Adel Mansour takes his WFP food basket home on a cart in Abyan, Yemen. Credit: WFP/Ahmed Altaf
  • Opinion by Max Lawson (London)
  • Interpress service

Hunger and guilt

“If the G7 really wants closer ties to the developing world and greater support for the war in Ukraine, then asking leaders of the Global South to fly across the world for a couple of hours isn’t going to cut it. They need to write off debt and do it. what it takes to end hunger.

“Countries in the Global South are being crippled by a food and debt crisis of enormous proportions. Hunger has increased faster than in decades, and across the globe. In East Africa, two people die every minute from hunger. Countries are paying over $200 million for day to the G7 and their bankers, money they could spend on feeding their people instead.

“The money they say they will provide for the world’s rapidly growing humanitarian crises is not even half of what the UN is requesting, and it is not clear what, if anything, is new or additional – and the G7 has a terrible track record. on double counting and inflating numbers every year.

“These food and debt crises are direct consequences of the war in Ukraine. If the G7 wants support from the Global South, they must be seen to take action on these issues — they must write off debt and force private banks to participate in debt write-off, and they must massively increase funding to end hunger and famine worldwide.”

Climate change

“The G7 owes the Global South $8.7 trillion for the devastating losses and damages caused by their excessive carbon emissions. In the G7 Hiroshima Communiqué, they said they recognized the existence of a new loss and damage fund, but failed to commit a single cent.

“It is good that they continue to recognize the need to meet 1.5 degrees and remain committed to this despite the energy crisis fueled by the war in Ukraine, but they are trying to blame everyone else – they themselves are far from doing their bit part of what is needed to achieve this goal and they should have been on track years ago.

“They reaffirm their commitment to end public funding of fossil energy, they maintain their loophole on new fossil gas and use the war as an excuse. This means they have continued to wriggle out of their commitment not to publicly fund new fossil fuels, making a mockery of their fine statements. The G7 must stop using fossil fuels immediately — the planet is on fire.”


“The G7 had hundreds of fine words about preparing for the next pandemic, but failed to make the critical commitment – that never again would the G7 allow Big Pharma’s profits and intellectual property rights to lead to millions dying needlessly, unable to access vaccines . Given a 27 percent chance of another pandemic within a decade, this omission is chilling.”

More about debt, food and hunger

“Over half of all debt payments from the Global South go to the G7 or to private banks based in G7 countries, especially New York and London. Over $230 million per day flows to the G7.

Countries are bankrupt and spend far more on debt than on healthcare or food for their people. Debt payments have risen sharply as countries in the Global South borrow in dollars, so rising interest rates exceed the payments they have to make.

“The G7 saying they support clauses to temporarily suspend debt payments for the countries hit by climate disasters is a positive step and a tribute to Barbados and Prime Minister Mia Mottley for fighting for this. They need to go further and write off debt for all nations who need it, a growing number daily.

Money is flowing from the Global South into the G7 economies — it’s the wrong direction.”

Max Lawson is Oxfam International’s Director of Inequality Policy.

Footnote: UNOCHA’s current total requirement for humanitarian crises is almost $56 billion. The G7 communique says they will commit to providing over $21 billion to address the worsening humanitarian crises this year (paragraph 16).

IPS UN agency

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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service