeated in 2008 what was said 16 years ago at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. It’s a plan for inertia in which the poor are paying the cost now on behalf of the rich countries who are responsible, but in which the whole world will eventually foot the bill of an increasingly hostile climate.”

Joseph Donnelly is the Caritas Internationalis Head of Delegation to the UN in New York. He is campaigning at G8 civil society events alongside Caritas Japan.

Please contact Mr Donnelly on (+81) 080.6093.6170 or (+81) 090 7739 9528 or caritasny@aol.com

Head of Communications at Caritas Internationalis: Patrick Nicholson on +39 06 69879725 or +39 334 3590700 or e-mail nicholson@caritas.va


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