10 years after Make Poverty History: Did world leaders keep these 8 promises?

10 years after Make Poverty History: Did world leaders keep these 8 promises?


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Crowds gather for the Make Poverty History march on 2 July 2005 in Edinburgh. Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images.

Crowds gather for the Make Poverty History march on July,  2005 in Edinburgh. Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images.

10 years ago today world leaders met at Gleneagles for the 31st G8 summit. This summit was a HUGE deal for organisations like ONE: a moment for the world to take a stand against poverty and make real commitments to those people living in extreme poverty.

The Make Poverty History campaign had reached its peak, with rallies and concerts attended by millions all over the world chiming for change together. It was an exciting time, and truly felt like anything was possible. We had some radical asks, like outright debt cancellation, and some less radical asks, like more and better aid (something we are still fighting for today).

Not all of our demands were met, but of these 8 big promises made by world leaders at the summit, how many did they actually keep?

Promise 1: Double aid to Africa

Girls at school in Ghana. Photo: Morgana Wingard/ONE

10 years on: Some progress
Aid to sub-Saharan Africa has increased by $12.7 billion, which is a 68% increase, but not quite the 100% needed to double it.

Promise 2: Double aid from the European Union

School children doing their homework! in Kenya. Photo: Hailey Tucker

10 years on: Not much progress
Overseas aid from the EU has far from doubled. It has increased by 48% which works out at just 0.41% of their collective national income.  This is a long way from the agreed target of 0.7% of national income and would need to go up another 52% to meet their promise.

Promise 3: Drop the debt

Beans for sale at a market. Photo: ONE

10 years on: Good, with some exceptions
Out of 39 eligible countries, 36 have completed the debt relief process.  The most recent was Chad, who cleared their debt this year.  Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan were eligible but chose not to enter the scheme. With earlier debt relief programmes included, a total of $97 billion in total debt relief has been provided.

However, not all poor countries were eligible. Kenya and Lesotho still spend a lot of money on repaying these debts.

Promise 4: Universal HIV/AIDs treatment

A health worker at JFK hospital in Monrovia. Photo: Morgana Wingard/ONE

A health worker at JFK hospital in Monrovia. Photo: Morgana Wingard/ONE

10 years on: Work still to do
There’s still a long way to go on this one.  As of 2014, HIV infections have been reduced by 26% globally and by 33% in sub-Saharan Africa since 2005 but only 37% of people who need anti-retroviral treatment are getting it.  As of 2013, there were 17 million orphans who have lost one or both parents from HIV/AIDS.

Promise 5: Save 600,000 lives a year by protecting 85% of people at risk from malaria

A girl with a malaria bed net in Senegal. Photo: ONE

10 years on: Some progress
The good news is that from 2000 – 2013, deaths from malaria fell by 47% globally and by 54% in Africa. Eight African countries have cut malaria by 75% or more. 4.3 million lives were saved between 2001 and 2013 thanks to increased prevention and treatments.  But the bad news is that in 2013, 456,000 children died from malaria. This is down by more than 250,000 since 2015, but far from the 600,00 target that was set.

Promise 6: Eradicate Polio

Nurse Eugenia Beatson with a mother and child at her clinic in Ghana. Photo: Morgana Wingard/ONE.

10 years on: Good news
Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988 – wow! Just 416 cases were reported in 2013 thanks to a huge global effort to eradicate the disease. In 2014, only Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan remain polio-endemic, down from more than 125 in 1988.  But, as long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk so we need to make sure we finish the job.

Promise 7: Universal primary education

Children at Mwangaza Tumaini School in Mukuru, Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Morgana Wingard/ONE.

10 years on: On track
35 million more children have started primary school since 2005 across sub-Saharan Africa. Most countries are on track to get all children starting school, but the quality of education and getting children to finish school is still a challenge.

Promise 8: Stop corruption in the oil, gas and minerals industry by improving transparency

dollars-magnifying-glass_blog10 years on: Not there yet
31 African countries have signed up to the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative and are meeting all the requirements.  Another 16 are working toward the guidelines but not quite there yet.

2015 is also a crucial year in the fight against extreme poverty, with world leaders agreeing new Global Goals and the money they’ll put forward to making them happen. When they meet in Ethiopia next week, make sure they know you want them to make more great promises – and also keep them!

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