The United Nations summit on the Millennium Development Goals has been a mirage. The promises look good from a distance, but the details are hard to see, and when the world’s poorest people most need help, pledges could still vanish into thin air.
While leaders celebrated a big package of money for global health, they failed to acknowledge their collective disastrous failure to meet their aid targets, which is putting the lives of women and children at risk daily. With five short years to the MDGs deadline, another global summit has passed and the world’s poor are still waiting for when they will see a difference in their lives. We need answers on how the money that’s been promised will be raised, and the hard work starts today.
The calls by Presidents Sarkozy and Zapatero for a tax on the financial sector to raise money for development were a ray of hope at this summit. But now other economic powerhouses like Germany and the UK must get on board, and not block the chance to raise billions of additional money which could be used to save more mothers’ lives and get children into school.
Strategy for Global Health
The global health strategy announced by UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon is welcome in that it brings together the efforts of donors, global institutions, developing countries, private sector and development organizations to together in their efforts to tackle health MDGs.
It is about time that global leaders shone a spotlight on the plight of the women and children dying unnecessarily every day, and committed a global health plan. But the big money promised for child and maternal health could still prove to be little more than smoke and mirrors, unless donors put their money where their mouth is. Poor people are waiting for answers on where this new money will come from.
Oxfam welcomes poor countries’ commitments to train more nurses and midwives, and to make health care free so that the poorest are not left outside the waiting room door. They also need to be personally responsible to their people for making this a reality.
The US is doing its part to combat corruption by requiring all oil, gas, and mining companies registered in the US to reveal all the payments they make to governments around the world. Others must follow suit to unlock billions in natural resource revenues that can help countries meet their poverty targets.
Today President Obama laid down the gauntlet for all rich companies whose tax avoidance means less money for the poorest countries. He called for tougher rules all round, and now he must take this message to the G20 later this year to make it a global priority.
Emma Seery – Oxfam International spokesperson