CAFOD verdict: 'G8 big on good intentions, feeble on action'

 British aid agency CAFOD says the G8 gave African leaders little new at Evian as they make their way home today to a continent wracked by hunger, poverty and HIV/AIDS. African countries came to Evian looking for the substantial advances in development assistance, trade reform and debt reduction needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. At Kananaskis last year they were promised that: "No country genuinely committed to poverty reduction, good governance and economic reform will be denied the chance to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through lack of finance." CAFOD's Head of Policy, George Gelber, said: "They take home good intentions, rather then the desperately needed resources and reforms necessary to halve the number of people living on less than a dollar a day in Africa." Trade On trade Prime Minister Tony Blair reported that there was recognition at Evian that the subsidies G8 countries give to agriculture undermine the livelihoods of Third World farmers. "But there has been no sign that US President George W Bush is prepared to match France' s proposal to end these damaging subsidies. All Tony Blair could offer was G8 wishes to make the WTO summit in Cancun this September a success. Sadly, there has been no breakthrough on trade at Evian," added George Gelber. HIV/AIDS CAFOD welcomes US plans to provide $15 billion, of which $10 billion is new money, for the battle against HIV/AIDS. The $15 billion offered by the US has had an immediate galvanising effect on other G8 members. One billion of the US money will go to the Global Health Fund. President Jacques Chirac immediately announced a tripling of French contributions to the Fund and predicted that the EU would match the US contribution. "This shows that money talks. We welcome the G8's resolve to fight the scourge of HIV/AIDS," said George Gelber. Debt African countries have been pushing for a fundamental review of debt sustainability. CAFOD welcomes the UK government's commitment to work on this. Debt relief remains one of the best ways to fight poverty. But CAFOD fears that Britain has few allies. "Unfortunately the significant advance on HIV/AIDS at the G8 is not matched by new agreements on trade, debt, and aid. African countries have left Evian no nearer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals than before they arrived," said George Gelber.

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