NGO denounces G8 move to go back on AIDS treatment promise

July 2nd, 2008 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 2 (IANS) The draft of the communique expected at the end of the G8 summit in Japan next week reportedly goes back on the promise to provide universal access to AIDS treatment and prevention by 2010, a move denounced by international NGO ActionAid here Tuesday. The NGO has also denounced the reported backtracking on the G8’s 2005 commitment to increase development aid to Africa by $25 billion a year.

Said ActionAid’s International Director of Policy Anne Jellema: “In the midst of a global food crisis, for the world’s richest countries to backtrack on aid to the world’s poorest continent would be a crime.

“Farmers can’t afford fertiliser and seeds for the next growing season, parents are withdrawing children from school and governments face huge bills for food imports. African governments urgently need every penny of the $25 billion promised by the G8 to prevent the crisis becoming a catastrophe.”

ActionAid called upon Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to follow up on his agreement with 40 African leaders last month in securing commitments from other G8 leaders to double their aid to Africa by 2013.

Three years after the Gleneagles summit of the G8, over 70 percent of people who need HIV/AIDS treatment in low and middle income countries are not receiving it, the NGO added. Two thirds of HIV-positive pregnant women are still unable to get drugs that could prevent the virus being passed on to the child.

Leonard Okello, ActionAid’s international head of HIV/AIDS, said: “Without releasing funds, all promises on HIV and AIDS will be broken. AIDS kills over 8,000 people every day and we are faced with a global catastrophe if our G8 leaders continue to break their promises. Last year, 2.5 million people were newly infected and over two million people died from AIDS.”

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