G8 pledge more aid but fall short on emissions

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Leaders of the top 8 world economies at the G8 summit on Friday promised USD 50 bln more aid by 2010, of which half would go to Africa but stopped short of promising anything concrete of farm subsidies and disappointed lobbyers over lack of concrete action on climate change.

As well as increasing aid, G8 leaders said they would help African countries increase exports, fight HIV/AIDS and set up a permanent peace-keeping force.

African leaders were also called upon to help fight corruption, while the G8 also endorsed the USD 40 bln debt cancellation deal agreement last month.

However, deadlines on reducing farm subsidies in rich countries were missing.

On climate change, the leaders agreed at Gleneagles that “urgent measures” were required to combat global warming but did not agree on any targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

However, in a huge leap forward for the US, still the world’s biggest polluter per head, the US signed up to an admission that human activity was contributing to global warming and that the problem needed to be dealt with urgently.

A meeting with emerging market economies such as India and China aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been scheduled for November 1 .

The pledges were described as welcome but modest steps in the right direction by aid and environmental activists, with many saying leaders should have been bolder in tackling global poverty and climate change.

“The people have roared but the G8 has whispered,” said Kumi Naidoo of the Global Call to Action against Poverty.

Other observers said that the London bomb attacks took the heat off the leaders, since media attention was elsewhere.

USD 3 bln was also promised to help Palestinians create a new state.