G8 Countries Have Fallen Short on HIV/AIDS, Development Promises Made at 2005 Summit, Report Says
The Group of Eight industrialized nations has not fulfilled pledges to provide antiretroviral drugs to Africa, expand trade and increase aid, according to a progress report released on Thursday by DATA, a debt relief and trade advocacy group co-founded by Irish musicians Bono and Bob Geldof, Reuters reports (Wroughton, Reuters, 6/29). Leaders from the G8 in July 2005 agreed to an immediate doubling of aid to Africa to $50 billion annually by 2010 in order to fight poverty and disease on the continent (Dodds, AP/Yahoo! News, 6/30). In the final communique, G8 leaders also agreed to cancel debt for the world's poorest nations. The previous month, G8 finance ministers had agreed to increase efforts to provide universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010, as well as encourage research into vaccines for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/8/05).
"Overall, there is one cheer on debt, half a cheer on AIDS and boos and wolf-whistles for what is happening on trade," Bono said Thursday after the release of the DATA report. According to the report, G8 nations have kept to their promises of canceling debt for 19 countries, mostly in Africa. Debt relief in Cameroon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia has led to funding increases in HIV/AIDS, education and health, the report says. According to the report, not enough has been done to increase access to antiretroviral drugs in Africa (Reuters, 6/29). Although the number of people in Africa receiving antiretrovirals increased from 100,000 in 2003 to 810,000 by the end of 2005, donors are spending half the amount needed to reach G8 targets, the report said. The report called for donors to increase bilateral and multilateral funding, especially to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The report warned that 1.4 million HIV-positive people in Africa in 2010 will lack access to antiretrovirals if donors do not meet G8 targets (DATA release, 6/29). Four million HIV-positive people in Africa would receive antiretroviral drugs, 600,000 children would be saved from malaria and an additional 30 million children would go to school if G8 nations were to reach their targets by 2010, according to the Guardian (Elliott, Guardian, 6/30). The report also says that G8 nations have failed to reach a trade deal to open world markets to developing countries (Reuters, 6/29). On the issue of trade, the "G8 are not just off track, they've stepped backwards," the report says (DATA release, 6/29).
According to the report, the U.S. has been the largest donor to HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. The report praises France and the United Kingdom for their contributions to the Global Fund. Contributions from Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan have been slow, the report says. According to the report, G8 nations collectively, with the exception of France, are not on track to reach their target of doubling aid to Africa by 2010. To reach the target, they would have to increase funding to Africa by $4 billion this year, according to the report (Reuters, 6/29). DATA plans to publish a progress report annually until G8 nations fulfill their pledges, the report says, adding that this year's progress report is "not only a report card on 2005, but a road map forward to 2007 and beyond to 2010" (DATA release, 6/29). This year's G8 summit is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, from July 15 to July 17 (AP/Yahoo! News, 6/30).