Millennium Development Goals
Un enfant sur cinq n’a toujours pas accès aux vaccins dont il a besoin. Nous pouvons changer cela.
Du 28 au 30 mai, les dirigeants du monde se réuniront dans le cadre du sommet intitulé Sauvons chaque femme, chaque enfant qui se tiendra à Toronto. Ils y discuteront des engagements internationaux en ce qui concerne les femmes et les enfants dans le monde en développement. Voyons à ce qu’ils prennent position pour la vaccination.
1 in 5 children still do not have access to the vaccines they need. We can change this.
From 28-30 May, world leaders will be meeting at the Saving Every Women Every Child Summit in Toronto to discuss international commitments to women and children in the developing world. Let’s get them to take a stand on vaccines.
L’an dernier, le gouvernement fédéral annonçait son intention de geler le budget d’aide publique au développement en 2011, le maintenant au niveau de 2010. Pourtant, malgré huit augmentations annuelles successives de 8 %, nos dépenses d’aide ne représentent que 0,3 % de notre revenu national – soit moins de la moitié du 0,7 % que le Canada a promis de consacrer à l’aide internationale. En gelant le budget d’aide au niveau de 2010, nous amorcerons un recul qui nous éloignera de l’objectif de 0,7 %. Nous devons empêcher cela.
Last year the federal government announced their plan to freeze the aid budget for 2011 at 2010 levels. But after 8 years of 8% annual increases, our aid spending amounts to only 0.3% of our national income – less than half of the 0.7% that Canada has promised to give. If we freeze aid at 2010 levels, we will start moving backwards – away from the 0.7% aid target. We can't let this happen.
Recently, October 17th marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This day can be traced back to 17 October 1987. On that day, over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger.
October 17th presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty.
The UN MDG Summit ended today by adopting an Outcome Document and Action Plan that re-commits governments around the world to renewed efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
While an impressive number of countries were represented at the meeting in New York at the highest level, and while there were some encouraging new commitments made, civil society groups were not convinced that this summit generated sufficient momentum to achieve the 8 goals in the 5 years that are left.
The Outcome Document and Plan of Action got watered down in many places during the negotiation process from the original draft.
I attended the taping of the BBC World debate on the MDGs today at the Ford Foundation, 5:30 pm. It was great. The whole auditorium was overflowing with government officials and Civil Society partners. One of the panelists was from our GCAP partner in India.
The topic of the debate was 'MDG's: What's holding us back?' The discussion brought together heads of state from developing and developed world, leading figures from the global industry and civil society, as well as academics. The debate focused on governance, aid, trade and the role of business. There was also an opportunity for some audience participation. The debate was moderated by BBC's presenter, Zeinab Badawi.
There were a lot of hard hitting questions on the issues that we have been lobbying on (e.g. aid and aid effectiveness, agri subsidies, innovative financing). The panelists from the US gave her standard answer and didn't elaborate very much to the point of evading and not answering the question. The poor EU commissioner got lambasted by questions on financial bailout for countries during the financial crisis but no funds to bail out the poor. The leader of the African Union, also the President of Malawi, was also asked about the abject poverty in Africa and especially the marginalised groups (women and children) who suffer most.
If you get the chance please watch the debate on September 25/26 (Sat 25: 0930 GMT, 2230 GMT, and Sun 26:0230 GMT, 1530 GMT). It will also be available on the BBC website.
Prime Minister Harper promised Canada would increase its funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in a speech to the United Nations today but omitted crucial details about how much of an increase it would be. Civil society groups were calling for a 50% increase based on the need. French President Sarcozy announced a 20% increase in France’s contribution to the Global Fund. Harper was also expected to announce a 20% increase based on an earlier draft of his speech sent to Canadian media from the Prime Minister’s Office. But curiously the amounts were missing in the speech he delivered to the UN.
Canada is trying to gain support for a seat on the UN Security Council so the failure to provide details had many other delegates wondering what was going on.
One explanation may be that when France announced a 20% increase on Monday, the Canadian government felt it should do one better but didn’t have time to finalize the decision. Or perhaps Harper had decided Canada would only give a 10% increase and had to omit this detail as it would have looked bad in comparison with France.
That Mr. Harper came to New York for the MDG Summit and spoke in support of the Millennium Development Goals is a good thing and something that Make Poverty History pressed him to do.
But his government’s announcement in the Federal Budget this spring that the aid budget would be frozen in 2011 at 2010 levels after many years of annual 8% increases makes one question how serious is their commitment is.
The plan of action that is expected to be adopted on Wednesday, will reiterate the importance of all donor countries keeping the promise to increase aid to 0.7% of national income. Canada is less than half way there. And if we freeze our aid budget we will start moving away from that goal.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit got underway Monday in an atmosphere charged with expectation and concern. With progress to date lagging where we need to be to achieve the 8 MDGs in the five years left till the 2015 target date, this Summit needs to spark a redoubling of efforts or the world will fail its promise to the poor.
The number of government leaders who have come to New York is encouraging. Almost 140 heads of state and heads of government are here, an important sign that MDGs are high on the agenda. The first day of debate did see some encouraging commitments being made. The President of France, for example, promised to increase their contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria by 20%, this despite a very tight fiscal situation in France. I heard the British International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell say very forcefully that now was the time for the world to redouble its efforts towards tackling poverty. He said that despite being faced with a very difficult fiscal situation the new government in the UK has re-iterated its firm commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on aid by 2013.
Civil society organizations are concerned, however, that the draft action plan document which is expected to be adopted by the UN on Wednesday, falls short on a number of points in terms of what is needed to get progress towards the MDGs back on track.
Prime Minister Harper will address the MDG Summit today at 6:00pm. It is hoped that he will follow through on the Maternal and Child Health Initiative it introduced at the G8 Summit with support for achieving the other MDG goals as well. Indeed, achieving improvements in maternal health require not just more midwives and access to health care but also better education for girls, clean water and action on AIDS.
Canada would do well to follow the lead of France and the UK by committing to increased funding for the Global Fund and establishing a timetable to reach the 0.7% aid target. If countries such as France and the UK whose budgets have been much harder hit by the global financial crisis can not only avoid cutting their aid budgets but actually increase them, then it doesn’t make sense that Canada should plan to realize 25% of its deficit reduction goal by freezing the aid budget as was announced in the 2010 Federal Budget. As the British International Development Secretary said, “budgets should not be balanced on the backs of the poor.”
One hopeful sign through was that in a meeting with Canadian government officials, it was suggested that the aid budget freeze might not be a freeze but that it was only an end to the annual 8% increases and that future increases to the aid budget would be considered on an year by year, case by case basis.
It would appear that our campaign is making some headway. By pushing Mr. Harper to propose a Maternal and Child Health Initiative at the G8 Summit, by encouraging him to go to the UN MDG Summit (only the second time he has addressed the UN), by getting him to hopefully make a commitment of increased aid for the Global Fund, the Make Poverty History campaign has shown broad based action can produce results.
Now we need to push the door open on the crack that may be there on unfreezing the aid budget.
Promises made to the world’s poor are on the line this week as the United Nations hosts the Millennium Development Goals Summit. Will Canada support or obstruct a breakthrough action plan to get progress back on track?
There are behind the scenes reports that Canada has been trying to water down language committing rich countries to increase aid to 0.7 per cent of their national income in the MDG Summit outcome document. There are also hopeful rumours that Prime Minister Harper will attend the MDG Summit and announce increased funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.