It’s been a year since the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, where many commitments were made to improving conditions in Africa. But how have G8 leaders followed through?
The humanitarian organization OXFAM has released a new report entitled: The View From The Summit -Gleneagles G8 One Year On. Taylor Thompson is a spokesperson for OXFAM. In Washington, she gave VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua an overall rating for G8 accomplishments for the past year.
She says, “G8 leaders made some significant promises in Gleneagles and it was a really, really great summit. And we were really hopeful afterwards. But we’ve seen in the year since that they’re really failing to deliver on the aid increases and they’re failing also to deliver on tackling poverty through trade.”
But the G8 leaders did succeed on eliminating the debts of some poor countries. Thompson says, “Debt cancellation is the big success really of Gleneagles and we can see that it’s already working. All across Africa, there are more children in schools because countries are using the money they’re saving from repaying old debts to send children to school, to buy medicines, to buy food, to build roads to rural areas. So, debt cancellation is the success for the last year.”
At last year’s summit, G8 leaders pledged to provide near universal access to AIDS drugs to all those in need by the year 2010. “One million people, HIV infected people, in poor countries now have access to treatment to anti-retrovirals as of the end of 2005. So, that’s really good news. But there are also still six million HIV infected people who don’t have access to anti-retrovirals. So, what we’re saying is, if you continue at the current aid levels that you’re giving you’re going to miss these goals. And these are really important goals and really significant promises and we have to hold them accountable,” Thompson says.
This year’s G8 summit is being held in St. Petersburg Russia in July. This weekend, G8 foreign ministers are meeting to prepare the way.