Panel Calls on G8 To Deliver on 2005 Promises Made For African Development, Including Universal HIV/AIDS Treatment Access
The Africa Progress Panel on Tuesday in Berlin called on the Group of Eight industrialized nations to fulfill commitments made at its 2005 summit regarding aid to Africa, including HIV/AIDS funding, the Washington Post reports (Williams, Washington Post, 4/25). APP -- which is headed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan -- was established by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to monitor G8 pledges made at the group's summit in Gleneagles, Scotland (Elliott/Connolly, Guardian, 4/25). G8 leaders in July 2005 at the close of their summit in Gleneagles 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 Blair.
Progress on Gleneagles Commitments
According to a report released earlier this year by ActionAid International, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. have made no attempts to meet the target of universal access to antiretrovirals by 2010. 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/12). According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, U.S. aid to Africa has decreased by 20% from 2005. In addition, the recent Global Monitoring Report from the World Bank found that global aid to poor countries decreased from $106.8 billion in 2005 to $103.9 billion in 2006. According to the report, this decline jeopardizes the Gleneagles goal of doubling aid to Africa, as well as the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Only five countries -- Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden -- have met the United Nations aid target of 0.7% of gross national income, the Post reports (Washington Post, 4/25). According to the Guardian, the United Kingdom is "on track" to meet its Gleneagles commitments. APP said some developed countries had achieved only 10% of their aid targets (Guardian, 4/25). According to the Post, there has been some progress made toward achieving Gleneagles targets, including debt relief, which has freed up money for health care and education (Washington Post, 4/25). "If the efforts to double aid by 2010 are not increased soon, it will be too late," Annan said, adding, "In 2005 we did well, by 2006 we were sliding, and unless we now make about $5 billion available a year, we will not make that target." Blair at a press conference said, "If we do not take a responsible and long-term view of Africa and its need to develop and make progress, we will end up ultimately with our own self-interest back in countries like Germany and the U.K. being damaged as a result of the poverty, the conflict, the mass migration, the spread of terrorism and so on." According to the Guardian, Blair "successfully pressed" German Chancellor Angela Merkel to put African issues, including HIV/AIDS funding, at the top of the upcoming G8 Summit in June (Guardian, 4/25).