Thursday, July 10, 2008

Caritas Laments G-8's Lack of Fresh Leadership

Says Failure to Meet Millennium Goals a Scandal

ROME, JULY 9, 2008 ( ).- The Caritas representative at the Group of Eight meeting in Japan lamented that the results of the summit were a stalemate and a repetition of the same failing promises.

Joseph Donnelly, who is the head of the Caritas delegation at the United Nations in New York, gave a bleak evaluation of the G-8 meeting that ended today.

"The outcomes of the 2008 G-8 are stalemate on climate change and a broken record on aid for Africa," he said. "The world was looking for fresh leadership, but instead got Groundhog Day."

The leaders promised to uphold previous pledges made at the 2005 G-8 summit on increased levels of aid, but did not define the concrete steps to fulfill the promises, Caritas reported. Three years into the G-8's five-year plan on increasing overseas aid to $50 billion a year, only a fifth of the money has been delivered.

"Reheated commitments on aid that we're still waiting to see fulfilled three years later will not deliver food, education, clean water, and health to the poorest people," Donnelly said. "The tragedy is that we can show the massive improvements that have been made in developing countries with the little amounts of aid that have been delivered. The G-8 countries can afford to deliver on their aid pledges so it will be a scandal if the Millennium Development Goals fail to be reached because of lack of financing."

Climate change

Caritas also lamented the results of the summit discussion on climate change.

"G-8 leaders needed to end the inertia on carbon emissions, instead they repeated in 2008 what was said 16 years ago at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio," Donnelly said. "It's a plan for inertia in which the poor are paying the cost now on behalf of the rich countries who are responsible, but in which the whole world will eventually foot the bill of an increasingly hostile climate."

The G-8 includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

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