Groups Call on G8 To Deliver on 2005 Promises Made For African Development, Including Universal Access to HIV/AIDS Treatment
Some HIV/AIDS advocacy groups last week called on finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations, meeting on Friday in Germany, to fulfill commitments made by the Group of Eight industrialized nations at its 2005 summit regarding aid to Africa, including HIV/AIDS funding, South Africa's Star reports (Pienaar, Star, 2/9). G8 leaders in July 2005 at the close of their summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, agreed to an immediate doubling of aid to Africa to $50 billion annually in order to fight poverty and disease on the continent. The final summit communique officially endorsed a debt relief plan, which canceled at least $40 billion in debt owed by the world's 18 poorest nations. The communique also included an agreement on providing universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, according to British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/29). According to a report from ActionAid International, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. have made no attempts to meet the target of universal access to antiretrovirals by 2010, London's Guardian reports. G8 countries still need to establish a funding plan to meet the treatment access goal, the report says, adding that although 1.6 million HIV-positive people worldwide have access to antiretrovirals, 5.2 million still need access (Elliott, Guardian, 2/8). Oxfam in a statement released Thursday called on G8 nations to deliver on promises made in Gleneagles, adding that significant funding increases are needed to meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals by 2015. According to Oxfam, development aid decreased by 2.1% in 2005. "The G8 has a choice," Max Lawson of Oxfam said, adding, "Will 2007 be yet another year of broken promises to Africa or the year they finally put their words into action?" He added, "Germany has got to take the lead on this" (Star, 2/9). According to Aditi Sharma, international HIV/AIDS coordinator of ActionAid India, G8 nations should allocate $8 billion in 2007 and $10 billion annually thereafter to achieve the goal of universal access to treatment by 2010 (De Capua, VOA News, 2/8). Germany, which this year heads the G8, has agreed to put Africa on the agenda for this year's summit in Heiligendamm, Germany (Guardian, 2/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.