Thursday, 9 July 2009

G8 leaders are feasting while people in the world are dying of hunger, says Oxfam

Oxfam campaigners say G8 leaders are feasting at the L'Aquila summit while one in six people around the world are going hungry.

ROME, ITALY (JULY 9, 2009) REUTERS -
Oxfam campaigners on Thursday (July 8) staged a mock demonstration, calling on G8 leaders to "stop feasting" at the L'Aquila summit while, they say, one in six people around the world were going hungry.
Wearing masks mocking G8 leaders, the protesters sat around tables eating large plates of spaghetti in the heart of Rome, to send a message that ending hunger needed to be at 'top of the menu' at the summit.

"The eight richest countries in the world have the responsibility to address the problem of hunger in an integral way, in all its aspects, from climate change, from development aid, investment in agriculture and give a solution that is sustainable and that is fair to all people in the world," said Arianne Arpa, Oxfam's director of Spain.

Leaders of the world's richest nations and major developing powers meet on Thursday, second day of the summit, to seek common ground on global warming and international trade, with the poorer countries seeking concessions.

The Group of Eight leaders on Wednesday (July 8) agreed to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial levels and pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by between 50 and 80 percent by mid-century.

Oxfam says that while this is a positive sign, more needs to be done.

"What we would like to see now is concrete measures taking place at a country level within the G8 to reduce climate change to 2 degrees (Celsius) that they have committed (to) and in addition to that also we would like them to put in concrete measures to mitigate food security which is also linked to climate change," said Michael O'Brien, Oxfam's regional campaigns manager.

The leaders will discuss a U.S. proposal that rich nations commit 15 billion U.S. dollars (9.25 billion pounds) over several years for agricultural development in poor countries to ensure food supplies.

Washington is ready to mobilise 3-4 billion USD (1.8-2.5 billion pound) and wants other partners to match that commitment, according to a draft declaration. The United States has advocated a shift in the fight against global hunger from giving emergency aid to helping countries produce more of their own food.