Rarely do world leaders set their sights on issues that really count for people living in poverty. But this year’s G20 summit in France on November 3-4 promises to be different.
Thanks to some inspired leadership from the French presidency and tremendous activism pushing governments everywhere, the gathering has become a venue for momentous decisions on world hunger.
They will take up urgent measures to stabilize food prices and enhance the world’s ability to help the vulnerable when food crises hit. Like establishing emergency food reserves to speed up response to food shortages. Like tightening regulation of financial derivatives to stop speculation from driving up food prices. Like removing government incentives to use food for fuel.
The G20 asked Bill Gates to recommend innovative ways to raise the revenue urgently needed to help the vulnerable, and surprise! He came out supporting the Robin Hood Tax – a small levy on the transactions of financial institutions that could raise hundreds of billions to fight poverty and climate change. With G20 blessing, Robin Hood could soon be implemented in countries around the world.
There is potential for a dramatic breakthrough. But it will take widespread and sustained public pressure to convince leaders to act. Join me in doing our part to make a difference.
Mark Fried is Policy Coordinator with Oxfam Canada.