As the two-day G8 summit is set to start today in Deauville, much hype has been made of the need for the group of states to discuss and decide new policies on matters including supporting new regimes in North Africa and the Middles East or reviewing Japan's nuclear crisis and discuss new policies regarding nuclear power.
While questions have been posed with regards to the legitimacy of the G8 in discussing and deciding international actions when new important international players such as China and India are excluded, not much attention has been given to the criticisms that major Non-Governmental Organizations have voiced following the G8 second accountability report published on May 18.
The G8 accountability report aims at highlighting the progress the group has made since 2005 on the implementation of their international development commitments. The accountability reports generally include a summary on the steps taken by G8 countries to tackle problems such as malaria, HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis and agriculture.
Following the publication of the report, many NGOs criticised the countries results and warned that many end up unable to meet their commitment. As countries usually do not hesitate to publicly talk about all the money they provide in terms of aid, they tend to be less vocal about what progress has actually been made in terms of the implementation of their projects. It seems, according to the reaction of NGOs following the publication of the report, that pledging to spend money does not always fully materialise.
The organisation Malaria No More said it was disappointed not all G8 countries have documented their contribution to tackling malaria, nor have the G8 made clear their future plans.
The NGO ONE, which focuses on reducing poverty and preventable diseases in Africa, says that progress made is different depending on the countries while adding that the G8 members are not all on the same page when it comes to the implementation of the projects they discuss during the summits.
ActionAid on the other hand was more vocal as it said it was highly disappointed the Group of Eight failed to comply with a $22 billion food promise made in L'Aquila summit in 2009. In a statement the NGO writes, "Yet again the G8 has released a report glossy enough for a press conference, but unlikely to feed the billion hungry in Africa and Asia.
"The G8 has purposefully fudged its figures to look like it is meeting its commitments, but the truth is few nations have accurately reported where the money has gone or who it has helped. Shamefully the EU and Japan have not reported back on how much cash they have delivered at all.
"With the world one failed harvest away from a food crisis, the G8 has got to start taking its hunger promises seriously".
The NGO goes even further as it accuses the group of having "deliberately inflated food aid figures. Italy, France and Germany had included in their calculations previous aid commitments that were not part of their L'Aquila pledge. Furthermore, money used on 'transport', 'land mine clearance', 'water supply' and 'sanitation' had also been counted as aid to fight hunger."
Close up on the 2009 L'Aquila pledge: How are the G8 countries doing?
In 2009 in L'Aquila, Italy, G8 leaders pledged more than $20 billion in aid to help development with the main focus being the desire to ensure and promote global food security. As the latest accountability report produced focuses on agriculture and the health sector, here is an overview of the G8 countries progress in terms of their agricultural pledge.
Australiamade an important hunger pledge at the L'Aquila Summit in 2009 with the majority of the projects being orientated towards Agriculture. According to the accountability report Australia is doing pretty well, even if figures show that they need to move faster in order to be able to deliver on their commitments on time. Their performance is marked by the slowness of their spending when it comes to the commitments made in providing direct financial aid.
The country recently announced new and additional commitments to the L'Aquila pledge in 2009. It has also supported the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) and given money in support of national plans, however the report shows that it has only managed to disperse 80 per cent of the money it originally committed to agriculture.
Unfortunately Japan has not provided information on what it has spent so far. Its pledge period started in 2010, (in contrast with many other G8 countries starting their pledge in 2009). The only data presented in the report only provides indications on the projects it committed to in that year, rather than presenting real figures on what it actually delivered.
ManyNGO have insisted France's "L'Aquila progress and reporting is embarrassing" as the country has been failing to deliver on its 2009 promises. France is now highly unlikely to meet its commitments as it has delivered less than 50 per cent of what it said it would. The country's performance is particularly bad on agriculture investment. Many NGOs have also accused the government of hiding behind bad reporting by "inflating the amount of money reported as 'other bilateral' aid, which offers no opportunity to trace the impact of this money on hunger eradication."
Germanypledged $1bn on food security at the 2009 summit. While the country appears to be on the right track when it comes to delivery on the commitments made, its performance remains unequal depending on the categories. Like most other G8 countries its worst track record is in agriculture. Germany also needs to accelerate its aid spending in order to meet its commitments.
Italy seems to be on track to meeting its L'Aquila commitments but was heavily criticised for its original pledge, which many NGOs saw as "mediocre." Italy has also recently shifted its reporting timelines from the original 2009-2011 to 2009-2012.
The United Kingdom is currently on track to deliver its L'Aquila pledge to build a more solid foundation of support to agriculture, however, just like Italy, the country was condemned for what many NGOs saw as a "very modest" pledge.
The United States
The US was applauded in terms of its pledges at L'Aquila, as it committed to spend another US $1.5bn. The US has taken the lead in supporting country-led agricultural development plans and has given substantial support to GAFSP. The country can however still improve as the speed of its delivery is understood to be very slow.