GCAP’s reaction to the G8 Summit:
Political change in the Arab Region
Global Civil Society Leaders Tell the G8 As the G8 leaders discuss the Middle East and North Africa, in the presence of Egypt and Tunisia as invited guests to the G8, they must place human rights, peace and justice at the centre of their policies towards those countries and the region as a whole. Faced with brutal crackdowns – like the one in Syria where more than 1000 people have been killed by security forces and another 10,000 arrested – the G8 should demand the immediate release of political prisoners and full respect of human rights in the region.
“Women and men, young and older across the Arab Region are standing up – often at the risk of their own lives – to demand dignity, democracy, accountability, and social and economic justice” says GCAP global council member Kinda Mohammediah, who also works with the Arab NGO Network for Development. “The people of my region have said no to oppressive regimes whose economic policies fostered inequality, poverty and unemployment. We welcome the support of the rest of the world. But please, this is not the time to link your support for freedom with conditions that could aggravate the poverty and inequality here.”
G8 and African leaders are discussing economic partnerships, private sector initiatives and access to energy sources. The G8 – Africa Declaration and related agreements must be based on fairness to both Northern and Southern countries.
GCAP’s African Governing Council — acting on behalf of coalitions in 31 countries and over 1000 organisations — is presenting a petition to the presidents of Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa and the chair of NEPAD, the prime minister of Ethiopia, asking them, in their meetings with the G8, to emphasise the need for partnerships based on fairness and mutual respect.
As the world continues to digest the impact of a tsunami and 9.0 earthquake, we must also take a moment to reflect and share information. In order to prevent future disasters or mitigate their impact, the G8 should
endorse hearings at the United Nations, taking into account lessons from Japan, to assess:
the safety of nuclear power
links, if any, between these natural disasters and climate change
government cut assistance to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Global poverty is a ‘silent tsunami’ which Japanese aid has been fighting. Pitting domestic reconstruction against overseas aid is the wrong approach. Japan must be do both.”
The G8 is using creative financing to give the appearance of meeting its commitments to impoverished countries, but in fact many G8 countries have been freezing or cutting aid. Even OECD figures indicate the G8 has fallen US$19 billion short of its US$50 billion target.
alliance that challenges the structures and institutions that perpetuate poverty. “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.”
G8 leaders recognise that innovative forms of financing are required to eradicate poverty, fight climate change and promote development. But new sources of financing must be in addition to existing commitments.
Specifically, the G8 can begin charting an equitable course for the future by:
Endorsing adoption by G20 countries later this year of a financial transactions tax.
Unconditionally cancelling the debts of impoverished countries and advocating for the formation of an
International Debt Court that is independent of lenders and borrowers.