A Cheap Promise, A Costly Decision
The G8 today announced their decision on “a commitment of $60 billion for AIDS, TB and malaria money.” But beneath the spin, dazzling the world with numbers, in fact they have just ‘reannounced’ their existing aid budgets, with only $3 billion in new money. This is miles off the 2005 promise of $50 billion new aid a year needed to halve poverty, and while important in the fight against HIV / AIDS, should be seen for what it is – a small step when we need a big leap.
The decision makes me feel extremely sad. This was a promise that was made two years ago because it was urgent. Many lives are being lost across Africa right now. Many more will die now that aid will be delayed. The timing of the promise is as important as the promise itself; it shouldn’t be about “one day we’ll do it.” Day in day out we live with the plight of people across Africa who daily have to take life and death decisions to survive the day, the week, the next month.
In Africa we are doing all we can to deliver medicines for those who need them, and to raise national incomes towards social services, within the resources of fragile economies and health systems. The G8 made promises to deliver more and better aid in 2005 on the basis that this money is critical. While African countries have worked to move forward; the G8 have not only broken their promise, but have tried to claim a breakthrough when they have not delivered.
Without listening to the voices of millions of people around the world, all calling for social justice, the G8 have acted in favour of their own pockets yet again. How many times can promises be made to the poor and then broken? For how long can we live in a world where those who have all the power to save lives, don’t do so?
We are not talking about a luxury. Like everyone else, people in Africa need health care. Without health there is no promise. People are dying every day. I’m sorry to be blunt, but you can’t keep a promise to a dead person.
Entry filed under: G8 2007 - Germany.