June 09, 2007
Update from G8
While the outside world focuses on climate change and Russia, one of the main agenda items at last week's G8 summit was Africa. Activists gathered in Heiligendamm, Germany to try to hold leaders to the promises of universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010, along with significant financial commitment made to Africa at 2005's Gleneagles summit. (background)
A report from the Financial Times that claimed the G8 leaders were planning to abandon their promises sent these folks into a minor state of panic. The FT story says that the leaders were planning to commit to provide treatment for 5 million AIDS patients, rather than the earlier call for 10 million, by 2010. The cost of universal treatment is not small; nor is the cost of inaction. And then there is this sentence: "The lowered goal in the G8 draft communique was inserted at the insistence of the US delegation, according to several officials close to G8 delegations."
In the end, the G8 agreed to provide $60 billion over an unspecified time frame to fight AIDS. It refers to treating 5 million, not 10. About half of that counts on PEPFAR being renewed at double its original funding level. The money includes $6 billion to $8 billion for the Global Fund.
As with many such announcements, the dollar total does not represent new money. And the amount indicates only an intent to donate, not a promise or commitment of funds. Activist groups like the Global AIDS Alliance attacked the amount as only a third of what the United Nations says is needed to stay abreast of the epidemic.
The G8 also took steps to strengthen intellectual property and patent rights for developing nations, according to IP-Watch, which also prompted a rebuke from access-to-medicine advocates like Doctors Without Borders. Posters to the IP-Health forum called it "industry language" and "the U.S. position," undiluted.
For some background information on the needs and funding for universal access and the demands on the G8 nations, see this report. It reviews country-by-country donations up to this point.
Posted by Adam Graham-Silverman at June 9, 2007 02:52 PM