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G8 ‘Fails to Meet Gleneagles Pledges on Debt’
Published on Saturday, February 11, 2006 by the Financial Times/UK
G8 ‘Fails to Meet Gleneagles Pledges on Debt’
by Fiona Symon

Group of Eight countries have so far failed to fulfil their high profile commitment to cancel all eligible heavily indebted poor countries’ debts to the Industrial Development Agency, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Fund, according to a report by Toronto University.

G8 countries have completed under half the policy goals they set themselves at the Gleneagles summit last year, according to the interim report published ahead of this weekend's meeting of finance ministers in Moscow.

The university, which has been monitoring the group's compliance with its pledges since 1996, reported that overall compliance was nevertheless at the highest level in four years.

In the six months since Tony Blair, George Bush and their G8 counterparts convened in Scotland, their governments have satisfied the 21 priority commitments they made at the meeting 47.3 per cent of the time, the university's G8 Research Group calculated.

But on the issue of debt cancellation, which was the headline issue at the summit, all eight countries were awarded the lowest score of zero.

The report notes that some pledges take longer to fulfil than others and that the debt cancellation issue must be regarded as a work in progress. In previous surveys, however, pledges on debt relief have been awarded the highest compliance rates, so this interim score of zero marks a “significant shift”, the report points out.

The G8 scored a perfect 100 per cent on implementing pledges on the Middle East, renewable energy and climate change, but less well, at 67 per cent, on commitments to help build Africa's capacity on trade and inward investment (67 per cent compliance).

On the Middle East, main commitment was the stimulation of a global financial contribution of up to $3bn a year over the next three years.

On renewable energy, the group's “perfect” compliance reflected leaders' commitments to develop markets for clean energy technologies, increase their availability in the developing world and help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.

Compliance on supporting the Education for All initiative, as well as those geared towards the development of cleaner, more efficient and lower-emitting vehicles were tied at 56 per cent. But the pledge to reduce Iraq's debt by implementing the terms of the November 2004 Paris Club agreement was only 25 per cent achieved.

The US scored the highest rate of compliance overall, at 71 per cent, followed by the UK, with a score of 67 per cent. Russia was the only G8 country to score in the negative range with an interim score of -14 per cent.

University of Toronto: G8 Research Group: Interim Compliance Report, February 9 2006

Copyright 2006 The Financial Times Ltd


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