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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.


Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 10:37:49

Just to add from my (urban) SA perspective, vast numbers of people are moving away from rural areas to the cities due to lack of employment, poor schools etc. don't honestly think initiatives to support small scale farmers wd do much to stem this tide unless massive subsidies, land reallocation etc etc involved.

Better in the short to medium term to help the many who have relocated to learn the skills to tend their small front yard (if they are lucky enough to have one!) set up community allotments etc

Innovations like this -

are also key- its labour intensive and often unsafe to cook in a shack which limits how much cooking is done at home. Cooking on paraffin stoves is the primary cause of the many home fires here.

Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 10:40:32

Thanks, Bicnod! Guess priority should be to get key decusionmakers from such countries as guests to the G8 table

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 10:40:55

liger - xposts - you're a multi-tasking goddess smile

Thanks - that's really really useful.

Your question is pretty humungous and my brain is a wee bit fuddled.

So you are asking if it would be better to stop bilateral aid altogether and focus on removing trade barriers with the countries we want to support instead? Is that right?

I know diddly squat about trade barriers - can you give me some examples?

Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 10:46:06

Agree- concept of "dead aid" -

By Damisa Moyo, a Zambian economist

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 10:47:33

@PennieLane - yes yes to stopping the tax dodgers.

This is one issue that really makes my blood boil. Developing countries lose more to tax dodging than they receive in aid each year. That is CRAZY.

I read a story recently about a small market trader in Ghana who actually pays MORE TAX than the huge multinational (SabMiller BTW) next door. It's just wrong.

And you're right - this is completely relevant in our own country as well as in developing countries.

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 10:51:53

Yes you got the right end of my rather long stick smile I'm writing as much to contribute the the thread not just overload you with thoughts.

The IF campaign is saying the system is broken, transparency is one of their key stances. Trade barrier work to negate and advances gained through bilateral aid. It should be questioned I think. I will get back to you with some specifics.

I also want to write more about the role of women and mothers in tackling hunger and malnutrition - especially as we are Mumsnet. I need to do some stuff in the real world but ill be back.

You're doing great Biconod!

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 10:52:50

'Any advances' - not 'and advances'

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 10:58:15

Cross posts with Salbertina on dead aid

Also agree hugely with the tidal wave of urban poverty that is not being addressed.

But also the lack of investment in agriculture in Africa over the last 30 years. There is huge untapped potential in food production across the vastness of Africa, much is due to conflict, but much is to do with lack of access to markets and lack of support for innovation.

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 10:59:53

@liger - HA! Just noticed our Ethiopia connection. That is spooky.

I found out I was pregnant with DS1 a few hours before I was due to fly out. Had a huge panic about malaria tablets (I didn't take them - I rerouted my trip to be low risk instead) and no time to think at all.

Spent three weeks collecting stories and photos on the food crisis to bring back for the fundraising team to use to raise emergency funds. I wrote a very small blog while I was out there - couldn't send much back as very little internet access - will see if it's still up on the website.

Most of the time I was completely cut off from home (limited internet/phone didn't work) - it was a weird bubble to live in.

That trip was one of the reasons I care so much about this stuff. I spoke to devastated mothers who couldn't feed their children and saw malnourished babies in clinics who probably wouldn't make it. Heartrending stuff. And all the time knowing, that by pure accident of birth, my little bean would grow up to have everything he needed and more besides.

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 11:16:21

x-posts again liger

Thank you - it would be really helpful to have some more info on the trade barrier issue.

Yes yes to the role of women and mothers in tackling hunger.

One of the IF Campaign aims is for the G8 to ensure more aid is directed towards supporting small-scale farmers, the majority of which are women, to grow their own food to support their families.

There's also the issue of land grabs which hasn't come up yet: big companies (usually multinationals) buying up acres and acres of land and chucking small farmers off with little or no compensation. This disproportionately impacts on women as the majority of small-scale farmers are women, and their rights to land ownership are often severely lacking.

What do we think about that? I think land grabs sit quite nicely with the transparency ishoo - companies should be forced to be honest about how their actions are impacting on local people. Then maybe they wouldn't do it, or at least local people would have more opportunity to demand adequate compensation.

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 11:21:06

@SacreBlue - thanks for the heads up - will watch it later. Probably over dinner instead of EastEnders. Now THAT is true commitment and self-sacrifice.

Or you can give me a beautiful synopsis in layman's terms of what was said?


Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 11:26:49

@Salbertina - it's really interesting to hear the urban perspective.

So some of the pledged aid needs to be targeted towards supporting people in urban areas to grow their own food, not just focused on small-scale farmers in rural areas.

Also a very good point about getting leaders from developing countries to guest at the G8.

It's a bit of an odd line up actually isn't it?

johnworf Fri 14-Jun-13 11:54:43

Bicnod I mean primarily in this country but hey, there are so many people around the world in the same situation then yes, it should be a global matter...and I'm not just talking about the 3rd world countries either. It's everyone.

There is enough wealth in the world to feed and clothe those in need. Get it trickling down to them.

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 12:24:25

Thanks johnworf - you're absolutely right, it's a worldwide issue.

As I understand it, when the IF Campaign talks about ending world hunger it means for everyone everywhere, so very relevant.

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 12:26:07

Right - off to deal with some RL stuff. Will be back to check on thread later.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far - you're brilliant and I love you all. Mwah.

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 13:32:52

On the trade vs Aid debate I have found some concise bits of info for you. The guardian article is an up update overview of the debate happening at the G8 global level.

And I found this 2 minute video which sums up the trade barrier argument better than I could

Also related to the above and the IF campaign focus on Transparency of companies is the way many developing loose out on trade as the processing of the raw goods they produce is done elsewhere. It is the processing which adds the value, and therefore the bulk of the financial gain made from producing goods sourced from the developing world does not trickle back to support the communities that produced them.

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 13:36:44

Ahhh pressed too soon thanks to DD and phone combo

Those links again :

liger Fri 14-Jun-13 14:49:10

I would be very interested to see the photos from your 2008 trip if they are still up. Big yes relating to your passion for these issues. I have numerous times been in tears breastfeeding one of my babies, imagining how it must be for a mother who can no longer breastfed her baby because she prioritised the meagre food she had for her older children. Having to hear her hungry baby cry.

I remember the mother I talked to at a food distribution on that highlands visit in 2005. She had walked for 8 hours up hill from the valley to collect her monthly rations. It was a morning distribution. She was going to be carrying the large sack of grain home.

I have stark memories of a therapeutic feeding centre in one of the displaced camps outside Khartoum in Sudan. Listless children, smaller than their years from stunting.

It's the powerlessness of the mothers in these situations that breaks my heart as much as the children themselves. It is so important that mumsnet raises a voice at the G8 on behalf of mothers everywhere including the UK as we know what it is to make decisions for our children on a daily basis and how it would feel if circumstances made that impossible. If the mothers I have met across the world were empowered they would make the decisions that meant the next generation was best provided for. Our world needs to sort out its systems that stop them from doing that

I doubt any of the G8 leaders have had to think where their next meal is coming from for a long time, or needed to be intimately concerned with providing for a growing family for a very long while.

This why Mumsnet being in Eniskillen is so important. We can remind them of what real life is. What is important. And why the decisions they make matter.

Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 15:15:31

A hearty hear- hear, Liger!

Your moving post on the plight of rural women bearing/feeding/carrying children reminded me, ironically of the huge gap in provision around birth control and sexual health. Needs to be much more extensive, more explicit and networked into schools.

Oh and Sanpro!!! Please, please mention- so often drops off the list as a low priority but even in SA, by no means the poorest of African countries, it is estimated that at least 25% of teenage schoolgirls miss 1 week of school EVERY month as they lack enough pads/tampons. This results in many girls never graduating from high school! If this could be treated seriously for once, it could have a positive effect on these girls' life chances. Reusable sanpro to be given out along with food, via schools??

Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 15:27:37

Oh and Bicnod, meant to say you're obviously doing a fab job! Hope you're enjoying it and not too much work?

Another point, i remembered that UK recently announced ending of aid to South Africa so pls view my remarks in that context. Sorry, should have said earlier!

Bicnod Fri 14-Jun-13 15:42:02

<rushes in - frazzled again>

Just dashing in as had to some work <shock> and now off to pick the boys up from childcare.

@Liger your post made me cry actual tears. YY it's all about empowering women, particularly mothers. If you reach the women you reach the children.

Thank you for the links - will reply properly later.

<rushes out>

Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 15:43:55

SANPRO!!!! Sorry to shout and to disturb you from your work... wink

AnyFucker Fri 14-Jun-13 16:20:52

I have pm'ed you, Bicnod.

AnyFucker Fri 14-Jun-13 16:35:09

As an aside, why isn't this thread showing in my "Threads I'm On" list ?

and why haven't HQ stickied it/multiple-posted in high traffic areas for maximum exposure ?


Salbertina Fri 14-Jun-13 16:43:15

Indeed, bump!

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