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G8 — Right now it’s all rumour and speculation

Although the G8 summit is run with the sort of precision you would expect for a gathering of two dozen of the world’s most important people, what happens in the exhibition hall housing the press pack is more unpredictable.

Save the Children is waiting to hear what the final communiqué will say before we can judge whether the G8 leaders action will live up to their promises.  The official announcement will be made some time between 15.00 and 17.00 on Friday, or late on Sunday, depending on who you ask. Until then we can only respond to leaked versions and rumour.

The negotiating teams who work out the fine detail of the communiqué are known as sherpas. A fitting name as they certainly do have a heavy weight on their shoulders and a mountain to climb. I heard today that the sherpas are thinking of putting a reference to the promises made at the G8 in Gleneagles in 2005 into the final document.

Five years ago world leaders, hosted then by Tony Blair, promised to increase aid to Africa to $25 billion. They have failed to deliver even half that. Putting a pledge in the communiqué doesn’t mean the money will automatically appear but it’s a good start. Cameron himself said today that ‘too often these summits fail to live up to the hype and to the promises made’. So lets hope that he will make it his business to ensure that doesn’t happen this time around.

Canadian PM Stephen Harper used his presidency of the G8 to put maternal and child health on the agenda. We’re pleased that draft communiqué that we have seen contains some good points on efforts to save children’s lives and stop women dying in childbirth. There’s also some good follow up to the announcements made at L’Acquila on combating hunger. I’m really hoping that all those good sentiments make the final cut and that they are matched by concrete action – and financial commitments.

So we’ll be waiting anxiously for any announcements that will impact the world’s poorest children and their mothers, and discussing and dissecting any scraps of info, rumour and speculation that come our way in the meantime. It’s going to be an interesting day.

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