To the editor:
The recent G8 summit in Japan is an attempt by the leaders of the world's wealthiest countries to address several global crises that is, at best, weak and inadequate.
The commitment to cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 has been much lauded in the press. However, for this to be realistic, there will need to be specific, short-term benchmarks along the way. The statement provides none.
Further, the commitment of $60 billion over the next five years to combat treatable diseases like malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis would barely be enough to make significant inroads on AIDS alone.
Perhaps most disturbing however, is the failure to address the genocide in Darfur. Now in its sixth year, hundreds of thousands of residents have been killed by government-backed militias, and nearly 2.5 million Darfurians have fled their homes and live in refugee camps either in Sudan or in neighboring countries. This is to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands more who have been raped, tortured and maimed in some of the most brutal and sustained violence the world has seen since the Holocaust.
The fact that the commanders of the world's most powerful military forces say nothing of a government that singles out its own people for systematic and brutal violence is unthinkable.
Last week's summit is a reminder that we need to exert far greater pressure on our leaders to use the resources and influence at their disposal to effect real change in the suffering of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.