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Taking Stock of Accountability at the 2010 G8 Muskoka Summit

Caroline Bracht
Researcher, G8 Research Group
June 27, 2010

Accountability was one of two main themes at the G8 Muskoka Summit on June 25-26, 2010. On June 20, the G8 Accountability Working Group released its 88-page report, using a common systematic framework to assess the G8’s progress in implementing 56 development-related commitments, most made since the 2005 Gleneagles Summit.

The report is a promising step, and a foundation for future reports of its kind, but improvements on quality, comprehensiveness and clarity are still needed. The report did not individually score each of the 56 commitments or the G8 countries themselves. It did, however, take stock of the accomplishments that members have made thus far, and it outlined the areas where countries are lagging and where there is room for improvement. The Accountability Working Group noted some frequent criticisms of the G8. Double counting and the lack of transparency were highlighted as key issues to be addressed by the G8.

The report indicates that overall progress has been positive, “with some members meeting or surpassing their individual targets.” It highlights that the G8 is on track to meet its commitments to provide $60 billion to strengthen health systems and fight infectious diseases by 2012.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provided most of the quantitative numbers of official development assistance (ODA) cited in the report with regard to overall ODA, ODA to Africa, ODA provided through general budget support, ODA to low-income countries, debt relief, aid for trade, health, water and sanitation and education. Due to OECD reporting timelines, the data is mostly from 2008. Russia is not a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), and therefore financial information was provided from Russia’s national system. All monetary values were reported in U.S. dollars at their current value.[1]

The 2010 Muskoka communiqué noted that regular accountability reports should be issued and should assess future G8 commitments. The 2011 Accountability Report will focus primarily on the areas of health and food security. This is a step back from the 2010 report, which focused on nine thematic areas. There will be little, if any, focus on climate change, peace and security, development, water and sanitation or energy.

[1] The current price is based on the exchange rate in the year of the flow, not the year when the commitment was made. If money was distributed at the constant price based on the year of the commitment, ODA would be more than being distributed at the current price.

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