G8 'unfinished business' says IF Campaign
A step in the right direction - but unfinished business
That's the response of the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign to the G8 summit which took place in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland this week.
The IF campaign, a coalition of development agencies, charities and faith groups including both our Baptist Union of Great Britain and BMS World Mission, had called on the G8 leaders to take action on the root causes of global hunger.
It identified four areas - tax dodging, land grabs, transparency and aid, and progress was made in some of these. At the Nutrition for Growth event, which took place on Saturday 8 June, leaders pledged an additional $4.1 billion to tackle nutrition.
At the trade, tax and transparency summit on Saturday 15 June, David Cameron announced that all Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories were ready to sign the Multilateral Convention on Tax Matters.
On Tuesday the G8 leaders agreed new measures to combat illegal evasion of taxes and legal tax avoidance through loopholes and tax havens.
But in response the IF campaign, while welcoming some of the actions taken, said more needs to be done - and urged future summits 'to finish the job'.
'The G8 tax deal is a step in the right direction, but it also leaves major unfinished business,' said Sally Copley, Enough Food For Everyone IF spokesperson.
'Although the G8 has set out the right ambition on information exchange, poor countries battling hunger can't afford to wait to be included.
'It's progress that more tax authorities will know who owns phantom firms so they can crackdown on them, but a summit focussed on transparency can't justify keeping this information secret.
'The public argument for a crackdown on tax dodging has been won, but the political battle remains. Future G8s and G20s must urgently finish the job.'
Christian Aid's Churches Campaigns Manager and IF spokesperson, Al Roxburgh, has been blogging for The Baptist Times in the months leading up to the G8 summit. He praised all those who have supported the IF campaign and played a part in establishing these issues on the G8 agenda.
On Monday an IF campaign petition with 1.4 signatures was delivered to David Cameron.Around 45,000 people attended a rally in London last Saturday, with thousands more at another in Belfast at the weekend.
'Having campaigned on this issue for five years it was great to be at the G8 in Northern Ireland and see our political leaders talking about the need for tax justice for the world's poorest people,' said Mr Roxburgh.
'It's been a lot of work but all the hours we've put in has been worthwhile to see this now on the forefront of the political agenda.
'This couldn't have been done without the campaigning actions of our supporters.
'Everyone who prayed, wrote a letter or a postcard or supported in other ways should feel rightly proud of themselves.'
'To quote Winston Churchill,' he continued, 'the agreement signed by the G8 leaders isn't the end of the fight, it might not even be the beginning of the end, but it's the end of the beginning.'