May 26, 2010; Source: The Age | The international aid charity led by rock musicians Bono and Bob Geldof is taking Italy to task for failing to live up to its aid pledges to Africa. Italy had promised to double aid to Africa, but ONE discovered that Italy had actually cut back on its aid to poor countries over the five years since the G7 nations’ summit at Gleneagles.
ONE’s executive director, Jamie Drummond, called for Italy’s expulsion from the G7, saying that “Italy’s leaders can’t be allowed to infect the G7 any longer . . . [because] the awful inaction of governments like Italy’s clouds the commendable performances of the UK or the US.” We like ONE’s strategy of holding governments publicly accountable to their commitments and upbraiding them publicly when they fall short. Many governments may not pursue the policies that some of us would hope they might, but when governments—and their executive leaders—make specific commitments, they should be held accountable to them, just like governments want to hold nonprofits accountable to their promised performance.
We sincerely doubt that the G7 will follow ONE’s advice, especially since Germany and France have not been stellar in their aid performance (only increasing their aid packages by 25 percent), but ONE is pursuing a good model—identify the government’s specific commitment, remind them many times of that commitment, and pull them by their bureaucratic napes when they fail to deliver.—Rick Cohen