Little progress at the G8 in Japan

By Oxfam

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This week, Oxfam attended the G8 Summit in Japan to make sure that world leaders didn't forget the aid, climate change, and health care promises they made at the Gleneagles G8 Summit in 2005. But in the end, the results fell short of what the world's poorest people require.

"Several governments championed steps to tackle the crucial issues sitting on the G8 agenda, but in the end this summit did not deliver the breakthroughs that are so urgently needed. The consensus reached was shallow at best, especially on climate," said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.

Some key results from the summit

  • On climate change, the G8 endorsed a commitment to halve global carbon emissions by 2050, but with no agreed baseline year or mid-term targets. The G8 also endorsed a $6 billion pledge to the World Bank for climate investment funds that will come out of existing aid budgets.
  • On the food crisis, the G8 promised to reverse the decline in aid to agriculture—but without any numbers—and to support the UN's plans to tackle the crisis. It also pledged to ensure that biofuels would be produced in a way that would be compatible with food security and to accelerate the development of second-generation biofuels.
  • On Africa and development aid, the G8 reaffirmed previous promised to provide $50 billion in new assistance, half to Africa, by 2010—although it offered no details on who would do what to reverse the decline in aid since 2006. It also repeated the promise it made 12 months ago to spend $60 billion for health, however, the timing was not specified and the clarity of purpose remained vague.

Oxfam is now calling for leadership at key UN meetings on poverty in September and on climate in December.