In this podcast we find out why Caritas Internationalis are doubtful that the current summit of G8 leaders will deliver increased tangible aid for the world’s poor.

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Caritas_Internationalis

Caritas response to G8 announcement on aid and climate change

source – www.caritas.org

09 July 2009

G8 is long on fine words and short on measurables.

Caritas has broken down the negotiating language to see just how solid the rich nations announcements are.

The final communiqu contains:

  • 85 commitments entered into, renewed or reaffirmed
  • 70 affirmations of support
  • 25 commitments/promises to strengthen or to strengthening existing processes or institutions
  • 21 statements that we continue or will continue to support efforts etc
  • 19 reaffirmations previous commitments, promises etc
  • 7 statements beginning we are determined
  • 6 promises to accelerate processes
  • 4 promises to reinforce efforts or programmes
  • 4 statements beginning we will intensify
  • 3 statements saying that our efforts are being intensified, reinforced, strengthened
  • 3 statements beginning we reconfirm

Caritas representative at the G8 Joanne Green said: The G8 has reaffirmed its aid promises to the worlds poorest, but lets not forget that it is just saying well actually do what we said wed do four years ago. And crucially theres nothing to confirm how that will be achieved. When the language of the communiqu is so heavily infused with enthusiasm rather than solid action, we have to be sceptical.

The accountability framework gives some hope and we welcome it as a step in the right direction. Although we had a breakthrough on 2 degrees, the emissions targets are not strong enough and not backed up with commitment on funding developing countries strategy for coping with climate change.

Joanne Green is Head of Policy at CAFOD, a Caritas member in England and Wales.

Communique Analysis

Aid

On aid the G8 has reaffirmed their commitment to the 2005 promise to double aid to Africa by 2010, but considering the failure of Italy and France to deliver on the previous promise, we are sceptical about the meaningfulness of this one.

In a bid to improve delivery, the UK has managed to get an accountability framework agreed which would publish each year how G8 countries are doing on each of their previous promises. We hope this will mean the G8 is no longer able to sidestep responsibilities or break promises.

Climate change

The climate change communiqu showed signs of progress from previous statements but its painfully slow. For the first time the worlds richest agreed that it would be a good thing if average global temperatures did not rise above 2 degrees. This is the level scientists say we shouldnt go over if we are to avert dangerous climate change.

They also agreed that rich countries should try to cut their own emissions by 80% by 2050 in order to meet that target. However, they crucially faltered over the 1990 baseline for these cuts which is critical to make them meaningful.

Most disappointing was the abject failure of the G8 to provide any leadership on the financing or access to technology that will be needed to be provided by them if these targets are to be reached.

Developing countries are currently unwilling to come to the UN negotiating table because they feel it is unfair to expect them to bear the financial burden for adapting to climate change and shifting their economies onto a greener footing.

It is critical that President Obama, in his role of chair or the Major Economies Forum, is able to increase the pace of progress today, time is running out.

Economy and private sector

There were lots of warm words on reforming the economy: who doesn’t want “more robust, green, inclusive and sustainable” growth?

And they listed all the essential areas to achieve this: regulation, anti-corruption, taxation, trade, investment, innovation, and again said a lot of the right things. However, there is no detail on how they will put these good intentions into practice. And there are big assumptions about the way they will be delivered. For example, the idea that foreign investment brings technology transfer and that it is appropriate and affordable is a huge assumption. In addition, a lot of the tools governments used to encourage technology transfer are undermined in free trade agreements and other international agreements, often with these same G8 countries.

Its great that the G8 has agreed the principle of sound macroeconomic and regulatory frameworks for the private sector and we were pleased to see the references to the International Labour Organisations (ILO) Decent Work agenda which outlines a set of standards for sustainable employment which protects human rights. But how are these things going to be followed up? Reliance on CSR and voluntary standards is not going to be enough to ensure responsible business practices.

Corruption

The G8 has shown that they recognise that developed countries have a role to play in combating corruption and its not just something that takes place in developing countries. More specifically, it is good that they call for ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and importantly emphasise the need for an effective, transparent and inclusive review mechanism. Also good is the commitment to deny safe haven to corrupt individuals.