Despite promises made by the G8 leaders in Birmingham 10 years ago to tackle the global debt crisis, millions living in the world's poorest countries still face a life of misery, a new report has found.

According to "Unfinished Business", a Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) report to be launched this Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Birmingham human chain, only $88 billion (£45 billion) has actually been cancelled in the last decade.

A further $400 billion (£205 billion) is needed if these countries are ever to combat the challenge of global poverty, it said.

The report, calling for global debt cancellation, also condemned the rich world's "refusal to cancel 'odious' debt". This, it says, included debts run up by corrupt or dictatorial regimes - still being paid back by the people they oppress.

Currently about $500 billion (£257 billion) of the total developing world debt stock of $2.7 trillion (£1.4 trillion) is believed to fall in this category, JDC said.

The report will be launched at Journey to Justice, being held at Birmingham University on Sunday. The conference will feature speakers from across the globe and will also include messages of solidarity from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Nick Dearden, JDC director, said it was time for the world's leaders to "fulfill their promises" and cancel "all unpayable and illegitimate debt".

"We know that debt cancellation is one of the most effective ways of reducing poverty in the developing world," he said. "Debts cancelled to date have transformed the lives of millions of people.

"So it is a shocking indictment of the rich world's commitment to fight global poverty that in 2008 the poorest countries in the world are still paying us more in debt and interest payments than we are giving in aid."

Lidy Nacpil, a Jubilee South activist from the Philippines who will speak at the conference, added: "The debt problem continues to rob the people and countries of the South of our rights to health, education, housing, water and other essential goods and services, our livelihoods, our independence and political autonomy.

"It is also increasingly clear to many that the realities of debt domination still lie in the centre of the global imbalances of wealth, power and consumption."

* For information about Journey to Justice, visit