What did the year of Live 8 change?

The optimistic zeal for reform before the UK’s last G8 was so strong that even Pink Floyd were prepared to be conciliatory. Sarah Morrison assesses  the actual results

It was the biggest anti-poverty movement of our time. More than 200,000 people marched through Edinburgh before the G8 summit in Gleneagles. Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police, anti-capitalist slogans were sprayed, and dozens of people were arrested.

As leaders  including Tony Blair, George Bush and Jacques Chirac prepared to make grand pledges, entertainers such as Bono, Bob Geldof and Paul McCartney garnered support. Eight million people wore the white wristbands, three billion tuned in to watch Live 8 concerts, and Pink Floyd played together for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.

The promises were grand. Increase aid by $50bn a year by 2010 and double what we give to Africa. Bring about trade justice and cancel outstanding debt for the world’s poorest countries. But eight years later, and days before the UK hosts the G8 summit again, The Independent wants to know just how far have we come?

“Of course, we didn’t make poverty history,” said David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, when asked about the $19bn aid shortfall, the failure to provide universal access to anti-retroviral drugs, or the stark collapse of meaningful trade talks. But, he added, “a lot was achieved in eight years”. Thirty-five countries had their debt cancelled to the tune of $35.5bn, helping Zambia to provide universal healthcare, and countries such as Uganda, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania to abolish fees for primary school. “Then and now feel like very different eras,” said Europe executive director for ONE Adrian Lovett, who was integral to the Make Poverty History campaign. Indeed, with recession and austerity measures sweeping Europe, the first big hurdle this week will be to get the development agenda heard at all.

The big focus, argued the IF campaign, must be on battling global hunger – malnutrition is the leading cause of child death, yet less than 0.4 per cent of global aid is spent on it. Leaders must invest in agriculture, prevent farmers being forced off land and tackle global tax avoidance, experts warn.

But Brendan Cox, director of policy and advocacy at Save The Children, said people have to manage their expectations. “The G8 sends very strong political signal changes to policy and practice,” he said. “[But] you can’t sue it if it doesn’t do what it says it will.”

The Gleneagles promises: How did we do?

1 Aid

G8 leaders promised to increase annual aid to poor countries by $50bn and to Africa by $25bn by 2010, while the EU committed to spending 0.7 per cent of income on aid by 2015. Targets were not met. Aid increased by more than 35 per cent, but there was a shortfall of about $19bn. Africa received only $11bn more aid – under half of what was pledged. The UK reached the 0.7 per cent target, but Europe remains off-track. 5/10

2 Debt deal

The G8 agreed that 39 heavily indebted poor countries could abandon debts owed to the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank. Thirty five countries have had a total of $35.5bn forgiven. The others are in varying stages of the process. 8/10

3 Trade

The G8 promised to secure an “ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Round” which sought to make trade work for Africa. The broad failure to create a better trade environment for African countries is one of the most clearly missed Gleneagles commitments. But aid for trade to sub-Saharan Africa has almost doubled since 2005. 1/10

4 Health

Leaders committed to “mobilise” funds for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria and have provided more than 70 per cent of the fund’s resources to date. But the G8 failed on its ambitious goal to deliver universal access to anti-retroviral drugs by 2010 to achieve an Aids-free generation: only 47 per cent of people were receiving treatment by the deadline. But coverage has increased and new infections in some sub-Saharan African countries have dropped by 37 per cent. 6/10

5 Education

G8 leaders committed to “support” African countries to ensure that by 2015 all children have free and compulsory primary education. Sub-Saharan Africa is not on track to meet this target, but 21 million more children are enrolled in primary schools across high-performing countries compared with 2005. Aid for primary education has increased by about two-thirds. 5/10

6 Water and Sanitation

Leaders agreed to increase aid and maintain “political momentum” on the water issue. Average annual aid has increased by more than 70 per cent, but the leaders’ total share of donor aid has decreased. Sub-Saharan Africa is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target on water and sanitation. 4/10

7 Governance

Leaders promised to fight corruptionand increase support to the extractive industries. Since 2007, five of the G8 countries, including the UK, provided more than $9.1m to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative. All but two G8 countries – Germany and Japan – have ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. The Africa Peer Review Mechanism, to self-monitor governance, was set up in 2005, but only two G8 countries have provided bilateral funds. 3/10

Sources: ONE, Oxfam, OECD, GOV.UK

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
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

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: EWI / IWI Installer

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'