CAFOD: 'G8 has ended with dissappointing pledges'

 Campaigners have vowed to fight on despite what they describe as 'disappointing' pledges made by the G8 at the Gleneagles summit on ending global poverty. CAFOD head of policy George Gelber said the price which the world leaders were not prepared to pay for ending poverty will instead be paid for by the poor - but acknowledges the promises made at the summit are at least a "beginning". He said: "For the G8 leaders the cost of making poverty history was too high. Sadly it is the poor who will pay the price with their lives and their livelihoods. "The G8's promise to provide the resources to halve extreme poverty by 2015 has not been kept." The G8 agreed to double aid to $50bn, ratified the previous agreements to cancel debt in 18 countries by the G7 finance ministers, but made little mention of trade. "In a world that spends one trillion dollars a year on defence and $350 billion on agricultural subsidies it is inconceivable that the richest countries cannot find the extra money that will help put an end to the cycle of poverty and despair across the developing world." "But, what has been achieved at Gleneagles today is a beginning, as the G8 leaders themselves have recognised, - a beginning that gives hope to Africa and will spur campaigners to redouble their efforts. The campaigners will not give up." The minimum of an additional US$50 billion a year in aid now is not a figure plucked out of the air by NGOs. It is what official agencies have said is the additional amount needed to achieve the UN's poverty goals. George Gelber said: "The cost of delay to 2010 will be measured in the lives and the livelihoods of the poor. Currently, 30,000 children die each day. Some of these children will be saved by today's decisions but over the next five years too many will die unnecessarily." Trade also failed to feature significantly in the G8 communique, leading campaigners to comment that there is a need to turn words into action on the issue. George Gelber said: "The G8 leaders have also failed to deliver on trade justice. Good language can't hide poor policy and warm words can't replace concrete action. "There is language on letting African countries set their own trade polices but it falls short of a clear commitment. Only at the WTO will we see whether their words will be converted into action." CAFOD partner Mulima Kufekisa, Zambia's head of Justice and Peace Commission, expressed disappointment at the news, saying that the G8 had missed a real opportunity. She said: "This is not the historic breakthrough the global campaign was looking for. This was a chance to set Africa on an irreversible path of growth and development. "Instead the G8 have agreed to come up with an additional US$20 billion but in five years time. There are still too many countries saddled with unpayable debts."

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