Monday, 7 July 2008

The G8 Day 1


Welcome to my End Water Poverty G8 blog, coming straight at you from rain-soaked Hokkaido, where I will be reporting back on the global circus that is the G8 summit. As 7 men and 1 woman luxuriate by Lake Toyako, putting the world to rights, deciding the fate of billions of people across the world, this intrepid but bleary-eyed correspondent will endeavour to keep you informed and updated.

7th July 0600 GMT, Hokkaido, Japan

The G8 officially kicks off today, with its day of 'African outreach' - whereby heads of 8 African states are invited to join the party. Whilst there will be a drip feed of news and rumour, as as a press conference, the bigger statements on Africa, climate change and the world economy are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday.

So as the jamboree starts, what do we expect to happen? A lot of words and back-slapping for sure. But concrete action to deliver for the 40% of the world's population who have no access to safe sanitation? Hmmm not if current rumours and intelligence are anything to go by...

Newly leaked drafts of the G8 communique show how commitments have been watered down in negotiations, with few commitments and even fewer measurable actions.

So clearly there is quite a fight ahead at this summit and beyond to get agreement on a genuinely ambitious global plan of action on sanitation and water, but at least now we have made it to the battlefield...

In other news, WaterAid launched a new report today, detailing evidence showing that poor sanitation may be the biggest killer children in the world today. Accounting for a quarter of all child deaths, the lack of a safe place to go the toiled could be killing 2.4 million children every year.

So a question for Frau Merkel, Monsieur Sarkozy and friends - which of you are blocking measures to stop this public health scandal, and what are you thinking?

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