Civil Society and the Deauville Summit: ‘The Sherpa’ releases summary
The Sherpa has released their assessment of civil society’s response to the 2011 Deauville Summit. Not surprisingly, they characterized the NGOs as experiencing “mostly disappointment.” Criticisms emanated largely from the “fudging” of numbers in the Deauville Accountability Report’s assessment of the Gleneagles commitments on development aid and the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative. Overall, groups were disappointed with the vagueness of the final declaration, and the lack of any major progress on key development issues.
On development, Oxfam International was the most critical. According to represtantive Emma Seery, “Everything in Deauville, where yes means no, mandatory is voluntary, 19 can equal 1.26 and where broken promises are still worthy of praise”. The Global Campaign for Education expressed their frustration on the lack of any notable discussion of education. ActionAid criticized the G8 for slow progress on food security commitments, and urged G20 leaders to do more at the upcoming Cannes Summit. Representative Luca de Fraia had the following remarks: ”With the world one failed harvest away from a food crisis, it’s outrageous that the G8 has failed to use this year’s summit as an opportunity to initiate a response.” Numerous NGOs, such as InterAction and World Vision, voiced their anger over the vague nature of the declaration. “If Deauville is remembered at all – which is doubtful – it will be remembered as the summit that promised little and delivered even less,” read a statement by World Vision. “World leaders have got the words right, but until action is delivered, their dither and delay will continue to cost lives.”
While there was a lot of focus on Africa given the prominence of Arab Spring in the G8 talks, civil society actors felt that African development was not properly addressed. The ONE Campaign criticized the G8 for making any real progress on African development, and accused them of “chasing headlines” on Arab Spring instead. Their only point of praise was on the unprecedented agreement on transparency in extractive industries: “This is the first time the G8 has supported laws promoting transparency in the extractive sector – a fantastic achievement,” remarked CEO Jamie Drummond.
Other positive feedback came from organizations focused on global health, such as Save the Children and the Global Health Council, as well as those engaged in causes related to Arab Spring. Organizations such as Transparency International and Oxfam praised the G8 for their commitment to democracy promotion in the Middle East and North Africa. On health, NGOs welcomed the G8′s endorsement of the upcoming GAVI conference, which will take place in June.
Progress on the environment was seen as lacking. As mentioned in an earlier post, WWF criticized the G8 leaders for their “myopia” and lack of innovation in the realm of climate change policy. Greenpeace International was also very critical, with Executive Director Kumi Naidoo stating, “The G8 came to Deauville in search of identity and purpose, but were blinded by their fossil fuel addictions and failed to take us towards a safe and secure energy future… For next year’s meeting, the G8 leaders should meet at a rehab clinic instead of a French gambling resort.”