Wednesday, April 14, 2010

G-8 falling short of promises, again

A think tank that monitors international aid contributions says that the G-8 is falling way short of meeting their pledges. In the 2005 Gleneagles summit, the G-8 promised an extra 25 billion pounds in aid to poor countries, so far they have contributed less than half of that. The findings are in a published report just released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

From UTV Buisnees, we find out more about the survey and some reaction to it.

The OECD praised some countries – including Britain – for continuing to increase financial help to developing countries but said other rich nations were cutting back as a result of the deepest global recession since the second world war.

While the UK increased development assistance by 14.6% in 2009, budget cuts resulted in Irish aid being reduced by 19%, while Italy – already one of the least generous G8 countries – cut its support by 31%.

Overall, the OECD said there had been a 0.7% increase in aid once inflation was taken into account, but a much bigger effort was needed to meet the Gleneagles targets, which were set in order to meet the 2015 millennium development goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations for poverty relief.

To fulfil their pledges, the OECD said the west would have to increase development assistance, measured in 2004 prices, to £126bn this year, but current estimates by the thinktank put the likely total at £108bn. Africa will receive only £11bn of the £25bn promised five years ago.

The OECD said there were wide variations in the level of support provided by rich countries. Sweden will provide just over 1% of national income in aid this year, while Britain will contribute 0.6% of national output, up from 0.36% at the time of the Gleneagles summit. By contrast, the United States and Japan – the world's biggest economies – will give 0.19% and 0.18% respectively.

Max Lawson of Oxfam said aid had actually fallen in 2009 when compared with 2008 prices. "This lacklustre performance from donors is not close to meeting the needs of poor countries, who are suffering now from the impact of the economic crisis. It is a scandal that more than half of rich nations have cut their aid this year and are giving less of their income than last year – just 31 cents in every $100."

Oliver Buston, Europe director of the development organisation ONE, was highly critical of Italy, which gives a smaller proportion of national income in aid – 0.20% – than any other EU donor. "Prime minister Berlusconi should be thrown out of the G8," he said. "There are plenty of other leaders who could make a strong case for being at the table. There's no point in having someone at these summits who shows up, shakes hands, eats the banquet, signs the communiqué and then makes absolutely no effort to deliver on his commitments."

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