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Bicnod's going to the G8 for you lot - come and post your thoughts, questions, ideas

(117 Posts)
Bicnod Thu 13-Jun-13 14:07:28

Right, so I'm off to the G8 Summit on Sunday representing YOU LOT as part of the IF Campaign. This is a Very Scary Thing.

Original thread here - I was chosen because I am extremely clever and interesting, and not just because Justine picked my name out of a hat <ahem>

I'll be there as part of the IF@G8 bloggers project - see here for mugshots - I'm the one at the bottom hugging a random child. I'm slightly unnerved by the blogging prowess of the others <faints>

The main point of the IF campaign is that there is enough food in the world for everyone, but not everyone has enough food. One in eight people go to bed hungry every night and over three million children die each year through malnutrition.

I think we're all agreed that this is not on.

IF the G8 leaders act now to increase aid, clamp down on tax dodgers, support small scale farmers and stop land grabs, then 2013 could be the beginning of the end for global hunger. More info on all the ishoos here

So what do you lot think? What do you want me to say to the G8 leaders if I get the chance? Are we still interested in biscuits or have we moved on? I can't remember if we ever got an answer from DC on that point.

Any opinions, questions, stories, general musings welcome.

I love MN by the way - I've been here since 2008. I first posted (different username) while on a work trip to Ethiopia. I found out I was pregnant with DS1 on the day I flew and needed some reassurance - I got it and have been here ever since.

I want to do you all proud so please pile in.


Solo Thu 13-Jun-13 16:52:12

Erm...good luck!

My small contribution to the IF campaign at Dd's school was to say that if every human in the country/western world gave just 1 penny, then there would be a lot of money to help the cause. I guess a £ each would be even better.

BIWI Thu 13-Jun-13 16:53:59

Nothing specific at the moment comes into my head, but I wanted to say bloody well done for being prepared to do this, and really good luck. I'm sure you'll do a brilliant job!

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 17:35:45

Thanks Bicnod for doing this!

IIRC most of the questions when I did the G20 were about Michelle Obama's arms <misty memories>

So - can you give us a rundown of which leaders are attending and what their spouses' arms are like

liveotherwise Thu 13-Jun-13 17:51:20

Hey there!

Fabulous stuff. Could you ask about transparency? How do we know that aid is actually going to the people it's supposed to help, and not just shuttling off into the pockets of corrupt officials, or companies who are doing their own thing. (This was brought up at the BigIF event by two campaigners from Tanzania and Congo, so I'm not just being paranoid and all that, though I can do that too ;) )

I wrote about that meeting but can't remember whether I'm allowed to link to my blogpost here or not? Doh.


RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 18:33:21


I wrote about that meeting but can't remember whether I'm allowed to link to my blogpost here or not? Doh.

We've checked and you're a lovely paid-up MN Blogger so yes, do feel free!

YoniMatopoeia Thu 13-Jun-13 19:16:11

Good luck bicnod. I don't have anything specific to add to the IF campaign, though I love the idea of something being done about tax havens.

taczilla Thu 13-Jun-13 19:55:01

Nothing of importance to add but this is my home town and it is very friendly and in a lovely part of the world. So my advice is make sure you visit Blakes pub and all will be well.
Have a really good time.

BerylStreep Thu 13-Jun-13 21:23:25

I think this is a great effort, but I really worry about it being overshadowed by violent protests rather than getting message across.

I know the event in Botanic Gardens, Belfast is being billed as a faith based family event, but I certainly wouldn't be bringing my family anywhere near it. It's a shame.

Bicnod Thu 13-Jun-13 21:24:03

Right, screamy DS2 finally asleep - I think he knows my mind is elsewhere [frazzled emoticon]

And breathe.

Thanks for the good luck smile I'll need it in spades

@RowanMumsnet - the core G8 member states and representative leaders are:

UK - PM David Cameron
USA - President Barack Obama
France - President Francoise Hollande
Germany - Chancellor Angela Merkel
Italy - PM Enrico Letta
Japan - PM Shinzo Abe
Canada - PM Stephen Harper
Russia - President Vladimir Putin

Here's a photo of them all arriving in Enniskillen for the Summit.

BTW a quick google image search reveals that Michelle Obama still wins on the arm front.

@liveotherwise - I was at the BigIF too smile

How can we be sure that aid reaches those who need it is a really good question <gets out pen and adds to list>

Transparency is one of the issues the IF Campaign is pushing the G8 for action on. They want governments and big companies to be more open and honest about the deals they make that impact on hunger - see here - but I don't think this quite answers your question.

I remember seeing a pretty good response on a Q&A recently so will have a dig around and see if I can find it.

@YoniMatopoeia - yes yes to something being done about tax havens. Have you seen this?

I'm very happy to shout loudly on behalf of MN and myself that the G8 need to clamp down on tax dodgers. I can't believe some of the stories I've read recently while in a state of panic that I know nothing where poor market traders in developing countries are paying MORE tax than big multinationals operating in the same town. Outrageous.

@taczilla - thanks for the tip grin

Bicnod Thu 13-Jun-13 21:31:51

X-posts BerylStreep

One of the other bloggers, Jack Monroe, wrote very eloquently about violent protest a couple of days ago - see here

LackaDAISYcal Thu 13-Jun-13 23:21:03

Nothing to add for you to raise as a global issue as I sadly know absolutely diddly squat about politics and even less about World politics, but wanted to wish you a very big MN best. You will be fine, I'm sure!

Oh, at a local level, why is it so difficult for supermarkets and food retailers tom give their surplus stock to charities? and if they can't give it away why are they so against people helping themselves to the stuff that is thrown away?

Surely an organisation set up to collate and distribute the "on it's date" stuff would make a huge difference to the World's hungry?

or is that incredibly naive? As I said, I don't really know enough about politics, to m,y shame blush

MmeLindor Fri 14-Jun-13 09:29:53

Bookmarking to come back and reply properly when I have time

johnworf Fri 14-Jun-13 09:38:54

Ask David Cameron why he isn't doing more about wealth inequality and in particular, those at the bottom being more and more less well off and driven into poverty. My suggestion is that large companies in UK should all put 5% of their net profit into a social fund for those who are struggling.

And well done Bicnod. Wish you luck and send hugs. smile

Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 09:42:32

Have PMed you, Bicnod! Good luck!

Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 09:47:46

Oh and agree re transparency being key objective. Corruption derails much aid effort. Keeping it local as far as possible also helps. Working with NGOs with local, frontline links so mother tongue communication and much lower overheads. Need to link to local/national gov tho (however corrupt) as access to distribution channels plus often provide crucial subsidies without which much activity would not be sustainable.

PennieLane Fri 14-Jun-13 09:57:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 09:59:42

Hi Biconod!

You're doing great! I hope you are less frazzled this morning! Hey we have something in common - I also realised I was pregnant with DS1 on a work trip to Ethiopia, how spooky is that! But mine was in 2005
BA lost my luggage, so I ended up running a workshop in the highlands in the one ( linen) outfit I travelled in - I had to wrap myself in blankets for dinner and breakfast !!

SacreBlue Fri 14-Jun-13 10:02:17

Hi Bicnod, thanks for the invite grin

You may find the pre conference interesting, it's on now but you can watch later too

I will have a think and come back in a bit smile

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 10:05:54

Morning lovely people smile

Just getting my head together and will read through thread and respond.

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 10:14:53

@LackaDAISYcal - thanks for the MN best.

That reminds me, I need to work out what to wear <shallow>

Good point about supermarkets/food retailers giving surplus stock to charity. Will add it to the list. The IF Campaign is about stopping hunger worldwide, and that includes the UK, so very relevant.

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 10:19:11

@johnworf hugs gratefully accepted <clings dramatically in state of panic>

When you say wealth inequality and those at the bottom being driven into poverty do you mean in the UK specifically?

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 10:24:57

The issue of transparency is tied up in issues of accountability and governance.

There are several different types of Aid.

When the uk government gives to NGO's it's very tightly monitored and funds move through systems that are in independant of the country where works take place. Any problem with funds being misused would be at the very local level and be small in the scheme of things. NGO's have lead the way in developing monitoring and evaluation techniques - many of which are now used across local government In the UK.

When the UK government gives to the UN it is also fairly rigorously monitored and separate from the government coffers in the recipient country. A separate question here would be the value of the enormous bureaucracy of the UN system in relation to the quality it offers in some areas if it work.

When the UK government gives aid money directly to another government in terms of a bilateral agreement ( where misapropiration of funds is more possible) you run into issues of accountability. The UK government are accountable to us as taxpayers, but the recipient government is only accountable to their taxpayers. In many countries with serious poverty issues these chains of governance are weak, we can only attempt to influence them and support them in achieving good governance. They have no obligation to account to us for the aid that we give them.

So I personally think a key question for the G8 is about the future of bilateral aid, and whether breaking down trade barriers would be more appropriate in its effect in lifting people out of poverty, especially after DFID got their fingers burned in Rwanda and Ethiopia where they had big bilateral agreements over the first half of last decade.

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 10:28:13

Typed that Essay on phone whilst boobing DD <collapses>

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 10:31:12

@Salbertina - thank you for your PM smile You clearly know a lot about this stuff. You mentioned education as being key and I totally agree. I know that one of the IF campaign aims is to have more Aid directed towards nutrition specifically so will find out what that actually means and if that includes nutrition education etc.

I also agree about transparency being a crucial issue. What do we want the G8 specifically to do to ensure this is addressed?

The IF Campaign is pushing for the UK government and big companies to be more open about their actions that affect people in developing countries, but what could be done to ensure developing country governments are themselves more transparent and therefore more easily held to account by their own people?

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