Commission for Africa /G8 Gleneagles Commitments

International Development written statement – made on 9 March 2006.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development

Last year the international community agreed a comprehensive development plan to help tackle the huge challenges faced by poor countries and poor people across the globe. Political leaders from the G8, EU, Africa and elsewhere made a number of commitments, including pledges to increase aid by $50 billion a year by 2010 and to implement 100 per cent. debt cancellation for up to 38 of the world's poorest countries. Progress is being made, although there is much further still to go, particularly on trade. The Government's priority is to ensure that commitments made last year are delivered, so that poor people see real improvements in their lives.

This weekend is the first anniversary of the launch of the Commission for Africa's report. One year on, and eight months after the Gleneagles summit, I am depositing in the Libraries of both Houses today a detailed report on what the UK has been doing to take forward the Commission's recommendations and to make sure that the G8's commitments are implemented.

The report highlights particular achievements. These include: the debt relief already being delivered by the International Monetary Fund; the launch of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) by the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Norway, alongside a grant from The Gates Foundation, which will provide $4 billion to fund vaccinations, saving 5 million lives by 2015 and another 5 million after that; the establishment of the UN Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from conflict; and the entry into force of the UN convention against corruption to help developing countries recover plundered assets. In Africa, there has been good progress by the African Union towards establishing an African Standby Force, able to intervene to prevent conflicts at an early stage. Progress is being made in developing a plan to deliver last year's commitment to provide HIV and AIDS treatment to everyone who needs it by 2010.

To help maintain momentum, we are supporting the development of an effective monitoring process, as described in the report. As the UK, the Government has already published a Gleneagles implementation plan setting out the milestones we need to meet to deliver the commitments agreed last year. This has been placed in the Library of both Houses, and will be updated regularly.