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G8 2010: The Forgotten Pledge to Make Poverty History?

30 June 2010
London, 30 June: Last weekend was UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s first international assignment since taking office in May and, for the international development community, it was his most important engagement to date.
The G8 meetings held over the weekend in Muskoka, Canada had an ambitious and taxing agenda – top of which was the economic meltdown which has plagued the west. Under scrutiny were the various efforts of the leaders and finance ministers of the biggest global economies, and the fiscal manoeuvring that each government has attempted in order to save their voters from the pain of higher taxes and lower benefits.
Europe and the United States in particular have suffered a recession so severe that it has drawn comparisons to 1929. However, when compared with the crippling deprivation being experienced across the developing world, a re-affirmation of the G8 Gleneagles pledges made five years ago, which involved a $50 billion increase in aid by 2010, of which $25 billion would go to Africa has never been more important.
Muskoka, unfortunately, did not deliver. President Obama had an opportunity to set a benchmark that others would be obliged to live up to, but the President made only vague commitments to discuss international development at the summits. This, despite an imminent UN review that is expected to show that the world is falling dramatically short of achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.
Despite disappointing many by falling short of actually using the ‘A’ word or referencing Gleneagles at the summit, David Cameron is one of the few leaders who has protected the UK government’s aid budget from recession driven cuts and has vowed to aim for tangible results over headline-grabbing promises.
Further to this, Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell has argued that in the next five years, we are being afforded the opportunity to “put an end to some of the most serious problems facing the world today.”
While the outcome of the last meeting between world leaders ahead of the MDG summit in September seems to have been lacking in concrete commitment, it appears that the British government, at least, is committed to honouring its pledges on the MDGs by the 2015 deadline.

For more information, please contact Diana Thomas


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