G8 Summit to Address Aid to Africa; Leaders Urged Not to Backtrack on Pledges to Continent
July 7, 2008
Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations at their summit in Hokkaido, Japan, this week are expected to endorse a plan that will provide detailed assessments of how well the member countries are meeting their pledges to help fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases in Africa, the Washington Post reports (Abramowitz, Washington Post, 7/7).
President Bush on Sunday arrived in Japan and said that developing a monitoring mechanism on aid to Africa is one of his priorities at the summit. He also suggested that Japan supports the idea. U.S. officials have said that the country is on target to meet its goal of $8.7 billion in development aid for sub-Saharan Africa by 2010, and independent groups have confirmed the projections, according to the Post. Although the U.S. is "under pressure from other G8 countries to set more ambitious targets" on other issues such as global warming, "Bush and his aides have been planning for months to turn the tables on their allies by pressuring them on aid to Africa," the Post reports (Washington Post, 7/7). "Now is the time for the comfortable nations to step up and do something about" aid to Africa, Bush said (AP/Yahoo! News, 7/7).
During the summit, G8 leaders also intend to include a clause in a set of health-related guidelines that would ease travel restrictions on HIV-positive people, according to sources close to the negotiations. The Kyodo News reports that the U.S. and other nations that have strict visa requirements for HIV-positive visitors have "expressed cautious positions"; however, the reference that leaders will "support ongoing work to review travel restrictions for HIV-positive people" is expected to fuel change. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June called for appropriate legislative revisions to eliminate such restrictions (Kyodo News, 7/6).
NPR's "Weekend Edition" on Saturday included comments from Bush and Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, on plans to increase HIV/AIDS funding to Africa (Wilson, "Weekend Edition," NPR, 7/6).
VOA News on Friday featured an interview with Marcel Van Soest, the executive director of the World AIDS Campaign, which is calling on G8 countries to follow through on earlier commitments (DeCapua, VOA News, 7/4).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.