Aftermath of Live 8 - G8 must take lead from music stars

IT was the most powerful expression of people power in the 20 years since Live Aid, with the Live 8 concerts in ten cities around the world attended by hundreds of thousands of people and attracting global television audiences estimated at three billion.

The world’s biggest music stars united to convey the message to the most influential leaders of the industrialised nations that poverty must be made history.

To quote Bob Geldof, Saturday was a day “full of hope and possibility and life”, but that hope and possibility can only be realised through the political will of the leaders of the G8 nations, including Russia.

Though ringed by five miles of protective security fencing during their Gleneagles summit, those leaders will already have heard the global demand to end poverty in Africa, and to make poverty history.

They will hear it again in Edinburgh when the “long walk for justice” by hundreds of thousands of marchers will reach the city in what, hopefully, will be a peaceful anti-poverty protest, to coincide with the summit.

While more than 26.4 million people from around the world sent text messages on Saturday in support of the Live 8 campaign to cancel the debts of the poorest countries, it will take more than one summit to achieve the ultimate aim of this tremendous event.

Responsible and decent governance must be established and corruption eliminated in countries where aid is to be given. Although the removal of debt burden is crucial, the use of new loans to invest in the economy and the infrastructure and the removal of trade restrictions, are all elements which will contribute to make poverty history.

It will also, for instance, entail other governments outside the G8 honouring and delivering on their commitments to overseas aid.

Bob Geldof has rightly criticised the Irish Government’s appalling failure to reach its pledges on overseas aid by 2007, as amounting to moral corruption, and that the new timetable for scaling up Ireland’s aid promises was measly and mean.

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