Methodist Church response to the G8 summit

The Methodist Church has welcome the news from the G8 summitthat an additional $50 billion in aid has been secured for Africa.The Church also hailed the pledge of $3 billion in aid for thePalestinian Authority.

But Church leaders said that some of the news from the summit wasdisappointing. Anthea Cox, Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary forPublic Life and Social Justice, said "although we are pleased bythe aid packages for Africa and Palestine this is only a step inthe right direction and more is needed, and sooner, if we are toreally see alleviation of poverty in the world's poorest countries.We would also have hoped for the G8 to build upon the recent dealon debt agreed by the G8 finance ministers. We are sorry that theG8 leaders could not reach agreement on fairer trade, especiallyregarding agriculture subsidies. Perhaps most disappointing is thelack of progress on climate change, rem e bering that that thepoorest countries are often the most disadvantaged by globalwarming. Nonetheless, at the halfway point of the Make PovertyHistory Campaign, the G8 leaders have begun to listen to whatpeople are saying, and if we continue to keep the pressure on ourleaders then we can hope for more movement in the second half ofthe year."

Anthea Cox added "the first six months of Make Poverty History haveshown that people can make their voices heard. The aid packagesannounced at Gleneagles are good news for poorer countries, butthere is still much more that can and must be done. In particular,we need to see real movement on trade. I hope that all oursupported will continue to keep up the call for the end of unfairtrade barriers and subsidies. As the UK holds the presidency of theEU until the end of this year, our government has a real chance toeffect change on trade. FAir trade is key to the long-termeradication of poverty, and with better aid and dropping the debtwill make a fairer and kinder world."

Kirsty Smith, director of the Methodist Relief and DevelopmentFund, said "it is clear that the message is getting through. Fortoo long we have ignored the death toll caused by poverty, but Ihope that people now understand that ending poverty is somethingthat we can all play a part in, by pressing our leaders for thepolicies that affect so many people. I want to thank everyone whohas supported the campaign so far, and encourage them to keep thepressure on as we move ever closer to our goals. The news on aid isencouraging, and we agree that governance is an important part ofthe deal. Aid must be given on the understanding that it will bewell-managed. However, all of this will not achieve anything ifthere isn't also a seismic shift in trade policy, and we expectsignificant changes at the WTO talks in the autumn."