Millions of lives lost if G8 fails to fulfil aid commitments
Industrial nations must urgently fill a
30-billion-dollar gap in overseas aid or risk the loss of five million lives,
the aid agency Oxfam International said Friday as the finance ministers of the
world's leading industrial nations meet in Japan.
In a report launched on Friday, Oxfam urged rich country governments to take more urgent and stronger action to meet the current global crises or face a "credibility crunch" over their failure to meet the United Nations' development goals.
The Group of Eight (G8) finance ministers will discuss the current food crisis, skyrocketing oil prices, African development and climate change at their meeting held in Osaka, Japan, on June 13-14.
G8 leaders promised in 2005 at Gleneagles to increase annual aid levels by 50 billion dollars by 2010, Oxfam said, but fears that industrial nations will renege on their promises, as they are set to miss this target by 30 billion dollars.
Using UN and WHO figures, Oxfam calculated that the 30 billion dollars could save five million lives in 2010 alone by providing healthcare and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"These are the same ministers who spent more than a trillion dollars in six months to bail out their own banks, but they cannot find a fraction of that to save millions of lives," study author Max Lawson said.
Oxfam demanded "ambitious aid increases" from the G8 finance ministers in order to keep their development promises.
But the financial assistance to tackle the food crisis or climate change had to come on top of existing aid commitments, Oxfam urged.
Vicky Rateau, head of Oxfam's G8 delegation said that currently not only poor countries had to pay the price for rich countries' pollution, but the money available to help them was being diverted from already promised and much needed aid.
The aid agency called for a freeze on biofuels targets, a substantial increase in aid spending and urgent action on emission cuts, calling on Japan to spearhead the efforts.
"Japan must lead the G8 to deliver a detailed emergency plan with annual budget increases to meet Gleneagles G8 promises and go further to reach 0.7 per cent of GNI (Gross National Income)," Oxfam demanded.
"Economic woes must not be used as excuses: rich countries' credibility is on the line," the report said, according to dpa.