Reporting, editing, commentary by Carolyn Bennett
Dismal picture of the world — Hunger, disease, and pollution Climate change leading to floods, droughts and famines Food, financial, economic, energy crises Increased communal conflict, violence against women Child labor and other forms of modern slavery and trafficking Labor force (majority) in developing countries imprisoned in informal, unprotected work Crime and corruption increase Human rights atrocities, many other types of injustices rise daily
Cheerful picture of the world — We know how to solve these problems.
We know that investment in education, health, local agriculture and local trade releases huge potential and local wealth.
We know that, particularly women, when given half a chance, will work hard for the future of their children, creating economic and social progress and stability.
We know that increased economic activity in an inclusive green economy is possible and is the best recipe for progress and peace anywhere.
We have enough food, but one in six people in the world suffer hunger due to inequitable distribution and speculation. Half a million women die each year of preventable pregnancy-related causes. With education, girls can negotiate, better control their lives; choose to have fewer and healthier children.…
Domestic and communal violence against women is both an indicator of a culture of impunity and a cause of tremendous loss of women's active participation in economic and political processes. Why don't we change this?
Where is Education for All? We can eradicate poverty; why don’t we? Why do the world leaders break their promises? The writer is co-chair of the Worldconnectors and of the Global Call to Action against Poverty, Sylvia Borren
We are faced with the same ole players, crooks and fixers — U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia (the Group of Eight) — of a game the majority of the world’s citizens can’t win because the fixers are the makers and breakers of the rules. The lay the posts and capriciously change them so that a whole lot of people and nations can never catch up let alone get ahead of the game.
Danger when few hold, concentrate, entrench power perpetually
The minority powers rape children and housekeeping staffs; like a mob boss, compound debt with threat; destabilize countries and fail nations. They then take photo ops declaring themselves saviors, saving “the poorfrom themselves and from their dictators — the very same dictators whom, the day before, these power elites had embraced and armed with killer weaponry to train on “their own people.”
Coming out of the G8 conference (photo op) this week at Deauville, France, European officials announced their countries’ pledge of “$20 billion in aid topost-autocratic Arab countries that have toppled heads of state and moved towards democracy.”
Al Jazeera reports the conference draft statement saying, “Multilateral development banks could provide over $20 billion (including 3.5 billion Euros from the European Investment Bank) for Egypt and Tunisia for 2011-2013 in support of suitable reform efforts.” The statement also affirms the G8’s “readiness ‘to mobilize substantial bilateral support to scale-up this [suitable reform] effort” and welcomes “support from other bilateralpartners, including from the region.”
The statement characteristically shows unconcern for sovereign needs, aspirations, motivations and interrelationships among peoples either regionally or internally. It shows a lack of interest in the sensible imperative that G8 nations take a respectful, cooperative approach with peoples of the Middle East and Mediterranean region(s). Without specifying the parameters of their “pledges,” these old imperialists persisted in the usual condescension, paternalistically lecturing nations on what “is expected” of them while the powers carry on bilateral arrangements that, perpetually, play these nations against themselves: nations against nations, peoples against peoples, sects and tribes against other sects and tribes.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent said this year’s conferees, though again pledging billions, also “admit that there has been a shortfall [between] the aid that was promised... and the aid that was actually delivered.”
Meaningless pledges without intent of fulfillment are less than useless. Entrenched Power takes a holiday for another photo opportunity and lies become known to the world long before the final gavel in a fraudulent exercise.
Reported in today’s Democracy Now headlines, Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo characterizes entrenched power and its abuse. “The G8 is basically a cartel, a self-appointed cartel of eight dominant nations, which carry actually the biggest responsibility collectively for climate change and a whole range of other issues” and looking at the draft communiqués — what you find is “regurgitation every year of the same commitments, repackaged and restated.
“This is not leadership. This is fraudulence, and it needs to be addressed.”
Sylvia Borren of the Global Call to Action against Poverty, a worldwide alliance that challenges the structures and institutions that perpetuate poverty, said, “The G8’s credibility rests on its accountability to past promises. It needs to take actions that are clear, honest and fair if we are to build the World We Want, a just world where no one is poor.”
However, in its press release, Global Action reports the G8 Accountability Report saying the eight countries, before the latest promises, have fallen “$1 billion short [excluding inflationary costs] of its aid commitments.” The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) whose published mission is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world has released figures showing “the G8 has fallen $19 billion short of its $50 billion target.”
Although the G8 uses “creative financing to give the appearance of meeting its commitments to impoverished countries,” says Global Call to Action, “many G8 countries have been freezing or cutting aid.” The G8’s credibility depends on ensuring that commitments translate into effective implementation on the ground, honoring citizens’ right to information, and particularly ensuring participation of women and socially excluded groups.
Can an incestuously entrenched cabal change its stripes?
“Freedom and democracy can never be served if the G8 continues to be underwritten by a fossil fuel-based economy,” says Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. “G8 leaders came to Deauville in search of identity and purpose but were blinded by their fossil fuel addictions and failed to take us towards a safe and secure energy future free from oil wars, climate chaos, and nuclear disasters.”
Next year, the G8 leaders should meet “at a rehab clinic instead of a French gambling resort.”
Sources and notes
“We can eradicate poverty - So why don’t we?” (Sylvia Borren), September 22, 2010, http://www.worldconnectors.nl/index.php?id=21&c=7&n=161
Sylvia Borren is co-chair of the Worldconnectors and, among other functions, co-chair of GCAP (the Global Call to Action against Poverty) and its Dutch chapter EEN, member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) for the Dutch government and former Executive Director of Oxfam Novib, http://www.worldconnectors.nl/index.php?id=44&n=7;
Democracy Now Headlines, May 27, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/5/27/headlines http://www.oecd.org/pages/0,3417,en_36734052_36734103_1_1_1_1_1,00.html
“Place Human Rights, Peace and Human Security at the centre of your policies,” May 26, 2011, http://www.whiteband.org/en/release/Global-Civil-Society-Leaders-G8%20
“G8 commits $20bn to ‘Arab Spring’ — Western economies to mobilize ‘substantial bilateral support,’ both economic and political, for post-autocratic nations,” May 27, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/05/201152784050139238.html
“G8 leaders need to quit gambling with our future,” May 27, 2011, http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/G8-leaders-nee...
Kumi Naidoo (b. 1965) is a South African campaigner. He affiliates with Global Call to Action against Poverty and, since 1998, has been Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS: world alliance for citizen participation. Naidoo also affiliates with the Eminent Persons Group on United Nations Civil Society Relations (a UN appointment) and, since 2009, has been Executive Director of Greenpeace International. He is recognized internationally as a vocal opponent of gender violence and an advocate for gender equity.
Deauville, France (Population 1999: 4,364; 2008 prelim. 3,973), is a fashionable resort in northern France. First developed as a seaside resort, Deauville is renowned for its horse-racing tracks and related activities. The town (founded in 1860) is home to a casino, a marina, and a major conference center designed in part to diversify the tourism economy. Britannica note
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