Friday, June 08, 2007

G8 finale: Africa in the spotlight

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany (CNN) -- Leaders of the world's eight major industrialized nations will end their summit Friday with a pledge to help nations on the world's poorest continent.

The heads of six African nations will join G8 leaders, and a $60 billion pledge is expected to help fight AIDS and other diseases, according to Reuters.

However, an advocacy organization working to eradicate poverty and AIDS in Africa said that a pledge of an extra $25 billion dollars made at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, two years ago has not been kept. At the end of last year, only $2.3 billion of that promised amount, which is to be paid by 2010, had been delivered, said Jamie Drummond, executive director of DATA -- or Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa.

"The G8 as a whole in 2006 did about half of the aid levels they promised -- just under half. They're planning for 2007 to do just under a third of what they promised. So there's a pattern of off-track behavior," Drummond said.

According to DATA, only Britain and Japan are meeting their promises.

Canada, the United States and Germany are slipping behind, and France and Italy are at the bottom.

No hard goals on climate change

On Thursday, the G8 leaders agreed to a communique under which nations will stabilize, then reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will "seriously consider" plans by the European Union, Canada and Japan for halving emissions by 2050.

The leaders "accepted the latest scientific evidence" of the dangers of global warming but set no targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Full story)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country has the rotating G8 presidency for 2007, had pressed for firm targets, but claimed she was "very satisfied" with Thursday's outcome.

The leaders accepted the latest scientific evidence of the danger of inaction, she said.

The G8 nations also agreed to work through the United Nations for a successor to the protocol.

Bush, Putin meet amid tensions

Threatening to overshadow the G8 summit was a dispute between the U.S. and Russia over a U.S. missile defense system. On Thursday, U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to cooperate on missile-defense after a surprise offer by Putin to use an existing radar station that Russia rents in neighboring Azerbaijan. (Full story)

Bush said the men agreed to share ideas, and involve officials from the U.S. State Department, Department of Defense and military.

The feud had angered protesters, saying it detracted from priority issues, such as poverty in Africa and climate change.

The row also angered pop cultures figures such as the rock star Bono, long an advocate for international aid to Africa.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Bono said the fact that "people love a good cockfight" had shifted attention from Africa to the Bush-Putin spat. (Watch Bono say the G8 has failed to keep its promises on Africa aid Video)

Link to G8 finale: Africa in the spotlight - CNN.com