German NGOs Urge Government to Keep G8 Promises | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.07.2006

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German NGOs Urge Government to Keep G8 Promises

An alliance of German NGOs represented by singer and activist Herbert Grönemeyer has called on the government to devote more resources to fighting poverty and to live up to its aid promises ahead of the next G8 summit.

Herbert Grönemeyer: If you make a promise, you have to keep it

Herbert Grönemeyer: If you make a promise, you have to keep it

Herbert Grönemeyer -- Germany's answer to Bob Geldof -- used his celebrity power on Monday to up the pressure on Angela Merkel's government ahead of Saturday's meeting of the world's seven top industrial nations plus Russia.

Speaking on behalf of a network of some 100 Germany non-governmental organizations called "Deine Stimme gegen Armut" (Your Voice Against Poverty), Grönemeyer said he wished Merkel would demonstrate the same level of engagement she showed in the stands at Germany's World Cup matches in the global fight against AIDS and poverty.

Political trickery?

The singer also accused the German government of "falsifying its balance sheet" on development aid, because it included debt relief for Iraq and Nigeria in the amounts calculated for development projects.

Germany must put an end to such political sleight of hand and keep its promises, Grönemeyer said.

G8 Gruppenfoto in Gleneagles

G8 leaders set ambitious goals to reduce poverty last year at Gleneagles in Scotland

The promises made by Germany and the other G8 nations at the last year's summit in Gleneagles, Scotland are sizeable. They include a pledge to increase aid by $50 billion (39.2 billion euros) a year by 2010, 100 percent debt cancellation for 38 of the world's poorest countries, near universal access to AIDS drugs and care for AIDS orphans, and a trade deal that would help African nations to export and earn more of their own resources to fight poverty.

For Germany alone, the promises mean that the government would have to earmark a billion euros each year for development aid. The alliance of German NGO's has said its goal will be to serve as a watchdog, ensuring that the G8 nations make good on their promises.

"You have to stick to what you promise," Grönemeyer said on Monday. "We want to see facts."

Action on AIDS

The singer-songwriter was joined by Christel Rüder from the Alliance Against AIDS, who urged G8 leaders and the pharmaceutical industry to take the fight against the epidemic more seriously.

"We all know that there is medication to prolong the lives of those infected with HIV-AIDS," she said. "No fewer than 6.5 million people should have access to such medication now, and the figure is rising rapidly. But only 1.3 million people actually do have access to antiretroviral drugs."

"Those affected cannot live on promises," Rüder added.

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