Ok so hurrah, Policywonk is to be our Mumsnet representative inside the London Summit as part of G20Voice initiative - a group of 50 bloggers connecting the rest of the world with the G20 world leaders.
There is more information about the project at here but in short G20Voice has been organised by a coalition of non-profit organisations Oxfam GB, Comic Relief, and Save the Children with the support of the Blue State Digital and the UK Government. They have convinced the UK Govt to allow 50 bloggers into the summit with equal access to the mainstream media.
It's a 3 day programme starting April 1st the day before the summit and ending the day after. Day one will be about providing the bloggers with information and helping them get to know each other so that they can understand the issues they and their readers care about. It will be fairly unstructured along Barcamp/Unconference lines. We want the bloggers to decide the priorities and the questions they ask the next day.
The day of the summit will consist of a stream of people from the G20 delegations. They'll be asked to speak with the bloggers either en-masse or at round table discussions. People outside the summit can join in via Skype or phone lines.
The analysis day is about feedback from the bloggers and experts from Govt and NGOs on the decisions and announcements from the Summit.
All three days will be filmed and a video and audio stream will be available.
The main themes are global poverty and climate change/the environment but as they say on the website: 'This is the plan but in reality the event belongs to the bloggers. Everyone attending will have the chance to shape the schedule themselves.'
So anyway, that's the background and here's the thread for discussing your thoughts on global poverty and climate change in particular.
I think that the education of girls would be a great focus. The extent of female education seems to impact, or at least be intrinsically linked to, many of the areas that interest us as a group, doesn't it?
I recently saw some astonishing statistical differences - across a whole range of subjects - between areas where female education is sanctioned/possible, and areas where it's not.
Women/girls also affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (have just been studying it!) a lot in developing countries because of smoke from cooking fires. Practical Action really good on this.
I'm intrigued - no, disturbed - by MP's Geldof-shaped achilles heel.
PW, do you have any similarly fatal weaknesses which we should know about? If you reveal them in advance we may be able to help, but it will be quite difficult to retroactively explain away a sudden and international-incident-sparking lunge at, say, Angela Merkel.
Oh hello 100x. Thank you for your calming words. Of COURSE people don't need to be experts in anything to participate in this. God knows I'm an expert in nothing except freakishly extended breastfeeding (d'ya think it'll come up?)
Will add sexual harrassment of heads of state and ageing rockers to my to-do list. I don't think I fancy any current statesmen. I used to have a thing for Lord John Russell, but who didn't?
OBM, those statistics would be good if you can unearth them (and also that email contact I asked you for earlier?)
COPD/other pathology arising from biomass fuels (I think - animal dung isn't it?) - yes, good one. Will have a look at that link.
I think I have to go to bed, I'm a bit overwhelmed. Also I have to take a photograph of myself tomorrow for putting up on the site, so I need about 16 hours of sleep. I look forward to reading about the solutions to global poverty that you will all have posted here by tomorrow morning. xx
Hi PW. I just wanted to say good luck - you sound like you will cope with it all admirably. I've been racking my brain but haven't been able to come up with a solution to global poverty/environmental catastrophe . Maternal health and female education would be a great start though.
Policywonk -- There was some nice sounding sensible man on the Today Program this morning at about 08:00. Must have been right before Prayer for the Day...
Anyway, nice sensible man who put John Humpheys in his place by being polite, suggested that water supplies were the key in global poverty, in addition to agricultural techniques where apparently a large amount (60 - 70%?) were wasted in the developing nations...
Am glad you are on the case (and not taking the role too terribly seriously!!)
I'll keep posting as my thoughts/ dcs allow, but here are my personal bugbears:
1. FGM (female genital mutilation -- very complex issue, bring it up and watch the room scatter) 2. EPZs (export processing zones, often employing primarily women in substandard conditions -- the discussion is far more complex than to label them all sweatshops, as often they provide opportunities to women in less tangible ways, but still need to be regulated) 3. education for young women 4. sex education for both sexes 5. provision of adequate healthcare, especially ante- and post- natal 6. sigh
I guess I would want to know what the political agenda is behind pushing only one hypothesis for environmental issues in the media - is it the media doing their own thing and ignoring an alternate so's not to confuse readerships or is it something else. I mean the whole 'incnvenient truth' issue. There are a lot of inconvenient truths about it, not least that its main function seems to be keeping Al Gore's profile up and netting him millions on the speech circuit.
The alternate hypothesis is about redirecting resourses into local environments to help people on the ground develop flood defenses, and facilitate organised migration away from flood zones, something that Kyoto and such agreements wouldn't help. People like Bjorn Lomberg who propose these arguments are't nutters, nor are they climate change denialists, they are offering alternate hypotheses about resourse distribution - crucially a less centralised system such as Kyoto, and this is the reason many countries, including the US, didn't sign the Kyoto agreement, not because they are climate change denialists (tho they exist of course).
Why are the public not being given a fair precis of these arguments in the media? Envieoinmentalism is a humanitarian cause that seems to have been hijacked by politics, with the result that we, the public, aere not being given the information we need to make informed choices.
The issue on the role of the media passing on unbiased informnation so we can all make informed choices based on facts not opinions, is pretty central to all issues - poverty included. The government has expereience of this itself, as we all get our politics via the filter of the press. With such a huge influence on people, isn't it time that the self-regulation of the press is seriously invesitgated? Political reporters now think themselves peers of politicians. It's a ridiculous state of affairs.
The freedom of the press should always be protected, but we also need a body set up specifically where people can go to get information before it is spun? A well funded, highly visible body. There are no mechanisms within the press to guard against human foibles as there are in science and, a lesser degree, politics. This is a massive oversight in view of the massive influence the media has on society, isn't it?
Hi policywonk - good luck! It sounds like it will be a really amazing experience, although slightly scary!
I agree that issues like maternal/infant mortality and girls education are angles that Mumsnet has a natural interest in.
I'm concerned that with the global financial crisis that G20 countries will be looking to cut their development aid budgets, so I would be looking for a commitment that won't happen ... and can the leaders of the G20 commit to ringfencing more money within their aid budgets so that it goes to infant/child mortality and girls education?
Often aid budgets (including the UK's Department for International Development) are channelled through general 'budget support' whereby large sums of money are given to the governments of recipient countries but it isn't targeted at specific issues or projects and can easily get swallowed up by other things.
PW, i'm in a bit f a rush and may be able to come back later.. a few weeks ago there was 1 dya of news about somehting that i think was absoltuelt monumental in terms of world health/politics
one of the big big drug companies decided to relax the pricing for third world countries... to a level that really was ver very helpful. the company was asking other drug companies to do the same. then i heard nothing more....
it was one day about a month ago- or maybe a litle longer.
and echo the nestle problem, female education, infnt and maternal mortaily, seat shops.. women and kids and err will think of more.