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The fight against HIV/AIDS was the focus of consultations of G8 development ministers meeting in Berlin. Also on the agenda was the dialogue with emerging economies and developing countries as well as development in Africa.
Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, reported at the end of the meeting that a decisive step forward had been taken on key development-policy issues. "Our two-day conference has lent great impetus to preparations for the G8 summit," she declared.
The consequences of climate change will be dramatic, for developing countries in particular. A large number of armed conflicts are already destabilising these countries. The German presidency of the G8 aims to tackle these problems and adopt concrete initiatives, said the minister.
She re-affirmed the goal of the German government of increasing funding for development cooperation to 0.51 percent of the country's gross national income (GNI) by 2010. By 2015 the quota is to be increased further to 0.7 percent of GNI. At the same time, development funding for Africa is to double. This was the outcome of the Gleneagles Summit in 2005.
For the first time, the G8 development ministers met with representatives of the world's major emerging economies.
Representatives of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa attended the meeting, at which several African organisations were also represented, including the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the South African Development Community (SADC).
The German government is working to achieve greater regional cooperation within Africa. The development of Europe over the last fifty years is a good example of the value of regional cooperation.
Many African countries are landlocked, making them dependent on close economic relations and supraregional infrastructure. This is the only way they can create their own economic prospects and open up markets for their products. "We agreed with our African partners that a German G8 initiative to strengthen regional cooperation is coming at exactly the right time," emphasised Wieczorek-Zeul.
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to two thirds of all individuals living with HIV, and women are particularly hard hit. Wieczorek-Zeul stressed the importance of providing further financial support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Since it was founded in 2002, it has already saved 1.5 million lives, she said, and every month it manages to save another 100,000 individuals.
Source: Official German G8 Website