Cameron fails to fight for world’s poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge

The prime minister came to the summits “with a clear commitment to make sure these summits deliver for people. Too often, these international meetings fail to live up to the hype and the promises made” – yet according to The Guardian, Downing Street admitted that he had simply “not fought” for the commitments to be included during the negotiations.

When Harriet Harman asked David Cameron last week to give due credit to Gordon Brown for his work on development, he replied: “I’d be delighted to, if he could be bothered to turn up to this House.” Apart from being disrespectful to a former prime minister and Chancellor respected the world over for his achievements in the fight against global poverty, the real question many in the development community will rightly be asking following the G8 and G20 summits is: did Mr Cameron bother to turn up?

At this year’s G8 summit, the historic 2005 Gleneagles agreements were dropped from the final communiqué. Save the Children describe it simply as “shameful”, while Oxfam said:

“The only promise that counts is the Gleneagles one to increase aid by $50 billion by 2010 and that is the one they have abandoned.”

The prime minister came to the summits “with a clear commitment to make sure these summits deliver for people. Too often, these international meetings fail to live up to the hype and the promises made” – yet according to The Guardian, Downing Street admitted that he had simply “not fought” for the commitments to be included during the negotiations.

The G8 did muster some action on maternal mortality and child health, urgently needed in a world where approximately 350,000 mothers die from complications during child birth and 8.8 million children die before their fifth birthday, but the results were utterly inadequate; “lower than our lowest expectations” is how Oxfam described the initiative.

Around 40 per cent of the promised aid increase made at Gleneagles has not been delivered. The 60 per cent that has been spent has made a huge difference, according to a recent DATA report – 200 million bednets to tackle malaria;vaccines and immunisation saving the lives of 5.4m children; 42m more children in school…

But that $20 billion (£13.2bn) shortfall is literally costing lives. True, the recession has meant that budgets are tightening across the whole of the G8, but the Gleneagles summit took place in difficult times too as the horrific events of 7/7 unfolded. Through the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and a campaign by millions of people around the world, it still achieved that $50bn agreement and debt relief.

In a speech to Labour Campaign for International Development (LCID) last week, shadow international development secretary Douglas Alexander said the prime minister’s  silence “has been deafening”.

He added:

“Britain should be both leading by example and putting in the hard graft… So can David Cameron tell us how many phone calls and meetings he actually held with other world leaders about maintaining the Gleneagles promises?

“Or did he just give up?”

He also criticised the Government for lacking a clear forward agenda ahead of the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals in September. In the Commons debate on global poverty last Thursday Mr Alexander remarked:

“What concerns me most about this Government’s approach to global poverty, even in these earliest weeks, are the limitations of the vision, and, indeed, of ambition, that have so far been revealed…

“What is the clear forward agenda, beyond the re-packaging of existing policies? With just weeks to go, where are the Government’s clear and concrete proposals and red lines for the UN MDG summit?”

Or to put it more succinctly, will the UK Government ‘bother’ to turn up?

24 Responses to “Cameron fails to fight for world’s poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  2. Artisan Cupcake Co.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  3. Trakgalvis

    Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8 via @leftfootfwd

  4. Evidence based? Really?

    Erm, isn’t the uk aid budget ringfenced? Doing so is politically unpopular and probably stands not to gain the tories in any tangible manner. To try and claim they are abandoning labours legacy on id (to be fair they did do good things) is pretty far fetched. Are you seriously telling me that Labour would give more this year given the perilous state of the public finances.

    Also bugger this respect to Brown line. What is not respectful is that he is not turning up to his place of work and getting 1,400 a week for the privilidge. We don’t, and shouldn’t, expect this in any other strata of public life. Perhaps we should confiscate that and put it towards the aid budget…

  5. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  6. _ _

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  7. gemma tumelty

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  8. David Taylor

    My latest post for @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  9. LCID

    RT@DavidTaylor85: Our latest post 4 @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  10. Jacquie Martin

    If he can’t be bothered to fight for his own country’s poor, I’m not surprised at this. Bad publicity though – Bono and Bob won’t like it.

  11. Kaveh Azarhoosh

    @DavidTaylor85 's latest post for @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  12. Tim Nicholls

    RT @LabourCID: RT@DavidTaylor85: Our latest post 4 @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  13. Robert

    Brown is being paid and refusing to work you get the sack for that, stop crying about the people not likely you get off your ass and get to work, or pack it up and leave Mr Brown, and I do not know what labour are moaning about with poverty, the welfare reforms in this country will make a lot of seriously disabled people a dam sight poorer.

  14. evidence based really?

    i repeat (with emphasis) isn’t the aid budget ringfenced? Labour would have spent more would they??

  15. Mr. Sensible

    The headlines may say the aid budget is ringfenced, but if the 2005 Gleneagles agreement has been dropped that is a bit digraceful.

  16. evidence based really?

    but if the spending is the same as labour then what is the problem?

  17. SavetheChildren News

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge: http://bit.ly/b4t5l8

  18. Save the Children

    News: #poverty #G8 drops $50bn aid pledge http://bit.ly/ajk06i

  19. Anon E Mouse

    David Taylor – Back on your familiar old ground eh? You were wrong in your last article on this splendid blog and you’re wrong again here.

    Have you ever considered removing your rose coloured glasses about that last useless election losing Labour leader?

    Disrespectful to Gordon Brown? Are you serious – how respectful to the country was it when he was forced on us without even facing a party leadership election – especially after people like me voted for “Full Third Term” Blair.

    Why should the taxpayer pay for that incompetent buffoon to swan around in Scotland instead of doing his job? There can’t be many people in the country who aren’t glad to see the back of him but come on.

    Why don’t you actually start writing articles that are factually based and not on speculative opinion from something you read in The Guardian.

    This is supposed to be an evidenced based blog David. Why not give that a try?

  20. blogs of the world

    The prime minister came to the summits ?with a clear commitment to make sure these summits… http://reduce.li/sz4e31 #fails

  21. LCID

    Cameron fails to fight for world's poor as G8 drops $50bn aid pledge – Labour Campaign for International… http://fb.me/BDyLXqfs

  22. Where is the coalition’s leadership, vision and ambition on aid? | Left Foot Forward

    […] seen the prime minister let the Gleneagles promises on aid be dropped at this year’s G8, no clear plan for the Millennium Development Goals summit which is just weeks […]

  23. UN development summit: Obama brilliance can't hide poor performance on MDGs | Left Foot Forward

    […] Difficult when we know that, aside from the UK, the G8 is not meeting its commitments, and indeed dropped them altogether earlier this […]

  24. Cameron is abdicating his responsibility on international development | Left Foot Forward

    […] international stage at the Canadian G8 last year, Downing Street actually admitted that he had “simply not fought” to keep the Gleneagles commitments in the final G8 communiqué. Then, at the UN millennium […]

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