A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
As the Deauville Summit comes to a close, international aid agency Oxfam warned that the G8 is losing credibility by showing no real decision-making in its Communiqué.
"Everything is relative in Deauville, where yes means no, mandatory is voluntary, 19 can equal 1.27 and where broken promises are still worthy of praise," said Oxfam spokesperson Emma Seery.
The G8 has still not come to terms with the reality of the official OECD verdict on their aid figures, which shows that their $50 billion aid promise has been missed by a massive $19 billion. Instead, they are content with listing both this number and their own massaged figure that puts them almost on target.
"Apparently in Deauville, $19 billion can equal $1.27 billion, but in the real world the difference can mean life or death for the poorest people," said Seery.
Even though the G8 have failed to deliver in their partnership with Africa, today they have launched a new one.
"Today the G8 have made new promises in support of the Arab Spring, but unless they also deliver on their existing commitments to fight poverty, what’s to say this is not just another batch of empty promises?" Seery continued.
The ‘Deauville partnership’ between the G8 and the Middle East and North Africa importantly recognizes that the poor and marginalized in Egypt and Tunisia should see tangible change as a result of the recent revolutionary shifts in their countries. Thousands of people in Egypt are demonstrating against ongoing human rights violations in their country.
"Any such partnership must be grounded in the mutual respect for fundamental human rights, and political freedoms that will support a peaceful transition to democracy," said Seery.
Support to the region is important, but any new financial package must not create new debt.
Oxfam welcomes the G8’s mention of legislation to increase reporting in the oil, gas and mining industries, as part of their commitment transparency. But this success has been watered down by some G8 countries that insisted on the wording ‘or voluntary’ in the communiqué, leaving an opt out clause.
"The G8 have managed to create an oxymoron out of an opportunity, by backing ‘mandatory voluntary’ reporting for oil, gas and mining companies," said Mamadou Biteye, West African regional director for Oxfam. "Oxfam calls for the G8 to stop dithering, as only mandatory reporting can arm citizens with the information they need to hold their governments accountable, while paving the way for developing country governments to get the fairest deal from rich companies."
Notes to editors
Laura Rusu: + 00 1 202 459 3739 LRusu@oxfamamerica.org
Magali Rubino: + 00 33 6 30 46 66 04 MRubino@oxfamfrance.org