Development ministers from the Group of Eight nations reaffirmed their commitment to boost development assistance through partnership with emerging nations. They also vowed to stick to pledges to double aid to Africa.
Development aid from the EU and US often comes with political strings attached
The ministers agreed on Sunday, April 6, in Tokyo to fulfill their commitments on Overseas Development Aid made at Gleneagles, especially to double aid for African nations by 2010.
Underlining the growing role of developing economies in global aid efforts, Brazil, China, and India and other emerging donors were invited to talks here that aim to lay the groundwork for the G8 summit in July.
The G8 agreed on the need for "concrete cooperation with emerging donors," Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told a news conference wrapping up the two days of talks.
China has made major diplomatic and economic inroads in mostly resource-rich nations in Africa and Latin America by giving aid without imposing any conditions. The United States and European Union, meanwhile, often use aid promises as leverage to improve human rights or to promote other policy goals.
Time of hope and difficulty
Wieczorek-Zeul said cutting poverty by 50 percent remained the G8's goal
"This new aid is at the same time a hope and a difficulty," said Alain Joyandet, France's junior cooperation minister, according to the AFP news agency.
The aim of negotiations with emerging donors "is to have a common understanding about the question of standards for investment and regulations," said German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.
"The goal always has to remain that everybody is devoted to the millennium goals," she said, referring to a 2000 UN agreement on poverty reduction.
A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released Friday showed total development aid among the world's 22 major aid donors fell 8.4 percent in real terms in 2007.
Germany second-largest aid donor
Most Western countries are falling behind on aid promises, an OECD study said
For 2007, the biggest donors were the United States, Germany, France, Britain and Japan while the only countries to exceed the UN 0.7 percent of GNI target were Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
Germany's official development assistance for 2007 amounted to $12.26 billion, an increase of 5.9 percent from 2006 when Germany was in fifth place on this list of aid donors. Germany spent 0.37 percent of its gross domestic product on development, well below the government's target of increasing aid to 0.51 percent of GDP by 2010.
G8 members -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States -- expressed concern at the decline and vowed to strive to fulfil their pledge made in 2005 to double aid for Africa by 2010.
"Each G8 country is determined to strengthen development aid," said Komura. "So as to improve the situation in the fields of poverty, health care, education and water in impoverished countries, the G8 needs to continue strengthening development aid both in quality and quantity." The full G8 meeting is scheduled for July 7-9 on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.