G8 succeeds in accountability, strives for results

The state leaders wave during the G20 Summit in Toronto, Ontario on June 27, 2010. UPI/Alex Volgin
The state leaders wave during the G20 Summit in Toronto, Ontario on June 27, 2010. UPI/Alex Volgin | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- Future Group of Eight summits need to focus on real results and accountability and the recent gathering in Canada took a step in that direction, experts said at Wednesday's review of the outcomes from the June 25-26 world leaders meeting.

The leaders demonstrated both with the Muskoka Accountability Report, called a "landmark achievement" by Leonard J. Edwards, personal representative of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the G8.


"Credibility has to rest on being held accountable," Edwards said. "We felt we had to bring a new spirit to G8. We always felt G8 had a good story to tell -- not a perfect story but a good story."

The report analyzed recent G8 commitments and revealed mixed results, Edwards said. He pointed out that while G8 donors provided $5 billion to the Muskoka Initiative, which aims to strengthen country-led national health systems, the summit leaders need to keep working toward the 2009 L'Aquila Food Security Initiative to reduce global hunger and malnutrition. The 2011 summit will focus on food security and health.

"We were prepared to find ourselves falling short in a number of instances," Edwards said. "We need to remain focused."


Focusing includes understanding the difference between receiving the funding and what the funding achieves, said Mark Abdoo, director for global health and food security at the White House.

"Our metric for success shouldn't be dollars spent but actual lives saved," Abdoo said.

At the start of the discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, center Vice President J. Stephen Morrison said that G8 countries didn't become heavily involved in health until the second half of the 1990s but noted that the tie between economic growth and stability and healthcare is a crucial one.

"There are a couple things that pop out in that intersection -- pandemic preparedness, trade, intellectual property rights, viral sovereignty issues, rising chronic noncommunicable disorders that are arguably galloping forward in a way that's going to create enormous burdens on society and economies in the future," said Morrison, who also is director of the Global Health Policy Center.

Jennifer Kates, a senior health official at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said efforts need to be made to get health data quickly. For instance, donors made their funding decisions for 2008 after the global economic crisis and the health data they used to make the decisions were from before the crisis, she said.


"We need to find more real-time ways to make assessments so there are no lags between funding and research," Kates said.

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