The world's governments acknowledged more aid is needed to reach the MDGs, but they were not prepared to take the leap forward necessary to deliver the resources to eradicate poverty. Instead they simply welcomed and repeated existing pledges. Few countries committed to increase aid - Australia and Switzerland did for example, while Ireland restated its pledge to reach 0.7% by 2012 - a target that had recently slipped. But critically there was no commitment by the largest donor countries that have not yet set a 0.7% timetable, to do so. Some of the best news was that a group of countries, led by the French, announced a new air ticket tax to raise additional financing for poverty reduction, to be developed in 2006.
However, it is far from certain at this stage that this will amount to a significant step forward. The leaders said they wanted to make aid more effective at eradicating poverty, but when it came to specific commitments their political will was lacking. They said they wanted to untie aid (that is aid buying their own goods and services rather than being spent in developing countries), but didn't firmly commit to doing so. They backed already weak measures to make aid more predictable (crucial if poor countries are to build basic services such as health and education) but few think they have grasped the urgency of the action needed to make aid really work to eradicate poverty.
Critically they failed to even address the issue of damaging economic policies being imposed on developing countries as conditions on aid and debt relief.
The leaders made no progress in making the World Bank and IMF more democratic and therefore more responsive to the needs of the world's poor and marginalised people. It simply reiterated a commitment to strengthening the participation of developing countries in these institutions, but included no initiatives or concrete actions to ensure they become more transparent and democratic.
Despite the hopes of campaigners around the world - and its own claims - the leaders failed to set out a comprehensive solution to the global debt crisis.
World leaders welcomed the steps to extend debt cancellation proposed recently by the G8 which was helpful, but not a step forward. They hinted that other countries presently outside th G8 deal (which is only 18 countries) should be considered. But this was wrapped in convoluted get-out clauses that amount to scant progress and huge disappointment. In the end, the Summit only made a very weak and cautious call for consideration of "debt relief or restructuring" for a few countries outside current schemes, and no mention of conditions.
Campaigners worldwide have been calling for an end to damaging strings attached to debt relief. This was not even considered by world leaders. Despite strong calls from Make Poverty History and its partners, leaders also failed to give a clear statement that poor countries' debts should not be considered 'sustainable' if paying them leaves those countries unable to afford to meet the health and education needs of their own people.
The summit made no progress in supporting the poor in countries that are being forced to liberalise their economies. The outcome was a step backwards from the G8 communique, and sent worrying signals ahead of the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December.
The G8 leaders had acknowledged developing countries need to have control over their own economic policies, but at the UN summit, governments staunchly affirmed a 'commitment to trade liberalisation'. This will be interpreted in rich countries as a green light to extract more concessions from poor countries at WTO trade negotiations.
The G8 called for an end to export subsidies though they failed to set a date for this, but at the UN summit, leaders made no such promise. This is a bitter disappointment to millions of farmers in developing countries who hoped that 2005 might see the beginning of the end of the huge subsidies enjoyed by rich farmers at the expense of the world's poor.
The WTO ministerial is the last chance to achieve trade justice in 2005. The world needs an agreement that confirms the right of poor countries to protect their economies and ends dumping of agricultural produce by rich countries onto world markets.
HIV & AIDS
The summit provides a global mandate to getting "as close as possible to the goal of universal access to treatment by 2010". This will require action rather than words - we now need the money and policies to turn commitments to reality.
It is a significant step for the UN since rolling out antiretroviral treatment (ART) was considered unmanageable and economically unviable in the developing world when the MDGs were introduced.
There is a commitment to increase investment and focus on improving health systems in developing countries but it falls short of identifying the weakest points at primary health care levels and the commitment does not have clear or time bound target.
In recognising the need for additional resources it argues for substantial funding of the Global Fund but the US refused to allow language that would have ensured full funding of the Fund.
The document is silent on the role of trade rules in blocking affordable generic ARVs and there is no way universal access to treatment can be achieved without affordable ARVs.