|Accountability of the G8 and G20 in Global Health Governance
It has been emphasized today already that health is notably primary global public good, but it carries high economic costs, hence the G8 traditionally bears responsibility to contributing to the creation of health as a global public good in its countries and globally.
Health and health related issues have been present in the G8 agenda from the early days of its collaboration. However, in conjunction with G8 development priorities they emerged in late nineties
Crucial contribution towards G8 agenda on health was made by the Japanese G8 Presidency in 2000, and subsequently by the Russian presidency in 2006.
For analysis of the G8 input to global development and health governance, we have put together a list of G8 development commitments, including commitments aimed at integrating developing countries into the global governance processes. For the period from 1975 till 2009 the list amounted to 1068 (out of the total of 3435 commitments) in absolute value, or 31% in relative value.
Within this selection health commitments account for 166 commitments or 15, 2% of all development pledges. The average percentage of health commitments made up 4.8% of all commitments, which is a lot, given that most of these commitments have been made in the past decade since the summit in Birmingham in 1998, when leaders agreed on 3 commitments to fight malaria and Aids.
Since 1998 the number of health commitments has been dramatically increased in absolute and relative terms. Thus in 2006 out of 317 39 commitments were devoted to health issues. This made 45.35% of selected development commitments for that period.
Afterwards health remained in the G8 priorities, and in 2009 the percentage of health commitments of development commitments made up 16.51% which exceeds the average level of 15.2%.
Hence, G8 compliance with the pledges made is crucially relevant.
So far in 2000 the G8 was the most effective both on rhetoric and delivery. A high level of delivery was registered in 2003. Whereas in 2006 and 2007 the G8 was less successful on the delivery with the SaintPetersburg and Heiligendamm summit commitments and the level of compliance was below the average of 0.5.
So far, the G20 has only implicitly introduced the health-related issues into the agenda through commitments made on aid and MDGs. However its compliance on development commitments (-0.05) has been lower than that of the G8 especially of the non-G8 member-states (-0.67).
Given the G20 mandate for global economic and financial governance it is not likely to be in the nearest future the forum for global health goverance. Though it would be vital that with G8 leadership the G20 retains responsibility for MD health Gs in its priorities.
In the first session there was a question on what is the key challenge for the G8 and G20 in governing global health. The response, which I fully share was consistency and coordination between the two institutions. It remains to be seen how feasible it proves to be.