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Opinions: G8 Commitments To Maternal, Child Health

G8 ‘Failed Its Own Leadership Test’ On
Maternal, Child Health Commitments

A Toronto Star editorial reflects on the pledges of G8 countries to the Muskoka Initiative to improve maternal and child health care, noting, while Canada’s $1.1 billion over five years “fell noticeably short of the $1.2 billion the G8 and G20 summits cost to stage, it will lend welcome impetus to a lifeline for Africa and help save lives.” However, as the editorial notes, “the recession-battered G8 as a group responded feebly, mustering only $5 billion over five years. That is barely a fifth of what the United Nations reckons would be their fair share on the mother and child file, if they were determined to make a real difference.”

The piece points to the failure of G8 countries to fully deliver on commitments of $50 billion in aid at the Gleneagles summit in 2005, before writing, “This is a shabby performance for a rich club that generates close to $40 trillion in wealth, and prides itself on the belief that ‘its collective will can be a powerful catalyst for sustainable change and progress,’ as the [G8] communique put it. By that grandiose measure, the G8 failed its own leadership test” (6/27).

While Lacking, Maternal Health Plan Gets The Issue On International Political Agenda

“The G8 maternal health announcement is not all that aid groups hoped for, or all that women and children in developing countries need. It will, however, make a real impact, and gets the issue on the international political agenda,” a Globe and Mail editorial writes.

“Maternal health runs the risk of being the latest flavour-of-the-month of international summitry. There are, however, strong indications – given the hard lobbying it took to rocket the issue to such prominence; [Canadian Prime Minister] Stephen Harper’s focus on accountability and his choice in making it the G8 theme; and the dissatisfaction of most aid groups with the result – that it will stay on the political radar. Ultimately, what’s needed is a larger ongoing commitment of the leaders of the world’s wealthiest countries – but some commitment is now on display, and it is more evident than it was yesterday,” the editorial concludes (6/25).