Friday, 10 July 2009

In one end, out the other

That’s it. Over. Finito. Another year, another G8, another farce.

As you can see from the press releases of other NGOs, noone was too happy about it.

And nor were we, as you can see from our press release today. The joint G8-Africa statement contained nothing new, nothing concrete, nothing of worth to a community lacking access to clean water or sanitation. Nothing that could be possibly described as the “enhanced implementation plan” promised at last year’s summit.

Nothing to tackle a crisis that is responsible for 30% of child deaths.

I don’t know how they could have sat through those meetings with African leaders and not feel embarrassed and ashamed.

I never understand how you can so much power and never bother to use it for good.

The big news today was a pledge of $20bn to fight hunger for the 1 billion people without enough to eat. Hugely important, but as with every G8 deal noone knows where the money is going to come from, or if it really will. Let’s hope this time it is different.

Either way, fighting hunger – as crucial as this is – without also providing clean water and sanitation is akin to a fish riding a bicycle (I wasn’t allowed to put this in the press release so I am putting it here...). Its not going to go as far as you'd like when 50% of child deaths from malnutrition are caused by diahrroea.

More thoughtful analysis soon as I'm too knackered not to be a grumpy old man.

But one quick upbeat note for now - our spokesperson from South Africa, Khumbuzile Zuma, has done a great job highlighting our disappointment to the press.

Interviews with Italian newspapers, BBC, Sky, Reuters, Voice of America, Nile TV and others, as well as being a GCAP spokesperson, all helped to shape the media reaction to the summit. I have not met a journalist yet who is impressed with the outcomes.

And not only that, she did the best bit of lobbying I’ve seen in a while by hijacking President’s press conference (Jacob Zuma, no relation…). After demanding South African leader step up to the plate, and do more on water and sanitation, she got a commitment to do so, a follow up meeting, and even a hug…

See a couple of photos and video here

Great work, and many thanks to the Mvula Trust for her participation.

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