Blair: It isn't all everyone wanted but it is progress
The words of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom sum up the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, rudely and tragically interrupted by the horrific incidents in London. However, for the first time, Africa and poverty are in the sights of the developed nations and in Scotland this week, the collective goodwill of those who have the power to make a difference was evident.
Although many NGOs are complaining that the result was far from that expected and that Gleneagles was an opportunity lost, the fact remains that the debt of the 18 poorest countries in Africa was cancelled and a pledge was made to increase ODA by 50 billion USD. The fact that aid to developing countries was doubled while there was significant movement on debt relief cannot go unnoticed and can never be described as a failure.
The debt of the 18 poorest nations in Africa has been cancelled. The other indebted African nations can apply for debt relief 50 billion USD is being assigned to developing nations in aid The EU pledges to commit 0.56% of GDP to aid by 2010 and 0.7% by 2015 3 billion USD is granted to the Palestinian Authority for infrastructures 20.000 peacekeepers will be trained and sent to Africa. By 2010, all of Africa will have access to anti-HIV drugs. It is important to note that the G8 Summit was the first in a long line of initiatives which will continue throughout the year and which will move on from what was achieved at Gleneagles.
The forthcoming meeting in Hong Kong on agricultural subsidies will be a first step in a commitment to finish with the unfair policy of imposing subsidies and tariffs.
For those who wished for a significant deal on climate change, there is still a long way to go, with the USA entrenched in its position against Kyoto, which it claims would ruin the economy. However, global warming has now been recognized as an urgent issue, one which is caused by human activity and one which will have to be addressed by human activity.
Gleneagles was a shining example of what can be achieved when the international community comes together, sits around a table and speaks positively about what can be done to improve the lot of human beings, rather than deciding to drop bombs on people, destroy civilian infrastructures and commit acts of wholesale wanton slaughter.
The nations which engaged in such activity in Iraq can hardly justify what they did by emphasizing the shocking acts of butchery in London but Gleneagles marked a significant contrast between the attitudes of those who come together in the name of good and those who persist in committing acts of evil.
Full marks to the G8 on commitment towards goodwill, zero for the murderers who ruined the lives of dozens of families. The new millennium we were all looking forward to has shown promising signs at Gleneagles, while London was our worst nightmare.