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Millennium Development Goals

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2007

Q1. What progress he will report to the forthcoming EU and G8 summits in respect of commitments to the millennium development goals. (138661)

We are making progress on the commitments to the millennium development goals, particularly in respect of the commitment to halve the world’s population living in poverty, on which we are making significant progress. In respect of HIV/AIDS, we believe that we will have near universal access by 2010. In respect of primary education, there is a big increase in the numbers going into it in Africa, but we need to do much more. The G8 summit in a couple of weeks will be immensely important. Both in Washington last week and in Germany a couple of weeks ago, I urged the American and German Governments to do more in respect of Africa and poverty, and I hope very much that those efforts will come to fruition at the G8 conference.

We are halfway through the 15 years set by the rich world to deliver the millennium promise of making poverty history in the poorest countries around the globe, yet despite the fanfare at Gleneagles two years ago, there are stalled trade talks, the obstacle of an increasingly polarised and dangerous world and a failure to deliver the promised aid. As campaigners say, the world cannot wait, so does the Prime Minister believe that G8 leaders will ever live up to the hopes of their people and, if so, what does he believe is now necessary to deliver—[Interruption.]

First, I think that it is important that the G8 leaders live up to the commitments given at Gleneagles, and the next couple of weeks will be absolutely vital in that regard. As a result of Gleneagles, we have wiped out billions of dollars-worth of debt for some of the poorest countries and radically increased the number of children going into primary education—often precisely because of that debt relief. This country should be proud of the fact that it has trebled its aid to Africa and doubled its overall aid budget. As a result of what we are able to do now on HIV/AIDS, a real difference is being made: hundreds of thousands of lives are being saved in Africa. We have to do more and we will do more—the next couple of weeks will be vital in that—but we should be particularly proud of what this country has achieved in relation to the millennium development goals.