June 21, 2013 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2013 G8 Summit in Northern Ireland concluded on June 18th with the release of the Lough Erne Communiqué.
Although G8 leaders addressed important tax, trade and transparency issues to help alleviate global poverty, they failed to discuss neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), a burden that perpetuates poverty and increases inequalities.
Because NTDs are key underlying constraints to global economic growth, poverty reduction, education, equality and food security, they should be tackled in conjunction with other development priorities. Unfortunately, the G8 missed a prime opportunity to build on previous discussions to take concrete action towards tackling these diseases.
We are pleased to note, however, that the G8 Lough Erne Accountability Report released ahead of the Summit recognized the impact of NTDs on child and maternal health outcomes in marginalized communities.
The Accountability Report also praised the development of nationally-led NTD plans; the 44 percent increase in public funding from G8 countries for NTD research and development from 2007 to 2011; and the January 2012 London Declaration on NTDs.
The G8 is laudably upholding previous commitments and producing measured results. However, the G8 has not yet fulfilled certain commitments, notably its 2008 promise to reduce the number of infected people in endemic countries by 75 percent; the Accountability Report noticeably omits this fact.
At the “Nutrition for Growth” event held prior to the G8 Summit, GlaskoSmithKline (GSK) ― one of the signatories of the London Declaration on NTDs ― highlighted the impact of worm infections on nutrition and children’s development. The Global Network commends GSK as the only participant to recognize this significant link.
The event, co-hosted by the Governments of the UK and Brazil and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, resulted in commitments from 94 government, business and scientific organizations totaling $4.15 billion to tackle global undernutrition by 2020.
The G8 has the ability to create lasting, sustainable change by taking actions now to address NTDs. We encourage G8 leaders to:
- Fulfill previous commitments to combat NTDs.
- Include NTDs as part of key foreign policy and development discussions.
- Enhance the impressive commitments made at the Hunger Summit by including key health interventions such as deworming in comprehensive approaches to improving nutrition.
We hope that the G8 will seriously consider its previous global health commitments, including the control and elimination of NTDs, at the 2014 Summit in Russia. For more information about how the G8 can act now to control NTDs, please read our G8 Call to Action.