Planet Burns While G8 Fiddles

Published on IPS, by Ramesh Jaura, July 9, 2008.

“The summit (in Toyako on the northern Japanese island Hokkaido) has been another betrayal of the poor and citizens of G8 countries,” Kumi Naidoo, co-chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) told IPS.

“The outcome shows a lack of understanding of the heart of the issues causing hunger and desperation in many countries. We hope the citizens of these eight countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Canada and the United States) will put more pressure on their out-of-touch leaders,” Naidoo said.

“The planet is burning while the G8 is fiddling,” the GCAP co-chair added.

Naidoo said the GCAP representatives of ten countries observing the G8 were deeply concerned at how out of touch with reality the G8 seemed to be on the main issues related to ending poverty.

GCAP is a growing alliance of trade unions, community groups, faith groups, women and youth organisations, NGOs and other campaigners working together across more than 100 countries. GCAP is calling for action from the world’s leaders to meet their promises to end poverty and inequality …

… The farmers point out that the G8 also explicitly promotes genetically modified organisms (GMO) as a solution to the food crisis. In doing so, they say, the G8 countries forget that the development of industrial agriculture, with the use of GMO seeds, large amounts of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and monoculture has left millions of farmers in debt.

The statement also challenges the G8 claim about “fostering small holder agriculture.” But Mashima said: “We are wondering how the world’s richest nations will support small farmers if they do not even allow them to enter the countries where they are meeting.”

Nineteen Korean farmers from Via Campesina were deported from Hokkaido airport Jul. 5 after being detained for 48 hours on the grounds that they could disturb the official meetings.

Mashima said that peasants and small food producers currently produce the bulk of world food, and no solution to the current crisis will be found without listening to them. (full text, July 9, 2008).

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