HungerFree: Your guide to the G8 and G20 summits

HungerFree is a campaign to end global hunger by creatively engaging world leaders on the topic. In May and June, leaders from the world's largest economies will meet for the G8 and G20 summits to discuss issues of global significance. James Pedrick of World Vision ACT:S, our college activism network, discusses these summits and the important role they can play in eliminating world hunger.

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What are the G8 and G20?

The G8 -- or Group of 8 -- is an annual forum of leaders from eight of the world’s largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The G20 includes these eight countries, as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, and a representative from the European Union.

These annual summits provide leaders an opportunity to highlight and discuss matters that have the potential to impact our world for good. In the past, these leaders have discussed the global economy, security, and development issues. These summits sometimes result in financial commitments made by individual countries to go toward pressing global needs. They are also a powerful symbol of political will and direction for global efforts to solve those problems.

When and where are the G8 and G20 summits?

The eight countries represented in the G8 take turns hosting it each year. This year, the United States will host the event on May 18 and 19 at Camp David, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C.

What have they done in the past?

  • At the 2000 Summit in Okinawa, Japan, the G8 leaders called for the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which has led to billions of dollars in the battle against these global diseases -- and millions of lives saved.
  • At the 2005 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the G8 leaders promised an increase of $50 billion in official development assistance by 2010 to fight global poverty in Africa.
  • At the 2009 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, the G8 leaders created the L’Aquila Initiative, promising $22 billion in the fight against global hunger and food insecurity.
  • At the 2010 Summit in Muskoka, Canada, the G8 leaders created the Muskoka Initiative, promising $7.5 billion in the effort to end preventable child and maternal deaths. Also, it was the first time that the G8 leaders produced an “accountability report” to highlight progress on past development commitments.

Why should we care?

The G8 leaders make big decisions that affect the world. We should care about what they discuss, the decisions they make, and that they are held accountable to keep their promises. This year, we want to urge those leaders to discuss world hunger and make ending hunger a priority.

What do we want our leaders to do?

As global leaders are meeting at the G8 and G20 summits in May and June, respectively, we have an opportunity to make sure they hear that hunger must be on the agenda -- and that bold, achievable commitments must be made to prioritize nutrition and food security.

What commitments do we want world leaders to make?

Cut the number of malnourished children by 15 million in the next three years, by making sure women and children in their first 1,000 days get adequate nutrition:

  • Ensure nutrition-specific outcomes and interventions for mothers and children under 5 are a part of food security country investment plans.
  • Invest in nutrition during the vital 1,000-day window from conception to a child’s second birthday.
  • Meet existing G8 aid commitments for health and nutrition interventions, and publish accountability reports so the public can track progress on commitments made.

What can you do to get their attention?

There are three ways you can add your voice and creativity:

  1. Add your Facebook profile pic to our Global Facebook Photo Project.
  2. Tweet global leaders to act.
  3. Upload art to our HungerFree Art Challenge.

Each profile picture and art piece will be included in a Hunger Free art installation being built near the G8 Summit in Washington, D.C., as well as in a HungerFree book printed for world leaders to show your support for a hunger-free world. The top eight art pieces in the HungerFree Art Challenge will be printed as the cover given to G8 leaders.

It all starts with you. Go to hungerfree.org to join us.

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