G8 admits its failure to meet Gleneagles aid pledges

Campaigners say rich nations $15bn short of their $50bn target

The world's richest nations will fail to meet their landmark pledge made at the 2005 Gleneagles summit to double aid to the poorest countries.

Officials at the G8 summit in Italy said yesterday there was "little chance" the eight countries would keep the promises they made at the meeting four years ago to double their aid to $50bn (£30bn) a year by next year.

While Britain is on course to meet its target share, Italy and France are falling short. They resisted pressure at the G8 summit this week from leaders including US President Barack Obama and Gordon Brown to increase their contributions before next year's deadline. "We will keep our promises," one British source said, "but overall it's not going to happen".

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, angered fellow leaders by failing to give a lead on aid at the summit, despite a warning from the World Bank that up to 400,000 more people may die in poor countries next year because of the global recession.

ActionAid calculates that the G8 is on course to miss the $50bn target by $15bn. Meredith Alexander, its head of G8 policy, said: "Although the G8 leaders reaffirmed their Gleneagles promises this week, their own accountability report does not even acknowledge how far off track they are. This suggests that the Gleneagles promises are increasingly unlikely to be met. It is another failure for the world's poor."

She accused the G8 of adopting a "pick-and-mix" approach to its new policy of being more open about its progress towards meeting its aid commitments. G8 leaders agreed to review next year the progress they had made towards meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. But aid agencies say this is cover for "moving the goalposts" because the Gleneagles goals will not be achieved.

On the last day of the three-day summit in L'Aquila, leaders agreed a $20bn package to tackle world hunger, including a switch from emergency relief to long-term agricultural projects.

"We want Africa to become the bread basket of the world instead of a basket case," said one G8 official.

Although the figure was $5bn more than planned, some of it is "new" money. Mr Obama was the driving force behind the initiative, even though Mr Berlusconi claimed some of the credit.

After the G8 summit was extended to include African leaders, Mr Brown praised the $20bn, three-year package, to which Britain will contribute $1.8bn. He declined to criticise other countries for not meeting their Gleaneagles pledges but argued that it was in the world's interests to tackle hunger.

"We have a moral duty to Africa. If Africa remains a net importer of food ... [we will] not have food security for millions of people in Africa and across the world," he said. "It makes absolute sense for Britain and others to support agriculture in Africa."

The UN says the number of malnourished people in the world has risen over the past two years and is expected to top 1.02 billion this year, reversing a four-decade trend of declines.

Jeremy Hobbs, from Oxfam, said: "For Obama it was 'yes we can'. For Berlusconi's G8, it's 'no we won't'. This summit has been a shambles, it did nothing for Africa, and the world is still being cooked. Canada 2010 [the next G8 meeting] is the end of the road for the G8 – all the promises they have made are due. They have 12 short months to avoid being remembered as the ones who let the poor and the planet die."

Joanne Green, the head of policy at the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development, welcomed the increase in agriculture aid but said it should come on top of existing commitments and be directed to smaller stakeholders over agribusiness companies.

"Tonight one billion people will go to bed hungry because the food system that rich countries have created isn't working," she said. "Climate change will only increase the vulnerability of poor people as land and water are degraded. Supporting small-scale farmers is vital, so that they are less reliant on the peaks and troughs of the global food market and the multinational players who dominate."

Adrian Lovett, from Save the Children, said the food security initiative had saved the L'Aquila summit. "This summit has proved that progress on all these issues cannot be left to the G8 alone. The months ahead will need a dramatic increase in the pace of development efforts" he added.

The day that Gordon met Gaddafi

Gordon Brown hailed Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as an example to other world leaders yesterday because he had renounced nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister had his first meeting with the Libyan leader on the sidelines of the G8 summit which Colonel Gaddafi attended as chairman of the African Union. Afterwards, Mr Brown said: "I applaud the decision of Colonel Gaddafi." He said Iran and North Korea should follow the example of Libya and South Africa, which could have developed nuclear weapons but chose not to.

The 40-minute meeting was described by officials as "good and businesslike". They said the atmosphere improved as it progressed. The Prime Minister raised the police investigation into the death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, who was gunned down while policing a protest outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984, and five-year-old Nadia Fawzi, who was abducted to Libya in 2007 by her Libyan father.

The Libyans have accepted responsibility for WPC Fletcher's death and paid compensation but have been unco-operative in allowing access to witnesses in a Metropolitan Police investigation. Mr Brown said he wanted the Libyan government to help "facilitate" the police investigation. Colonel Gaddafi was said to have "taken the point".

The Libyan leader, who brought his trademark tent to L'Aquila, urged Mr Brown to allow the repatriation of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi. A Downing Street spokesman said there was "a short exchange" on the issue. He added: "The Prime Minister set out the simple facts, that this was a matter for the Scottish Government."

Megrahi, 57, who has terminal prostate cancer, is appealing against his 27-year sentence. The appeal hearing is not due to conclude until next year, raising the prospect that he could die before the verdict. Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of Britain's worst terrorist atrocity. He continues to plead his innocence.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

h2 Recruit Ltd: Inside Sales Manager - Accountancy Software - £80,000 OTE

£50000 - £60000 per annum + £80,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Sou...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - BIM Software - £55,000 OTE

£40000 per annum + OTE £55,000 +Pension : h2 Recruit Ltd: An excellent opportu...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Commodities Brokers / Sales / Closers / Telesales

£10000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Investment consultancy firm sp...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is recr...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital