Dear Prime Minister
Back in January of this year you recorded a video message setting out the UK’s position on global hunger. You said:
“The UK is leading the fight against global hunger. The generosity of our people and the hard work of our charities have helped millions of families get the food they need.
“But there is still more to do. Times are hard here in the UK, but they are infinitely harder for the world’s poorest families. Nearly a billion people around the world do not get enough food. And undernutrition holds back the growth and development of millions of children.
“This is simply not acceptable in 2013.
“We need to tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty, not just the symptoms. So I will use the UK’s G8 to help build the open economies, open societies and open government which drives lasting prosperity. We will take action to promote transparency in extractive industries, so that the wealth of developing countries is used to tackle hunger and poverty, and not stolen by corrupt elites. We’ll work to ensure that everyone pays the tax they owe. And we’ll promote trade, to spur growth and wealth creation.
“I’m convinced that by the end of this year, this bold and transformative policy agenda can make a huge difference for millions of people around the world. And I welcome the energy, passion and commitment of the many hundreds of thousands of people throughout the UK who will be campaigning on this issue in 2013.”
I don’t need to explain to you why it is important that you make the most of this week’s G8 summit, because you already know it. What I do want to do is remind you that thousands and thousands of people in this country and millions around the world share your concerns and support your actions. Through the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign people have been writing to their MPs, praying, fasting and spreading the message in many ways, because they believe that you are doing the right thing. I even personally took the message and raised it on BBC’s Question Time to do what I could to make sure millions of viewers realised that there is an overwhelming need for action. There is enough food for everyone in the world but every night 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry and every 10 seconds a child dies from hunger. Should we be happy to allow this to continue?
Please remember this when you are meeting with the other G8 leaders, especially when negotiations become difficult or others lack enthusiasm for what you hope to achieve. Turn your mind back to the Gleneagles summit in 2005 when the G8 countries agreed to drop $40 billion owed by some of the most indebted countries. Since then new HIV infections have decreased by 1 million and 5.4 million more people now have access to anti-retroviral drugs. The malaria mortality rate has been reduced by 20%, while child mortality has been cut by 18%. That summit was a high point for the G8. You have the chance to go another step further.
This week is your chance to follow in those footsteps, to create history and leave a legacy that will be a blessing to millions around the world for years to come. This opportunity to host the G8 only comes around every eight years and you may well never get another opportunity in your lifetime to achieve these aims you care about.
When you look back on your career in the future, will you regret this opportunity if you allow it to slip by, or will you be able to hold your head up high knowing you did everything in your powers to reach these goals you have set yourself?
Thank you for your dedicated commitment to improving the lives of the poorest in the world and giving them hope that things can be better. Be bold and courageous especially in the face of opposition. Do not give up, but stand firm remembering that you will become part of this country’s history of dedication to aiding those in real need. We are behind you.
(An abridged version of this letter has been sent to the Prime Minister’s office)