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Broken promises

The G8 recently grabbed headlines by promising $20 billion to fight hunger. Trouble is, the G8 seldom keeps its promises.

A boy eats roti at a slum in Mumbai February 27, 2009. According to a recent report by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), more than 1.5 million children are at risk of becoming malnourished because of rising global food prices. Can the G8 help? (Photo by Arko Datta / Reuters)

ROME – Last month’s Group of Eight summit fell so short of expectations that the viability G8 itself was called into question. But there was one eye-catching outcome: a pledge of $20 billion to help shore up food production in the poorest parts of the world.

On the surface, the promise was worthy of the attention it garnered. The money — which easily surpassed an early target of $15 billion — is to be paid out over three years to help fund sustainable agriculture and provide emergency food aid in underdeveloped areas in Africa and Asia.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the plan was “a commitment to reform the way the international community approaches food security.” Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister of Italy, which hosted the summit, dubbed the agreement “historic” and “essential.” Activists were pleased as well. Rock star-turned-activist Bono called it “both smart and innovative.”

Peter McPherson, co-chair of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, said “The G8 initiative is exactly the kind and the scope of aid that poor countries need.”

The trouble is, the program may never bear fruit. That’s because the G8 has a history of failing to fulfill its commitments...

 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/diplomacy/090812/broken-promises