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Climate Change, Hunger, Economy G8 Summit Top Priorities; France’s First Lady Calls On G8 To Expand On Global Health ‘Achievements’

President Barack Obama joined world leaders in Italy on Wednesday for “three days of intense talks on threats to global security and stability” at a G8 summit “where climate change, the continuing global economy crisis and world hunger got top billing,” AP/Google.com reports (Babington, 7/8).

Ahead of the G8 meeting, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, published an opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper, which describes “the progress that has been made by the G8 leaders in tackling HIV and AIDS in Africa” and calls on them “to build on their achievements,” the Telegraph reports (7/8). AFP/Yahoo! News also reported on Bruni-Sarkozy’s message. The French first lady is a global ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (7/7).

In the Guardian, Bruni-Sarkozy, applauds the G8’s 2001 establishment of the Global Fund, which has “enabled over half a million mothers to avoid transmitting HIV to their children” and provided “[m]illions” of AIDS orphans with “food, education and social support through programmes backed by the Global Fund,” she writes, adding that this “revolution is beginning to transform Africa.” However, “much of the progress made in reducing poverty over the past decades is under threat from the effects of the global economic crisis,” according to Bruni-Sarkozy.

“We have made inspiring and dramatic progress, but this journey has just begun,” she writes, suggesting that G8 leaders “celebrate their achievements by expanding their investment in saving lives and reducing inequities. It is not only possible – it is happening, it works, and there is much more still to do,” she concludes (Bruni-Sarkozy, 7/7).

Prior to the start of the summit, a coalition of groups, including Greenpeace, Water Aid and End Water Poverty, issued a call to G8 leaders to “tackle global water and sanitation issues, especially those in developing countries,” Water Tech Online reports. Oliver Cumming of Water Aid said, “Water and sanitation underpin all development efforts. Without access to safe water and sanitation, other decisions that the G8 make will be severely threatened” (7/7).