G8 pledges to Africa are insufficient

Some HIV/AIDS advocates and other groups have criticized the recent pledges from the G8 industrialised nations to Africa as “insufficient” and “part of a pattern of unfulfilled promises”.

G8 leaders in the final communique issued at the close of their summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, agreed to provide more than $60 billion to fight HIV/AIDS and address other issues in Africa. The document indicated the $60 billion would be disbursed “over the coming years” but did not lay out a specific time frame.

Part of the funding includes $6-8 billion for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The communique also “recommits” to pledges made during the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, to increase aid to $50 billion annually by 2010. Leaders also pledged to help reduce malaria prevalence and deaths in 30 African countries.

The $60 billion will not be a “firm pledge” because “some countries are cautious about increased spending,” according to some diplomats. The final communique also includes the goal of providing five million HIV-positive people with drug access by 2010. Leaders announced a target of providing 10 million people with drug access by 2010 in the Gleneagles communiqu笍
Some advocacy groups have said that G8 leaders have not fulfilled pledges made at Gleneagles concerning aid to Africa. Groups also said that the $60 billion commitment is not enough to provide drug access in Africa, where 65% of the world’s HIV-positive people live. “The announcement of $60 billion to tackle disease is not the increase promised in Gleneagles,” Kumi Naidoo, a member of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, said, adding, “There is no time frame for delivery and a deliberate absence of detail. We are appalled by the lack of urgency they are showing”. Irish musician and HIV/AIDS advocate Bono said the communique was designed to hide the actual funding level, adding, “I understand if they think rock stars can’t add or subtract, or spell, or read. This maze is designed to lose us. But we are not lost; the G8 [is] lost”.

Aditi Sharma, head of the HIV/AIDS campaign for ActionAid, said, “Even this $60 billion smoke screen can’t cover up for the abject failure of the G8 to move forward on [its] AIDS promises.” Kate Krauss, spokesperson for the U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights, said that there “needs to be a plan for meeting the previous commits made at Gleneagles”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that G8 leaders would meet their responsibilities to developing countries. According to Merkel, the $60 billion is “not yet enough” because “Africa is not only a continent with many diseases, it is also a continent with many chances for the future”.

Source: (11 June 2007)

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