It is hard to believe that it is seven years since the G8 took place in Gleneagles. I was living in Edinburgh and I still remember what an incredible buzz there was around the event that year. Say what you like about the success or otherwise of the Make Poverty History campaign and all that has followed – but being in Edinburgh for the MPH march on that incredibly sunny day in 2005, it really felt like we were part of a moment. I was stewarding the march for the first part of the day, so arrived at the Meadows very early in the morning for a briefing, not knowing if the attendance was going to be 1000 people or 10,000. I remember standing there as crowds started to gather… and they grew, and grew, and grew. In the end a quarter of a million people descended on the city to make their ‘white band’ around Edinburgh Castle. It felt good to be one of them.
That mass public engagement with the G8 hasn’t really been replicated since then but behind the scenes a huge amount of campaign work continues. Activists still work hard to put pressure on politicians to make world-changing decisions when they come together each year.
This year’s G8 is taking place next week in the United States, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron will be in attendance.
Food security and nutrition are both on the agenda at the summit, so Save the Children are calling on the Prime Minister to take advantage of the perfect opportunity and break the chains of hunger for millions of children
The need for action couldn’t be more urgent. Every hour of every day 300 children die because they can’t get the food they need. Right now there is a chain of hunger stretching across Africa, from Senegal in the West, to Somalia in the East. It is a crisis brought on by a deadly combination of drought, crop failure, conflict and high food prices. It is a crisis that is endangering the lives of millions of children.
Campaigning can work. In 2011 there were major breakthroughs in securing extra investment in vaccines, and in training and equipment for more health workers. Now we need to see a similar political commitment to ending the hidden crisis of malnutrition.
So far, 15,000 people have signed the Save the Children petition calling on David Cameron to put this at the top of the international agenda this year. It would be great to see that figure hit 20,000 before he leaves on Thursday, to send the message that people in the UK want to see strong leadership on this issue.
If you do one thing today, please sign this chain letter, and make a difference to children’s lives.