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NGOs criticise leaders -

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EMMA ALBERICI: Three years ago - almost to the day, a string of benefit concerts took place around
the world in the G8 states and in South Africa. The Live 8 Make Poverty History campaign coincided
with the 20th anniversary of Live Aid and were timed to precede the leader's summit in Gleneagles,
Scotland.

The protests proved successful and, at that meeting, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
announced that the Group of Eight Wealthy nations would raise their aid budgets by $US50-billion by
2010.

So far only $7-billion of that extra aid has been delivered or just 14 per cent of the total
promised.

The Group of Eight leaders have been attacked by Non-Government Organisations which now say the G8
lack credibility on the key issue of addressing world poverty.

I spoke a short time ago to Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International. He is in
Hokkaido Japan to lobby the group to make good on their commitments.

Jeremy Hobbs, what have the G8 said about aid budgets at this particular meeting.

JEREMY HOBBS: Well, they haven't actually said anything yet. In fact we are waiting for a
communique on development and on Africa which they were working on last night. We understand that
it is still not agreed and obviously what concerns Oxfam and a lot of the other development
organisations is the attempt to water-down the commitments made at Gleneagles and reconfirmed in
subsequent meetings.

And now because we are facing, I guess it is this crisis in the global economy, the food crisis and
the fuel crisis, suddenly that number becomes expendable.

EMMA ALBERICI: So you mean the competing demands on the limited resources of each country
represented there?

JEREMY HOBBS: Well yes, obviously you have to put this in perspective. The European central bank
and the Americans managed to find a trillion dollars in the last six months to pay for the credit
crisis. So we are talking about $30-billion in that context, it really is not a, is a pretty modest
number and it is the number that is achievable over a number of years.

EMMA ALBERICI: It would seem Britain, America and Germany have raised their development budgets by
enough to meet the pledge they made in 2005 but France, Canada and Italy seem to be holding out.
Have they given any indication of why or how they intend to address it?

JEREMY HOBBS: Well, again it is this argument, there are domestic pressures and what we would say
is domestic budgets and domestic concerns should not be... prevent international leadership and when
you look at the crisis facing the world at the moment, the food crisis, the fuel crisis, the only
place that there is, if you like, the muscle to actually really make a difference is in the G8.

Now we don't get leadership in the G8 we are in real trouble so this summit really has to come up
with some pretty substantial proposals if we are not going to see things get very significantly
worse - particularly for poor countries.

EMMA ALBERICI: Is debt forgiveness still the main call on this aid money?

JEREMY HOBBS: No, it is not because a lot of debt has been written off. This is money that is
really supposed to be used for paying for health, education, for long-term development to really
lift countries out of poverty.

And one of the problems is in fact, that when the G8 countries count their development assistance,
they include debt forgiveness which of course is not fresh money.

But with the food crisis, I mean the estimates are around about 14.5-billion necessary to really
get food production back in order in developing countries.

If you think of the adaptation issue under climate change which is another big topic at this
summit, we need money for adaption because people are suffering now. It is not something that could
be put off into the future and they'll need fresh money for that.

What they talk about is packages for this and packages for that but we know that very often they
recycle the money from elsewhere so we need absolutely clear, explicit numbers in text and we also
need commitments of fresh money.

EMMA ALBERICI: Now at Gleneagles in 2005, the G8 leaders also pledged that all HIV positive people
would enjoy universal access to anti-AIDS drugs by 2010. That is a date now looming. How credible
does that claim seem now?

JEREMY HOBBS: Well, I mean certainly they have made a lot of progress and the investment in health
has been very important but we just need a lot more.

So the commitment on health which was made in Highlingdom (phonetic) last year, that is still
unclear because the time-frame for the $60-billion that was supposed to be committed for health
specifically picking up all issues, ranges between three and eight years. So if you spend it in
three years, you get a lot more money. If you spend it over eight years, obviously it is actually a
real cut.

So one of the things that is being addressed is that issue in this meeting is the time-frame for
spending that money on health and making a real difference because we know that where the money has
been spent on provision of drugs and access to medicine, that is had a hell of a difference.

EMMA ALBERICI: But on that issue of the AIDS budget, have and will it be likely that all
HIV-positive people, mostly in Africa, have they now got universal access to anti-AIDS drugs?

JEREMY HOBBS: Oh, by no means. No, no. It is a long way off for universal access but there has been
some progress and the point that I am making is that they need to make the financial commitments
for that universal access to be possible.

EMMA ALBERICI: Jeremy Hobbs, thank you very much for your time.

JEREMY HOBBS: My pleasure.

EMMA ALBERICI: And that is Jeremy Hobbs, the Executive Director of Oxfam International. He is on
the sidelines at the G8 summit in Hokkaido.