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Report Examines G8′s $22B Food Security Pledge, Highlights Need For Funding Delivery

A report from the anti-poverty group ActionAid finds that less than one-third of the $22 billion that was pledged to improve food security during a 2009 G8 meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, is from new funding sources, the U.K. Press Association reports (6/18).

According to the report, “there is no proof of an increase in funds for the agricultural sector, over and above figures for the 2006-2008 period – and several signatories are actually reducing their aid to agriculture.” The report also notes that “[t]o date, there is no official information on what has actually been spent in countries and whether governments are holding true to their commitments” (June 2010).

ActionAid’s “research is based on agricultural spending by G8 countries in 2008,” the most recent publicly available information, according to a press release from the organization (6/18).

The report highlighted follow up by the U.S., which it named “as the ‘star performer’ on agricultural aid since L’Aquila,” the Press Association writes. The report said Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. have also increased aid, but overall spending has gone down because Italy, Japan and the EU have reduced agricultural aid (6/18).

“With child and maternal mortality expected to be high on the G8 agenda this year, ActionAid warns that unless rich nations deliver on their … food promise, it is unlikely they can tackle death rates among women and children in poor countries,” according to the press release.

The organization is calling for the upcoming G8 summit to create a “clear and transparent plan … to ensure that the money promised in L’Aquila is not also spent on a patchwork of uncoordinated projects, some of which have little to do with fighting hunger,” the press release states (6/18).

In related news, BMJ looks at the “growing” concern among U.N. officials and advocates that developed nations’ efforts “to reduce public debt will adversely affect the amount of aid earmarked for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.” The article references the ActionAid report, as well as a report from Oxfam calling on G8 and G20 leaders to “keep their promises and act now to get MDGs back on track.”

“Last year’s high level taskforce on innovative financing for health, which included WHO and the World Bank, estimated minimum per capita funding requirements in 49 low income countries at $40 in 2009, rising to $60 in 2015. Current average funding in these countries is $32 per capita per year, it says,” BMJ writes.

The article includes quotes from James Howard, director of economic and social policy with the International Trade Union Confederation; Supachai Panitchapakdi, secretary-general of the U.N. conference on trade and development; and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (6/16).