NTDs and the G8: The 2013 Summit in Review

Safely sheltered from the outside world by police barricades and (possibly) a Protego Maxima charm (See “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”), the 2013 G8 Summit concluded quietly on Tuesday with the release of the Lough Erne Communiqué.

Perhaps the Summit was a little too unreachable though; disappointingly, NTDs were unable to penetrate the G8’s discussions this year. Instead, David Cameron’s three T’s―tax, trade and transparency―dominated the agenda. While these issues will surely help alleviate global poverty, the G8 missed a prime opportunity to build on previous discussions to tackle these diseases that perpetuate poverty and inequality.

It’s not all bad news though―NTDs got at least some love from the G8.

As I wrote last week, the Global Network was pleased to see NTDs included in the 2013 G8 Accountability Report, although there is still much to be desired in terms of G8 accountability. The G8 has lived up to some of its big talk on NTDs, especially by increasing public funding for R&D, but its promise to reach at least 75 percent of people infected with NTDs in endemic countries has remained neglected.

Additionally, the “Nutrition for Growth” event successfully brought together 94 government, business and scientific organizations who committed $4.15 billion through 2020 to fight undernutrition. The Global Network celebrates these commitments and commends GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for highlighting the important link between NTDs and food security at the event. GSK is a vital partner in the fight against NTDs and previously committed to supplying all the medication needed to eliminate lymphatic filariasis by 2020.

Moving forward, we now look to Russia, who will host both the 2013 G20 Summit this July and the 2014 G8 Summit next summer. Hopefully the G8 will seriously consider its previous global health commitments over the next year, including its commitments to NTDs. Until then, you can read more about how the G8 can act now to control NTDs in our G8 Call to Action.

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