Oxfam and 100 allies in the United Kingdom have launched a new campaign targeting the G8 summit taking place in June in Northern Ireland. Their proposition is simple: that hunger can be ended and the G8 can get the ball rolling.
When UK Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes Stephen Harper and other world leaders June 17-18, they’ll face the largest antipoverty mobilization since Make Poverty History in 2005. This time the campaign is called “Enough Food for Everyone IF…”
One in eight women, men and children will go to bed hungry tonight. The campaign’s report shows that by 2025, nearly a billion young people will face poverty because of the hunger they suffer today. That poses a grave economic burden: hunger will cost the developing world $123 billion a year in lost economic output over the next 15 years.
It does not have to be that way. By addressing four big ‘IF’s, the G8 can set us on the path to a world where everyone has enough to eat:
- IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.
- IF governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.
- IF governments close loopholes to stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
- IF we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.
“The anti-hunger agenda set out by our colleagues in the UK shows what the G8 can do to end this scourge,” said Robert Fox, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada. “They have named the four crucial issues: end land grabs and the biofuel mandates that drive them, keep aid promises, close tax havens and shine a light on investor practices.”
All the G8 leaders will be pressed to take action. Canada should be on the side of the angels in this battle. Who wants to see poor farmers thrown off their land to grow fuel for our cars? Who wants to allow corporations to evade taxes by hiding their money overseas? And who opposes openness and transparency?
The campaign will turn the G8 summit into an opportunity to turn the corner on hunger. Canada has a great track record fighting hunger. The first step for Prime Minister Harper will be to restore full finding to Canadian International Development Agency programs that would build on that success. That opportunity comes up with budget 2013 next month.
The G8 summit won’t be the end of hunger, but it could be the beginning of the end.