Cooking the Books Won’t Feed Anyone: The G8 Shamefully Try to Cover Their Tracks on Broken Promises

 Almost six years ago at the Gleneagles Summit, the G8 promised to increase overseas aid by US$50 billion by 2010, with $25 billion of it going to Africa. But today, the G8 have failed to deliver on their aid promises to the world’s poor. And rather than admitting their failure to deliver, the G8 are shamefully cooking the books to pretend they have done more than they have.

Instead of using aid figures adjusted for inflation, which would provide the accurate picture, the G8 have chosen instead to highlight their aid commitments in their Deauville Accountability Report in 2010 prices. This sleight of hand makes it look like they have delivered almost $49 billion out of the promised $50 billion instead of the accurate figure of $31 billion. They are effectively massaging the figures upwards by nearly $18 billion, and way overestimating what has actually been delivered for the world’s poorest people.

According to the OECD, the G8 are actually $19 billion short of their target. $19 billion dollars is just 7 days of G8 military spending and just 0.06% of their combined national income. Out of the $25 billion promised for Africa, only $11 billion has been delivered. Had the G8 met their aid promise, even allowing for lower than expected GNI due to the economic crisis, they could have got every child into school, paid the salaries of 800,000 midwives in Africa, and provided 1 million life-saving bed nets. These are the real costs of their inaction.

If the G8 want to continue to be seen as a credible voice on development, then at this year’s Summit in Deauville, France they must fulfill their existing aid commitments. And countries that have committed to increase their aid to 0.7% of their GNI must set clear timetables to meet this target by 2015 or sooner. The G8’s reputation is at stake – if it wants to be seen as more than a talking shop, they must start walking the walk.