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G8 Leaders Agree $50bn Boast In Aid
(Michelle Jung)

G8 Leaders agree $50bn boast in Aid

Following last weeks tragic London bombings, the G8 summit, said to be in ?stark contrast? by President Bush have come to important agreements and commitments. Of the many reforms that the G8 was called to address, one of which was a boast in money to help fight the AIDS pandemic. A $50bn boast represents a doubling of the money already allotted by the G8 to fighting the deadly disease. In addition to this monetary boost, the G8 has now legalized universal access to retroviral treatments and other AIDS medicines. The G8 leaders also agreed on more macroeconomic aid to the continent most severely afflicted by the disease - Africa. The debts of the 18 poorest nations of the world, mostly African, have been forgiven by the countries of the G8. In addition, the training of 20,000 African peacekeepers is to begin immediately to help ensure the proper usage of the money and the end of civil conflict and turmoil within the continent. British Prime Minister Tony Blair remarked that while G8 was a start, ultimately ?Only Africans can help Africa?.

This statement echoes much of President Bush?s sentiment towards direct aid to Africa. Concerned about the mismanagement of funds, corruption, and eventual terrorism, President Bush has long been a proponent of direct aid only with the promise of good governance and democracy. While ideological differences and disagreements within the countries of the G8 are apparent, the G8?s top aid contributor is still the U.S. so the aid went through with the promise of African leaders to build healthy, honest democracies.

While many hailed the G8 Summit as a success, others, especially hard line NGOs saw the summit as a complete disappointment. Many issues such as climate change were barely addressed. For a long time, global warming and other environmental dangers have long been attributed to human activity. Unfortunately, the United States has long been unable to ?own up? to the problem with President Bush issuing many statements stating that he did not believe that climate change was due to human activity. Without the aid the United States, one of the largest greenhouse gas producing nations in the world, any initiative to address climate change would be useless. At this year?s G8 Summit, President Bush finally admitted that climate change was most likely due to human activity. However, no progress was made aside from this admission.

In the end, like it or not, the G8 got things done. As environmentalist Stephen Tindale of Greenpeace said, ?The G8 has committed to nothing new but at least we haven?t gone backward on the environment?. In a world rife with terrorism and destruction, even the simple phrase, ?At least we?re not going backwards? can be comforting.

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