G8 avoids bold aid promises amid budget strains

Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:47pm EDT
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By Lesley Wroughton and Gernot Heller

TORONTO/HUNTSVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) - G8 wealthy countries said on Saturday that the global economic crisis threatened to undermine 2015 global targets for reducing extreme poverty worldwide, but avoided bold new aid promises.

At the end of a two-day summit in a lakeside resort north of Toronto, the Group of Eight failed to acknowledge its unmet aid promises. The group fell $18 billion short of a $50 billion pledge to double aid to poor countries by 2010.

Instead, the G8 trumpeted a $5 billion initiative to reduce deaths among mothers and babies, which has become a growing concern in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The meeting took place amid doubts about the strength of the economic recovery and the state of public finances, which has left leaders unable to offer bolder aid commitments.

"A decade of policy commitments and joint efforts with our partners has brought significant progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," the communique read.

"But both developed and developing countries must do more; meanwhile, the (economic) crisis has jeopardized advancement toward meeting some of the 2015 targets."

It said meeting the 2015 poverty goals -- agreed by leaders of more than 150 nations in 2000 -- was a "shared responsibility" and urged greater efforts to ensure the targets were met in Africa.

The first day of the G8 summit included African leaders from Senegal, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, also Haiti and Jamaica. They left without making statements.   Continued...