Cooked G8 Books Won't Feed Anyone: Oxfam

The G8 have failed to deliver on their aid promises and are using creative accounting to cover their tracks, international development agency Oxfam has warned.

May 18, 2011

 

In their Deauville Accountability Report, the G8 has massaged the figures, claiming to have delivered almost US$49 billion of the promised $50 billion. But according to the OECD, which is responsible for measuring the official aid figures, the G8 have delivered just $31 billion. Of the promised $25 billion promised to Africa, only $11 billion has really been delivered.

"Rather than deliver on their promises, the G8 have cooked the books and massaged their aid figures upwards to cover up their lack of action," said Robert Fox, Executive Director at Oxfam Canada. "This is not an accountability report, it is a cover up that is deeply embarrassing for the G8 and an insult to the world's poorest people."

The real shortfall in aid is $19 billion dollars. This is just seven days of G8 military spending, and just 0.06 per cent of their combined national income. The fact that this money has not been delivered has held back the very development goals the G8 have committed to reaching.

"Had the G8 met their aid promise, they could have got every child into school, paid the salaries of 800,000 midwives in Africa, and provided 1 million life-saving bed nets. These are the real costs of their inaction," Fox continued.

As the attached briefing note makes clear, Canada has very nearly met its commitment and the United States has met its, but only because they both put so little money on the table in the first place. Given Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment to accountability[i], it's particularly disappointing that Canada would endorse this report.

Italy, Germany, France, and Japan have all failed to find the money they promised to help the poor. Italy is the worst offender - providing only 0.15 per cent of its national income as aid, the lowest of all G8 countries and a far cry from the UN target of 0.7 per cent. Italy spent only $2.3 billion on aid in 2010, almost half of what the Italian government spent cars and drivers for ministry and other government employees. 

Germany is significantly off track, and France, chair and host of the G8 and G20 this year, also has some way to go, despite increases in aid last year. The UK is almost on track to meet its 2010 promise, and is on track to reach its promise of 0.7 per cent by 2013.

Beyond global ODA figures, the accountability report this year also focuses on the agriculture and health sectors. But the lack of information on how investments in those sectors were made prevents any exhaustive analysis in terms of both quantity and quality.

At the height of the 2008 food price crisis, the G8 committed to invest $22 billion in increased agricultural productivity with a particular focus on smallholder agriculture and women. Today, in the middle of yet another food crisis, the accountability report discloses that about half the aid pledged at L'Aquila has been scheduled for disbursement. But little if no information exists regarding where this aid has been delivered, what it has been used for and how effective it has been in meeting the needs of smallholder food producers.

"Two years ago, we welcomed the G8's commitment to increase their accountability and transparency, but by reducing this to a smoke and mirrors exercise they have fallen way short of the standard we expect from world leaders," Fox said.

/ENDS

http://www.g20-g8.com/g8-g20/root/bank_objects/Rapport_G8_GB.pdf

For further information:

Karen Palmer               613-240-3047              karen.palmer@oxfam.ca
Laura Rusu                  +1 202 459 3739         LRusu@oxfamamerica.org   (at the meeting in France)
Magali Rubino              + 33 6 30 46 66 04      MRubino@oxfamfrance.org  (at the meeting in France)