[DEBATE] : Leaked G8 Communique reported in FT - Back track Aid to Africa
Riaz K Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Mon Jun 30 14:34:03 BST 2008
G8 leaders ready to backtrack on Africa aid
By Hugh Williamson in Berlin
Published: June 29 2008 23:33 | Last updated: June 29 2008 23:33
Leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations are set to backtrack on
their landmark pledge at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 to increase
development aid to Africa to $25bn a year.
A draft communiqué obtained by the Financial Times, due to be issued
at the group’s July summit in Hokkaido, Japan, shows leaders will
commit to fulfilling "our commitments on [development aid] made at
Gleneagles" – but fails to cite the target of $25bn annually by 2010.
This goal – which was repeated at last year’s G8 summit in Germany –
was seen as an important boost for Africa. The ambitious plan was a
cornerstone of former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s G8 presidency and
championed by his successor, Gordon Brown.
The dropping of the explicit target marks a further stage in the G8’s
failure to honour the commitments they made in Scotland at Gleneagles.
Most of the G8 countries’ aid budgets have already fallen well behind
their promises to increase overseas assistance.
The step could be awkward for Japan, which has made support for Africa
a summit theme, along with climate change. Yasuo Fukuda, Japanese
prime minister, used a meeting last month in Japan with 40 African
leaders to announce a doubling of aid to Africa by 2013. Eight African
leaders are due to attend the G8 summit on July 7.
The draft communiqué, dated June 25, might still change, diplomats
insisted, especially if pressure from African countries or from the
public grew next week.
In a further retreat, the G8 is set to abandon its Gleneagles promise
to provide universal access to Aids treatment and prevention by 2010.
The pledge has been a benchmark around which health campaigners and
others have been organising their work, especially in Africa.
The draft says the G8 will continue "working towards the goal of
universal access to HIV/Aids prevention, treatment care" but it does
not mention the 2010 deadline.
In addition, G8 leaders are divided on how to fulfil one of the
headline commitments at last year’s Heiligendamm summit in Germany to
provide $60bn "over the coming years" for tackling malaria,
tuberculosis and Aids, and for strengthening healthcare systems in
This promise remains in brackets in the draft, indicating that no
agreement has been reached. Countries are divided on the time period
for achieving the target, with proposals ranging from three to eight
years, according to one person familiar with the issue.
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