G8 pledges $60bn to fight Aids

The money will be used to combat diseases that have been devastating for African peoples.

    The pledge falls short of UN targets for extending treatment to tackle diseases [EPA]

    "We said that on behalf of the countries of the G8, that we are aware of our obligations and we would like to fulfil the promises that we entered into and we are going to do that."
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    G8 countries had wrangled late into Thursday night about specifics on aid for Africa.

    The $60bn will be used to combat Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, global diseases that have been especially devastating for African peoples and their economies.

    The declaration was criticised for not setting out a specific timetable for the aid, saying the money would flow "over the coming years".

    Neither did it break down individual countries' contributions or spell out how much of the sum had been previously promised.

    The eight leaders also recommitted themselves to pledges made at a 2005 summit in Scotland when they said they would double development funding by 2010.

    The G8 aid initiatives include:

    - $60bn for HIV/Aids over the next few years. Of that $30bn has already been pledged by the US. Part of the $60bn includes $6-8bn for the Global Fund to fight Aids, malaria and tuberculosis.

    - Specific mention of the aid commitment made at the G8 summit in Gleneagles to progressively increase aid by $50bn per year by 2010, of which half would go to Africa.

    - Three "significant dollar commitments" to support action on mother-to-child, paediatric treatments, maternal and child health totalling $4.8 billion.

    - A commitment to allow local production of drugs such as anti-retrovirals for HIV/Aids patients to ensure cheaper prices for medication.

    - An agreement to cut the prevalence of malaria in 30 African countries, which is responsible for 80 per cent of deaths, cutting deaths in half.

    - Strong support for funding national health strategies.

    - $500m for education in 2007 and support for long-term funding.

    - Support for sustainable financing of African peacekeeping, establishing a standby force and building capacity.

    Agreement criticised

    "People is Africa will be disappointed but it won't come as a surprise. They didn't expect much to come out of the summit, what they expected was a lot of talk and a lot of paperwork," Haru Mutasa, Al Jazeera's Africa correspondent, said.

    "What came out was a document where leaders promised to do certain things but we have heard this all before ... Africans now want actions done."

    Merkel said G8 leaders would "fulfil the
    promises" that had been made [Reuters]

    Africa campaigners complained that the $60bn package falls short of UN targets for extending treatment to tackle diseases and rich nations have already fallen behind on pledges made two years ago.

    British aid agency Oxfam said: "We must not be distracted by big numbers. What the $60bn headline means at best is just $3bn extra in aid by 2010.
    "Before this summit, Oxfam showed the G8 were set to miss their 2010 target by a massive $30bn. Today's announcement may only close that gap to $27bn."

    Bono, the Irish rock star and anti-poverty campaigner, said. "I think it is deliberately the language of obfuscation. It is deliberately misleading."

    Other issues


    On the question of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, the leaders were deadlocked with Russia resisting a French plan to delay a UN vote on its independence in exchange for recognising that Belgrade must give up its claim eventually.
    They also discussed Iran and confirmed plans to back "further measures" - in other words more UN sanctions - against Tehran if it continues to reject UN demands to halt uranium enrichment in its nuclear programme.



    Police helicopters forced down a Greenpeace hot air balloon on Friday as the environmental group continued its attempts to get its message across to leaders at the summit.


    Helicopters enforcing a no-fly zone around the summit in the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm swiftly circled the balloon, creating turbulence and forcing it to land in a field some 20km from the venue.


    The white hot air balloon had a giant yellow banner with the slogan "G8 Act Now" hanging below it, with the word "Failed" stamped across it. It was in the air for around 15 minutes before it was forced down.


    Land access to the G8 summit venue, a luxury hotel complex in the small seaside town of Heiligendamm, was blocked for a third day on Friday as thousands of anti-globalisation protesters camped out on several nearby roads.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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