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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 35–38 | Cite as

The G8 and Global Health

What now? What next?
  • Ronald Labonte
  • Ted SchreckerEmail author
Policy

Abstract

The policies of the G8 countries (the G7 industrialized countries plus Russia) matter for population health and the determinants of health worldwide. In the years before the 2005 Summit, relevant G7 commitments were more often broken than kept, representing an inadequate response to the scale of health crises in countries outside the industrialized world. The commitments made in 2005 by some G7 countries to increase development assistance to the longstanding target of 0.7% of Gross National Income, and by the G7 as a whole to additional debt cancellation for some developing countries, were welcome and overdue. However, Canada and the United States did not state timetables for reaching the development assistance target, and new conditionalities attached to debt relief may undermine the benefits for population health. Lack of adequate funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, even after the September 2005 replenishment meeting, is unconscionable; yet even if those funds were provided, additional resources for developing country health systems would be needed. Similarly, widespread agreement on the need for improving market access for developing country exports was not met with any concrete policy response to the “asymmetrical” nature of recent trade liberalization; neither was the need to control the deadly trade in small arms. To respond adequately to global health needs, the G8 will need to adopt an agenda that more fundamentally alters the distribution of economic and political power, within and among nations.

MeSH terms

Capitalism socioeconomic factors developing countries international agencies international health problems international relations 

Résumé

Les politiques des pays du G8 (les pays industrialisés du G7 plus la Russie) importent pour la santé de la population et les déterminants de la santé dans le monde entier. Au cours des années qui ont précédé le Sommet de 2005, les engagements pertinents du G7, plus souvent brisés que tenus, ont constitué une réponse insuffisante face à l’ampleur des crises sanitaires qui sévissent dans les pays hors du monde industrialisé. Certains pays du G7 se sont engagés en 2005 à accroître leur aide au développement pour qu’elle atteigne enfin la cible de 0,7 % du revenu national brut, et l’ensemble du G7 a résolu d’annuler une portion supplémentaire de la dette de certains pays en développement. Ces engagements ont été bien accueillis, et on les attendait depuis longtemps. Toutefois, ni le Canada, ni les États-Unis n’ont publié d’échéancier à l’égard de leur objectif d’aide au développement, et les nouvelles conditions qui se rattachent à l’allégement de la dette pourraient en réduire les avantages pour la santé de la population. Le financement insuffisant du Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et la malaria, même après la réunion de réapprovisionnement de septembre 2005, choque la morale; pourtant, même si les fonds étaient octroyés, les systèmes de santé des pays en développement auraient besoin de ressources supplémentaires. De même, bien que l’on se soit entendu sur la nécessité d’améliorer l’accès des pays en développement aux marchés pour leurs exportations, cela ne s’est accompagné d’aucune politique concrète pour remédier au caractère asymétrique de la libéralisation récente des échanges. On n’a pas non plus jugé nécessaire de limiter le commerce mortel des armes de petit calibre. Pour répondre adéquatement aux besoins mondiaux en matière de santé, le G8 devra adopter un plan d’action qui modifie fondamentalement la répartition des pouvoirs économiques et politiques à l’intérieur des pays et entre eux.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Contemporary Globalization/Health EquityCanada
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Institute of Population HealthUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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