LIVE8 - The Long Walk to Justice

G8 SUMMIT 2006

Along with people all across the G8 countries, LIVE 8 supporters sent thousands of post-it notes to world leaders. You campaigned to keep poverty on the agenda of the world’s most powerful people, telling G8 leaders to keep their promises to the worlds poor. You shouted loud and clear and leaders meeting at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg couldn’t fail to hear you.

They heard, but did they listen?

World leaders took some small but important steps towards keeping their promises….

Your pressure helped to get Africa on the St. Petersburg agenda, and during the Africa session leaders heard all about the lives which have been saved or changed because of the promises they made in 2005.

People in Zambia now have free health care and millions in Tanzania are protected from hunger. Things are changing in Africa: aid, debt cancellation and trade justice work. But things aren’t changing fast enough.

Every promise that is kept saves lives, and every delay means that more people die from extreme and needless poverty. So we reminded them that they need to do more to really live up to the promises they made in 2005. There’s plenty more for leaders to do and plenty of us to encourage them to do it.

G8 leaders also considered what needed to happen on education, health and trade – issues that really matter to the most vulnerable and marginalised.

On education, the leaders went no further than reiterating the promises they made last year. Those promises were brilliant and, if kept, would give a primary education to all the world’s children for the first time in history.

But promises don’t build classrooms or hire teachers. Unfortunately, there was no progress in actually making the education promises happen. No new money was found to fund the shortfall in the ‘Education for All’ initiative and this crucial project hasn’t been given the green light to expand to help all the countries in education crisis. The G8’s report card: must try harder.

On health, the leaders did slightly better. They promised to fully fund the current project cycle of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. This critical Fund is responsible for putting half a million people on AIDS treatment, 11.4 million families under anti-malaria bed nets, and 1.5 million people on treatment for tuberculosis. The G8 promised to give the Fund the money it needs for 2006-2007.

In 2005, the G8 promised AIDS treatment to everyone who needs it by 2010. While the funding pledge is a good step forward, they also need a plan which details how we will achieve the target - and we are running out of time.

One area of real progress was in the number of G8 countries who are backing a mechanism called the Advance Market Commitment for Vaccine Development. This plan could encourage drug companies to invest research money into the diseases which hit the poorest hardest. Only Germany and Japan remain unconvinced and we will be working hard to persuade them to change their minds.

On trade, the talks remain on the verge of collapse and world leaders need to take action if they are to keep their promise from Gleneagles of delivering a trade deal which ‘makes trade work for Africa’.

Finally, the G8 did agree a $4bn per year ‘aid for trade’ package. This money is desperately needed to create the right environment for business to flourish. It must be additional to existing aid flows and be delivered quickly to enable Africa to work its own way out of poverty.

The St. Petersburg summit didn’t make giant strides for the world’s poorest people, but leaders were left in no doubt that poverty and Africa are still firmly on the agenda. The really good news is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that when she hosts the G8 summit in 2007 her meeting will include global poverty.

The eyes of the world now turn to her and the road to justice in Germany. The baton has been passed and Mrs Merkel is the most important person on the planet now in securing a better future for millions of people living in poverty.  We won’t let up and know you won’t either. 

Read more in our blog from the summit here

See the reaction from GCAP here

What DATA had to say about the St. Petersburg summit

Read the verdict from Oxfam here

Visit the official St. Petersburg G8 website