G20 world leaders have failed to take definitive action to tackle poverty, hunger, climate, debt and deprivation that is crippling millions of people around the world, says Oxfam.
“In the midst of a debt, austerity and inequality crisis we expected far more from the world’s largest economies, especially given the meteoric rise of billionaire wealth in their backyards,” said Oxfam’s G20 Lead Joern Kalinski. “The world needs concrete action to avert economic disaster for poor people and countries, but all we were left with was recycled assurances, a simmering debt crisis and vaccine and health steps as useful as putting a band aid on a broken leg,” he said.
“The G20 represent two thirds of the world’s population and four fifths of the world’s economic power. At a time we needed leaders to use this economic muscle for the greater good, they blinked and shrank away. There was no sign of a collective resolve to address the world’s problems including climate crisis, growing hunger, rising poverty figures and gaping economic and social inequality,” said Kalinski.
Oxfam takes note of the G20 support for the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, but regrets that there is no stronger emphasis on ensuring that the agreement meets humanitarian needs. The grain and other foodstuff shipped under the Initiative should support low-income countries suffering of high levels of hunger, especially in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.
Simultaneously, the G20 reiterated often-heard promises of addressing world hunger but makes no new funding pledges to match that ambition nor commitments to support a shift to a more local and sustainable food production. Our food system has for years perpetuated inequality, impoverished small-scale farmers while wreaking havoc on the climate. There is a need to invest in diverse, local sustainable food production that helps countries to become less dependent on food imports; and support smallholder food producers, especially women.
“The G20s theme was “Recover Together, Recover Stronger” but how can that be realized when this summit did nothing to bolster public goods like public health systems or make tangible new commitments to fix all the breakages in nations’ education systems?” said Kalinski. “With so many low and middle-income countries facing budget crises and debt disaster, we needed the world’s richest economies to put additional debt-free finance on the table, but they have shied away from their responsibilities,” he said. “The G20 has shown an unfathomable ability to forget the scale of the economic, social and health crisis caused by the neglect and under-resourcing of health systems which are now more geared towards eyewatering profits over patients.”