I feel like Sydney from an episode of ALIAS!! OK, minus the hot pink wig, the tight dress and the fluent Russian. This stay at home mom and ONE volunteer is taking in all the sights and sounds of the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. The setting on an island in the Baltic Sea--which we travel to through security check points and only by boat--adds to the spy movie feel, but in reality it is all business here at the G8.
This morning I attended a press conference with President Bush and Russian President Putin. The men discussed very important global concerns including the nuclear weapon issue and the conflict in the mideast. Having never been in the same room with a U.S. President I was quite taken with it all. But throughout the press conference I kept having this nagging question.
With all this talk of war and conflict, extreme poverty kills thousands of people every day. Will world leaders fulfill their promises made last year at the G8 or will they break their word?
I attended the G8 Summit last year as a ONE delegate where G8 leaders promised $50 billion more in effective international assistance per year by 2010, with half of that for Africa. Some other promises included near universal access to AIDS drugs and care for AIDS orphans and to reduce the impact of malaria by 85% and help save the lives of 600,000 children every year. When it comes to these AID promises the G8 leaders are off track. America has made some increases in development assistance but more needs to be done. With debt the G8 has kept their promise canceling the debt of 19 countries. Will they make advances on trade as the recent collapse of trade talks threatens the poorest countries.
I’m just one, ordinary person who in this moment is having an extraordinary experience, and who is sitting in on Presidential press conferences. So far Bush has not asked for a sit down chat with me yet! And that is the power of ONE. As one person I’m just sitting in a room full of people with my silent questions. Together we are loud and those nagging concerns become points on the world leader’s agenda at the G8 Summit.
On Sunday the G8 leaders are scheduled to discuss these things. As ONE we need to urge G8 leaders to keep their promises to Africa and the world’s poorest people.
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