G8 summit concludes, aid agencies are hopeful

By July 10, 2008

Japan (MNN) — The three day G8 Summit is over, and the outcome could help aid agencies around the world. G8 leaders came together on the issue of climate change, but they also focused on aid to poor nations and oil prices.

Director of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee's U.S. office Andy Ryskamp says President Bush led the way. "President Bush made a strong introductory statement saying that it was important to reach out to Africa [and] that we take into account environmental concerns."

He also urged rich nations to stick to their pledge to increase aid to Africa and help meet the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Ryskamp says, "If we are going to address the food crisis and reduce the number of people that are living on less than $2 a day, it is going to take an increased commitment from the rich nations to put more funds into what is considered good development."

As the awareness grows, funding should increase. Ryskamp says, "We do receive funding from the government at the present time already. We have received grants for child survival programs in India and Bangladesh, for malaria programs, [and] money to fight HIV/AIDS."

He says many of these programs offer Bible study classes along with the physical help. "We give people an opportunity at the community level to either participate in the Bible study or not to. We have to make some separation at the programmatic level. But we certainly don't hide who we are and what we believe."

Ryskamp says there have already been successes. Tanzania is just one example. "The debt reduction that this country has received [and] the number of children now attending schools has dramatically increased."

G8 leaders also agreed to hold a special energy forum that should focus on energy efficiency and new technologies. They called for an increase in oil production and refining capacities and for the building of more nuclear power plants.

While talk is important, so is action. Your financial support helps the CRWRC establish good development which helps with physical needs. That assistance opens doors to share their faith, making an eternal difference in people's lives.


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