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.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice