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Co-Director, Civil Society and Expanded Dialogue Unit, G8 Research Group
Gleneagles, 6 July 2005
G8RG: You feel that corporations are a problem, so is G8 reform, bringing in the third world countries into the dialogue, the appropriate way to go. Or would that just entrench the neo-liberal agenda?
Fall: I think that we cannot do without making the G8 itself accountable and responsible. The G8 should be accountable and responsible because it is their corporations that are acting in Africa and the developing world. These corporations are the ones that act by employing people without giving them health benefits, by employing people and paying them a minimum wage. And the G8 countries are the ones that are pushing privatisation that enables corporations to make medicine without enabling poor countries to manufacture medicine for malaria, medicine for HIV/AIDS. So the G8 must be accountable.
G8RG: How do you make the G8 accountable? Does bringing in the developing countries make the dialogue more accountable?
Fall: Absolutely. The G8 must be more accountable by bringing the less developed countries [to] the table by ensuring that when we are talking about debt forgiveness and when we are talking about aid there should be an independent voice. But also civil society. Look at the Make Poverty History campaign that has put in so much effort in raising awareness of poverty, who have the skills and the knowledge to do so. People from developing countries have the independence to think freely and the independence to defend the rights of their people. [inaudible] Human rights experts in addition to the G8 should sit at the table and decide what [should be done about] poverty. It should not be just up to the [G8] to do so. Its undemocratic.
G8RG: In terms of this specific summit, how do you feel that you were able to get your objectives on to the table of G8?
Fall: I think that there has been a formidable mobilization, all levels of mobilization in many countries, the issues have been popularized and many people have been made more aware and many people are feeling the need to be involved. At the same time the G8 is not acting the way we want it to act. One thing is being said to the media to feel good and have good public relations. But on the other side they are not practicing what they say. The numbers [on aid] are way below expectations even way below what they declared they would offer. What happens is that we are seeing that they are not walking the talk. On the one side they say poverty is an issue [and] we need to tackle poverty [and] we need to ensure that no child is going hungry, but at the same time they are not providing the means to make this possible. Poor countries cannot do it alone, they have made too many sacrifices. The people in the poor countries are paying 68% of their revenues to service the debt, but they have so much for so much for so long, that it needs to be cancelled without conditionality and it needs to be cancelled entirely.
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