Associated France Press (AFP) 26/12/2005
Make Poverty History campaign pledges not being delivered
LONDON (AFP) - Charities have accused celebrities of "hijacking" the Make Poverty History campaign and said pledges to cut the gap between rich and poor nations has had little impact.
In a year-end assessment of the campaign, The Independent quoted aid workers expressing disappointment that there had been scant progress made on promises made at the Group of Eight richest nations meeting in Scotland in July.
Dave Timms, from British anti-poverty charity the World Development Movement, told the newspaper the campaign had some "good elements" in raising public awareness but described it as "perhaps bravely naive".
"People like us who have been campaigning for 30 years felt that some of the real issues became overshadowed in the hype," he was quoted as saying.
"There are celebrities who really didn't seem to know what they were talking about and (musician and campaigner) Bob Geldof's comments after G8 were very unhelpful because they made people think everything had been achieved."
Geldof described the summit as "mission accomplished, frankly" giving "10 out of 10" for pledges on increasing aid by 50 billion dollars each year and "eight of 10" on writing off unpayable debts.
But Timms said that while "some progress" had been made on debt relief "we have yet to see any of those pledges translated into a penny for the poorer countries and there was no progress on trade".
Richard Miller, from the ActionAid charity, said: "Pledges have been half-hearted and there has been recent back-sliding on aid and debt commitments.
"The pledges sounded good and they will make a difference but they should have been greater," he added, echoing similar comments made by African leaders and the African Union.
The Make Poverty History campaign, a coalition of about 500 charities and social groups, involved more than 200,000 people marching on the Scottish capital Edinburgh to demand the G8 take action on aid, trade and debt relief.
Its rock concert spin-off Live8 brought the world's leading musicians together for concerts on the same theme and adverts demanding change for the world's poorest nations.