Cannes, France, is world-renowned for its glamor, beauty, and opulence. This week, the playground destination for the rich and famous is filled with politicians, media, and NGO representatives, as the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies gather for the annual G20 Summit. And as the Eurozone crisis deepens and the U.S. economy remains unsteady, the stakes couldn’t be much higher.
These issues must be discussed, and the G20 is a crucial forum to have these discussions. But there’s much more to this story. Right now, in cities around the world, there is a growing protest movement putting the issue of inequality squarely on the public agenda. Regardless how you feel about the movement, I believe there is another 99 percent whom we need the G20 — and other global leaders — to remember and prioritize.
Nearly 8 million children under the age of 5 die every year due to preventable malnutrition and disease. But they are not dying in the United States, Germany, or here in France.
Research from World Vision’s Child Health Now campaign shows that 99 percent of these entirely preventable deaths take place in developing countries. These children who die under the age of 5 are often invisible and don’t have a voice at major global summits such as the G20. They constitute the real — and too often forgotten — 99 percent.
Leading into the summit, the urgent issues of global food security and development was squarely on the agenda. Unfortunately, the attention of G20 leaders this week has been diverted and consumed by Greece and the Eurozone debt crisis as the G20 seeks to build greater consensus around how to deal with real and protracted global economic woes.
If there’s one thing I could tell the G20 leaders before they leave Cannes tomorrow, it’s this: It’s not too late to provide leadership to address global food insecurity and malnutrition. Your actions will lend hope and ensure a brighter future, not only for the real 99 percent, but for us all.
Update: (Press release) World Vision Issues Report Card at the close of 2011 G20 Cannes Summit