Associated France Press (AFP) 11/1/2006
Britain admits G8 failures in world poverty fight
LONDON (AFP) - British finance minister Gordon Brown admitted that Britain's G8 presidency had failed to meet its global poverty objectives, but vowed to keep up the battle.
Brown said he would be heading to the Group of Eight leading industrial powers' finance ministers' meeting in Moscow in February armed with a five-point post-British presidency plan to keep poverty on the agenda.
The chancellor of the exchequer said the logjam in global trade talks was "depressing", but a breakthrough would empower poorer countries to do more for themselves.
"Having taken the first steps to make poverty history, we must ensure that 2005 is remembered as the start of something -- not the end," Brown wrote in The Guardian newspaper.
"We must learn from our achievements and failures, not least the depressing lack of final agreements on trade."
Britain's turn at the year-long G8 helm ended on December 31 and and Brown is mindful that the Russian incoming presidency may have other priorities than global poverty and climate change.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will highlight "energy security" during his turn in charge of the G8, which also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
Brown said urgent action was needed on trade, debt relief, the environment, disaster relief and ensuring poor countries meet the United Nations millennium development goals for poverty reduction by 2015.
Brown called for 67 countries to be made eligible for debt relief. Only 19 of the 38 countries identified so far have been granted clemency.
"In 2006 we will be judged not just on willing the millennium development goals but on delivering the resources to achieve them," he wrote.
"All involved will have to prove that making poverty history is not just a passing fashion but a commitment for our generation."