Overall Grade: B-
Objective 1: Strengthen commitment to increase aid for eradicating TB, malaria and AIDS.
With the creation of the Global AIDS and Health Fund announced on July 20 by the G8, and the pledging of $1.3 billion US, there is clear movement towards fulfilling the commitment in the Okinawa Communique to eradicate or significantly reduce these diseases by 2015 (pa. 15).
Kofi Annan has stated several times that this is just a fraction of the amount required to successfully combat these diseases, but he applauds the G8's attempt to raise more money by creating this fund. $7-10 billion US is required per year to effectively combat the disease in Africa alone. Although short of the necessary goals set by the UN, there is definite initial progress. This is a great step in the right direction and a truly strong commitment by the G8 with regard to attending to health issues.
The mere creation of the fund allows a mechanism to manage AIDS funding even after the spotlight is off AIDS and other infectious diseases.
Objective 2: Strengthen resolve to work with pharmaceutical companies to provide essential life-saving medication to those who need it most.
Pa. 16 of the Communique says they hope the existence of the Fund will promote improved co-ordination among donors and provide further incentives for private sector research and development.
Pa. 17 of the Communique talks only of dialogue with the pharmaceutical companies within the context of the Global AIDS and Health Fund.
The G8 also applaud the reduction of drug prices that pharmaceutical companies have undertaken themselves recently.
There is no real progress on this front. In fact the G8 have backed off entirely, deciding instead, to try and raise the full amount of the cost of the drugs through the fund and maintaining their support of IP rights as the source of continued pharmaceutical R&D for cures and treatments for AIDS.
Objective 3: To relaunch the Enhanced HIPC Initiative to deliver faster, broader and deeper debt relief, releasing funds for investment in national poverty reduction strategies.
In the G7 Communique, they reiterated a previous committment to forgive a minimum of 100% debt for HIPC countries which now number 23 and potentially reaches a grand total value of over $53 billion US. There was no further movement in the G8 Communique as to strategies of increasing the number of countries at the decision point to become closer to the 41 countries. The WB conditions for the HIPC Initiative are uncontested and there is no new progress on this front. Other than continued support for those countries who attempt to meet WB conditions.
As far as lowering borders to African exports, the G8 reconfirm the UN LDC III Conference initiative to work towards duty-free and quota-free access for LDCs. There is no new plan to move this forward, and they reiterate their preference for debt relief for conflict-free countries.
There is no concrete movement in either area at this Summit but there is a definite push to seriously discuss debt relief and development, particularly in Africa. The wording in the G8 Communique is favourable to further serious discussion and there is agreement to continue on this path.
Prepared by: Serena Yoon and Jacob Young of the G8 Research Group.
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