[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 10 July, 2005, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Campaigners divided on G8 outcome
By Steve Schifferes
BBC News economics reporter at the G8 summit in Gleneagles

World leaders at the end of the G8 summit
Aid agencies are sceptical about what the summit achieved
Global campaigners against poverty hailed the deal for Africa announced by Tony Blair at the G8 summit as an historic breakthrough which will save millions of lives.

Bob Geldof told journalists at Gleneagles that "never before have so many people forced change of policy onto a global agenda".

And Bono added, "If an Irish rock star can quote Winston Churchill, I wouldn't say this is the end of extreme poverty, but it is the beginning of the end".

But the ebullient, upbeat mood was not shared by everyone in the global call to action against poverty.

Roar or whisper?

Kumi Naidoo, its chair, said that "the people have roared but the G8 has whispered".

And other poverty campaigners looked embarrassed as the praise for Tony Blair's achievement continued to flow from the two rock stars.

The G8 need to run much faster to catch up
Make Poverty History

One told BBC News that they were being naive if they believed that the warm words of communiqués necessarily resulted in action.

In their own press release, the UK poverty campaign Make Poverty History said that the G8 must go further.

"Today the G8 have chosen not to do all that campaigners insist is necessary to free people trapped in the prison of poverty..the people of the world are already on the road to justice. They expect their leaders to be with them. The G8 need to run much faster to catch up."

Areas of Disagreement

Implementation of the agreement, everyone agreed, will be the key.

Bob Geldof said the leaders had signed the deal "if not in blood, in their own hand, and they will disgrace their countries if they do not now deliver".

Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London
Never before have so many people forced change of policy onto the global agenda
Bob Geldof

And Mr Naidoo said that "given the track record of G8 leaders' broken promises, we will also be closely monitoring their commitments".

Bono made it clear that it would be the strength of the mass movement in different countries that would ensure that the deal stood firm.

However, there were a number of specific concerns highlighted by campaigners where they felt the deal did not go far enough - or even moved backwards.

There was particular disappointment on trade that no agreement had been reached on a deadline for eliminating agricultural export subsidies which hurt poor countries - although Mr Blair said he thought a deal would be done at the Hong Kong trade talks later this year.

Going backwards

Trade campaigner John Hilary also pointed out that the communiqué actually went backwards in agreeing special treatment on trade only for the least developed countries - not all poor countries - in the trade talks.

He told the BBC that the G5 developing countries, like Brazil and India, would be outraged by this move.

Textile factory in Lesotho
The failure to set a date for ending trade subsidies has angered many

Aid campaigners also argued that the $25bn increase in aid to Africa by 2010 announced at the summit was too little, too late.

They believe that the $25bn is needed now, with another $50bn in 2010, if poverty targets in Africa are to be met.

And debt campaigners want 62 countries, not just the 14 poorest, to receive full debt relief.

The most negative comments came from the World Development Movement, who called the final communiqué "an insult to the hundreds of thousands who listened in good faith to the world leaders' claim that they were willing to seriously address poverty in Africa."

And Catholic Development Agency, Cafod added, "For the G8 leaders the cost of making poverty history was too high. Sadly it is the poor who will pay the price with their lives and the livelihoods."

Keeping promises

However, even the most radical development campaigners recognise, that even if the G8 are as much part of the problem as part of the solution, their campaign has been given an enormous boost by the demonstrations, concerts, and high-profile agreements at the summit.

A mountain has been climbed - only to reveal higher peaks on the other side

They hope that the momentum can be maintained for the long haul and the hard slog, when crucial meetings on the detail of trade, aid and climate change are discussed at forums across the world.

Action Aid's Steve Tibbett said it was inevitable that in a coalition people would take different views.

He stressed that it was very important moment in building the movement's momentum when millions of people had engaged for the first time in the battle to eliminating world poverty.

Tony Blair has had the result he wanted - and broadly gained the endorsement from the movement he supported and involved for the first time in the G8 summit process.

But it is still not clear which side has used the other more successfully.

Nevertheless, the development now hopes the momentum of the campaign will carry it to mobilise for the battles to come on trade, aid, and climate change.

As Bono said, "A mountain has been climbed- only to reveal higher peaks on the other side. But let's look back on the valley from which we came."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific