G8 miss mark as 'new' announcements disguise overall failure

Published: 8 June 2007

G8 leaders are leaving Germany today having failed to do enough to shore up their wavering credibility or guarantee that they will keep their promises to Africa, said international agency Oxfam. Despite headline announcements of funds for HIV/AIDS and other diseases, the G8 has not got anywhere near back on track to meet overall promises on aid to Africa, and has missed the mark on areas like health and education.

Max Lawson, Senior Policy Advisor at Oxfam said: "The hard and sad fact is that as leaders fly away from Germany they are still set to break their Gleneagles promise to the tune of $27bn. Creative accounting will not save lives – only delivering on promises will. G8 taxpayers are demanding more aid. Africa needs it. There are no excuses for what happened here in Heiligendamm."
"The headlines sound impressive but ultimately mean precious little. Instead of delivering what they promised the G8 has tried to get the biggest possible headline number out of the smallest possible aid increase. The $60bn for HIV/AIDS, health, TB and malaria represents, at most, an extra $3bn of aid in 2010. This is welcome but falls $27bn short of what the G8 pledged in 2005."
On climate, Oxfam welcomed the G8's affirmation of its commitment to a UN process to negotiate a post 2012 deal, and the pledge to make 'substantial emission reductions'. However, Oxfam warned that the climate change text fell well short of what is required to protect the poorest and most vulnerable people who are already suffering from the impacts of climate change, and specifically highlighted the lack of numerical targets.
Lawson: "The German government deserves credit for persevering to achieve a deal on climate change. What we have lays out a clear pathway for the urgent action that is needed. However, we are deeply concerned that we are leaving Germany with no target for emissions cuts for the whole G8 and no commitment to keep global warming below 2ºC. The impact on poor people and development will be devastating. They will be hurt first and worst."
On Official Development Assistance, Oxfam said that the announcement of $60bn on HIV included considerable amounts of money from existing spending levels and was far from enough to set the G8 back on track on overall aid. Oxfam's calculations, based on the assumption that the money will be delivered over 5 years, show that by 2010 overall aid will only have increased by $23bn, as opposed to the $50bn promised in Gleneagles in 2005.
Furthermore, Oxfam warned that an extremely aggressive approach to Intellectual Property (IP) rules could undermine the benefits of extra money by pushing up prices for essential medicines in the developing world and denying access to inexpensive generics. The G8 reaffirmed its commitment to a narrow set of existing public health safeguards but at the same time they proposed a new framework with the larger emerging economies to negotiate stricter IP rules. Oxfam warned that this could choke off the supply of generic medicines to countries that depended on them.
Lawson; "On medicines and health the G8 have given with one hand and taken with the other. At the end of the day, if this intellectual property proposal goes ahead, we may well be worse off overall, as essential, life saving medicines are kept out of reach"
Oxfam added the G8 should have delivered specific funds to pay for the 4.25m health workers needed worldwide, and also agreed on an international coordination mechanism to fund country health plans to ensure health for all.


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