Sunday, June 27, 2010

G8 summit focuses on accountability, but where is it?

Christian Science Monitor (US)
26 June 2010

As the G8 countries this weekend emphasized the need for more accountability on their aid pledges, relief groups decried the fact that many pledges at previous G8 summits have gone unmet.

TORONTO - It is no small irony that Canada has focused on G8 accountability as a priority in this past weekend's summit.

Nor that it was a Canadian, the iconic internationalist Lester B. Pearson, who came up with the 0.7 percent pledge - later adopted by the United Nations General Assembly - that rich countries would give 0.7 percent of their Gross National Product in development aid to the world's poorest.

Today, Canada's percentage of GNP going to aid is less than half the standard set by Mr. Pearson, and as the Group of Eight nations wrapped up their meeting in Huntsville, Ontario yesterday, many aid advocates questioned not only the Canadian hosts' commitment to development, but the entire group's very credibility.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Risky Business

Carleton University Magazine
Spring 2010 issue

With dwindling staff budgets, freelancers are the go-to source for media content, but free agentry is rife with work hazards. One woman's story of being booted out of Sudan for asking too many questions

Untitiled Photo

KHARTOUM - It was just before 2 p.m. when I arrived at the departure hall of Khartoum International Airport, heading home to Canada to spend Christmas 2008 with my family. I dragged my worn suitcase through the front doors, barely taking two steps when I heard someone calling my name.

I turned to find a large man with an unsmiling, unfamiliar face. "We'd like to see you in the office," he said in Arabic. A sick feeling swallowed up the pit of my stomach. Having been stopped once before by national security officials in Sudan's conflict-ridden Darfur region, I knew what this meant. National security controls everything in this country, including who flies. I had no choice but to follow.

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G20: Less-developed nations still struggle to shape agenda

Christian Science Monitor (US)
25 June 2010

TORONTO - As Brazil's ambassador to the European Union once put it, "there are new kids on the block" in world politics and trade. That's evident at the G20, where Brazil and other "new kids" Russia, India and China, collectively known as the BRICs, expect to have an equal voice at the table during this weekend's summit.

"No one asks anymore: 'What are you doing here?' Because it's obvious what Brazil is doing there. It has the weight," says Ernesto Araujo, deputy head of mission at the Brazilian embassy in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

But as their stars have risen, other less-developed countries in the G20 and worldwide have been left wayside. G20 members South Africa, Mexico, Argentina and Indonesia - along with the world's least developed countries, which aren't even at the table in Toronto - remain overshadowed.

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