After two days of negotiations, the G8 Summit drew to a close last week. Isolated in a lakeside resort hotel, secure from the thousands of protesters that convened on Hokkaido, the G8 has shown itself to be out of touch with the problems it seeks to fix. Before discussing the soaring costs of food, for example, the leaders enjoyed a sumptuous banquet featuring white asparagus and truffle soup, sea urchin, and imported champagne. The final communiqué basically recycles old promises repeated in every summit since the landmark Gleneagles meeting of 2005.
Max Lawson of Oxfam and Oliver Buston of Debt Aid Africa headed a coalition of non-governmental organizations that presented to the G8 leaders on Monday. They demanded the G8 live up to its commitments on aid and health in Africa: “Bureaucratic sleight of hand is not an appropriate response to these important development assistance and AIDS treatment targets.” A related press release from HEALTH-GAP breaks down each G8 promise about global health and details what still needs to be done.