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Africa: G8 Issues Roundup
Jul 7, 2008 (080707)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"A staggering 9.7 million children die each year before the age of
five. Most would survive if they had the basic healthcare taken for
granted in rich nations. ...We're campaigning for a world where all
children have an equal chance of reaching their fifth birthday." -
World Vision, campaign for G8 Action on Child Healthcare
As G8 leaders convene in Japan for their July 7-9 summit, a host of
reports and campaigns, from both official and non-governmental
sources, are demanding that rich countries make good on promises
to support healthcare and other basic development needs in poor
countries. The clear consensus is that rich countries are not
living up to existing commitments, and that there are specific
practical measures that can and should be taken.
Groups releasing reports recently include
- The MDG Africa Steering Group, composed of top leaders of
international agencies including the United Nations, the African
Development Bank, the African Union, the European Commission, the
International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the
World Bank. See http://www.mdgafrica.org/achieving_mdg.html
- The Africa Progress Panel, chaired by former UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, and including such dignitaries as Tony Blair, Bob
Geldof, Graça Machel, Linah Kelebogile Mohohlo, and Olusegun
- ActionAid International
"Cereal Offenders: How the G8 has contributed to the Food Crisis,
and what they can do to stop it." - press release and link to
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from campaign
statements and a report by World Vision International's G8 Action
campaign (http://www.g8action.org). It is illustrative of a
emerging international consensus on the imperative of global action
to ensure basic human needs worldwide. which extends to
humanitarian groups such as World Vision with roots in evangelical
religious traditions as well as including groups more commonly
associated with advocacy. As news reports make clear,
the political will in rich countries to move from promises to
implementation is still falling short.
See, for example, today's Bloomberg news report from the summit,
"G-8 Condemns Mugabe, Flunks Bigger Test of Boosting African Aid"
The official G8 summit site is http://www.g8summit.go.jp/eng
The themes of the summit are summarized at
For a special report on Africa and the G8, visit
For a previous AfricaFocus Bulletin on Japan and Africa, see
http://www.africafocus.org/docs08/jap0806.php For another recent
analysis of the role of Japan in Africa, by Kweku Ampiah for
http://www.opendemocracy.net, see http://tinyurl.com/5bvyqa
For previous AfricaFocus bulletins on issues of aid and global
public investment, see http://www.africafocus.org/aidexp.php
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
G8 Action on Child Healthcare - World Vision Campaign 2008
Sample Letter sent by World Vision
Dear G8 leaders,
A staggering 9.7 million children still die each year before the
age of five. Most would survive if they had the basic healthcare
taken for granted in rich nations.
As a World Vision supporter I am asking you to reveal a detailed
timetable to the UK public and the global civil society, at the G8
summit this July, on how you plan to reach commitments you have
made to children since 2005 and to influence the other G8 leaders
to do the same.
Specifically, I am asking you to reveal:
- A detailed timetable with annual targets to meet your 2005 G8
commitment to increase total annual aid by $50 billion by 2010.
- A detailed plan (with annual funding pledges) for how the G8
will meet its commitments to achieve universal access to
prevention, treatment, care and support for HIV and AIDS by 2010.
And tell us when and how the G8 will fund prevention of mother to
child transmission of this disease, the provision of paediatric
treatment and help for orphans and vulnerable children.
- A commitment to allocate at least 10% of aid by 2010 to
long-term funding for health systems so the world has a chance of
achieving the Millennium Development Goals for maternal and child
health and the scale up of HIV and AIDS programmes.
In the face of the global food crisis:
- The UK government and other G8 countries must act quickly and
decisively in response to increased child hunger and undernutrition
due to the rise in global food prices. The G8 must provide the
funds to help those in need now; address the issue of biofuels and
the other underlying causes of the crisis - including trade
barriers and subsidies in the North and lack of investment in
small-scale agricultural producers in the South.
A Matter of Life or Death
World Vision International
World Vision Japan National Director, Nobuhiko Katayama
There is a global epidemic that every year leaves millions dead,
reaching across the borders of developing countries regardless of
culture, language or sex. Despite efforts by the international
community to stop it, the annual death count is so high that you
can only make sense of the numbers by comparing them to country
This international killer is poor health. And in 2006, it claimed
the lives of 9.7 million children under the age of five. The vast
majority of these children died from preventable and treatable
causes. Of the girls and boys who have survived this modern-day
epidemic, 15 million to date have felt its effects through the
loss of one or both parents to AIDS.
Worldwide, there are 136 countries with populations under 9.7
million. Imagine the news headlines if, on December 31, 2006, it
was discovered that an epidemic had killed all the people of
Senegal; or of Sweden; or of Hong Kong; or of Israel. Then imagine
if, on December 31, 2007, the same thing happened again.
This number of deaths is almost too large to comprehend, but each
death is that of a child, and the loss of a precious son or
daughter. Whenever I travel to Africa I come face to face with
this sad truth. Such tragedy is the stark reality for millions of
parents and communities around the world – right now. Today in the
developing world, more than 26,000 children under the age of five
will die largely preventable deaths, and 1,400 women will die
from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Because half of these children die in sub-Saharan Africa, some
might conclude that such outrageously high mortality figures are
due mainly to tropical diseases such as dengue or yellow fever.
The reality, however, is that most children who die will do so
from causes that would rarely, if ever, kill a child born in a
country where there is access to adequate health care. Statistics
tell us that 10,000 (37%) of the children who die today will do so
from neo-natal causes. These include being born too early, or with
congenital abnormalities, asphyxia or tetanus. Another 5,100
children (19%) will die from pneumonia, while 4,600 (17%) will die
from diarrhea - an entirely preventable and treatable condition in
any country with clean water and adequate health care.
While the latest figures show that the annual numbers of child
deaths are gradually falling, it is painfully clear that
Millennium Development Goal 4 will not be met. MDG4 aims to reduce
the global under-five mortality rate from what is currently 9.7
million deaths per year to 4 million by 2015. At the current
gradual rate of improvement in child mortality, an estimated 18
million more children will die between 2009 and 2015. Significant
additional effort will be required if all countries, particularly
those in southern Africa, are to meet MDG4 by 2015.
This is where the G8 leaders come in. Many people around the world
have a share in the responsibility for achieving the eight MDGs,
but the G8, as the world's wealthiest governments, can provide a
massive boost to the effort to reach these global targets. By
meeting its commitments, the G8 also acts as a powerful model for
other donors and developing countries to do the same.
At the moment, non-governmental organisations such as World Vision
are filling gaps in many areas of basic health service provision,
something that ought to be the responsibility of national
governments. If the G8 chooses not to address the gap in health
systems funding, then funding of traditional health programmes
that target specific diseases and conditions, and civil society
gap- filling, will continue to be the major avenues by which
reduction of child mortality is addressed.
And if the G8 chooses not to address the gap in health systems
funding, the world will fail to meet MDG4 by 2015.
This is because, despite the rolling out of good health programmes
by charities and other civil society organisations in developing
countries, there is simply not enough money invested in these
programmes to make a long-term difference on a national scale.
What is more, such programmes are simply not sustainable.
Ultimately a country's government must provide the resources for
adequate health care, with the back-up of sufficient, long-term
funding commitments for the poorest countries, where there is an
absolute shortage of resources – commitments like those made by
the G8 leaders.
The G8 itself has acknowledged that it has power to greatly
improve the lives of the world's poorest people. Over the past
decade it has made a range of funding promises that, if kept,
would save millions of lives.
One example is the 2005 commitment to raise aid levels to US$130
billion by 2010. The promised rise of $50 billion could ensure
adequate funding to provide comprehensive child and maternal
health programmes, effective responses to TB and malaria, quality
basic education for all children and universal prevention,
treatment and care for people affected by HIV and AIDS.
This could save the lives of 6 million children and at least 2
million adults per year.
However, well over two years after this commitment, there is still
no timetable indicating when leaders will put their money on the
table. And each year millions of men, women and children die
unnecessarily while waiting for these promises to be fulfilled.
History has demonstrated that concrete action by the G8 does save
lives. The last G8 summit in Japan, in 2000, laid the foundation
of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Since
its inception in 2002, the Fund has committed $7.6 billion to
projects around the world – an effort that has saved over 1.8
Eight years after the Okinawa G8 Summit, the Japanese Government,
as the president of the G8, has announced it will put the issue of
global health high on the agenda this year and said it aims to
create a framework for action. Here is an historic opportunity for
G8 leaders to seize the moment and save millions of lives.
What follows are World Vision's calls to the G8 leaders and their
ministers of finance and development. They are not calls for more
money. They are simply calls for the leaders of wealthy countries
– countries where newborn babies are not at risk of dying from
pneumonia or diarrhea – to hold themselves accountable for their
commitments, and to be strategic with the commitments they have
We at World Vision pray that at this year’s G8 Summit in Hokkaido,
Japan, leaders will acknowledge that one of the most urgent crises
facing the world is the epidemic of poor health – an epidemic that
last year killed millions of innocent children, and which will
kill many millions more in years to come unless world leaders act
today to stop it.
That those G8 governments that have not yet done so publish a
detailed timetable, with annual targets, that provides stepwise
increases in aid towards their promised 2010 aid levels; and that
all G8 donor countries work to reach the EU minimum target of
0.51% of GNI to aid by 2010.
That the G8 ask other donor countries that have not yet done so to
publish similar forward projections of their aid levels each year
That the G8 governments work actively to improve the effectiveness
of their aid, by:
- refraining from attaching economic conditionalities to aid;
- delivering aid mainly in the form of real monetary transfers
towards nationally owned development strategies, not artificially
inflating aid through debt relief or technical assistance; and
- ensuring improved co-ordination and alignment around the
priorities and plans of recipient countries.
That the G8 governments provide a comprehensive plan (with annual
funding pledges) to meet the G8 HIV and AIDS commitments to
achieve universal access to prevention, treatment, care and
support by 2010 for both children and adults.
That the G8 support national governments to deliver comprehensive
and integrated prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)
services, as outlined by the G8 leaders at the Heiligendamm Summit
in 2007, by:
- supporting the production of national scale-up plans for PMTCT,
using the WHO Scale-Up Planning Guide for the Prevention of MTCT
and the “PMTCT-Plus” approach, which incorporates other members
of the family;
- reinforcing country-level accountability mechanisms for national
PMTCT goals and targets through the appointment of national
management teams and the establishment of a functioning
- providing a long-term, co-ordinated system of technical support
to assist countries in developing comprehensive, well-targeted,
evidence-based and scaled-up prevention programming; and
- working with other G8 countries to provide a comprehensive plan,
and annual funding pledges, to meet the 2007 commitment to
provide $1.5 billion to support PMTCT programmes.
That the G8 ensure that affordable pediatric medicines, including
generic combinations, are available, particularly for second-line
That the G8 ensure that children are considered in national and
international efforts to scale up access to treatment.
That the G8 support pharmaceutical companies in developing simple
and affordable diagnostic tests, increasing research and
development for child-specific needs and producing pediatric
That the G8 provide a comprehensive plan towards raising the
US$1.8 billion needed for pediatric treatment in the context of
universal access, as promised at the G8 summit in 2007.
That the G8 make time-bound and measurable commitments to earmark
12% of HIV and AIDS expenditure specifically for all affected
children and in particular for the more than 10 million orphans
and vulnerable children in Africa, as promised at the G8 summit
That the G8 support governments of all highly affected countries
to develop and implement national plans of action that protect
orphans and vulnerable children and guarantee their human rights.
That by 2010 the G8 countries allocate at least 10% of their
sector-allocable ODA to strengthening community- and districtlevel
health systemsxxiii in order to provide universal maternal
and child health services and enable the scale-up of responses to
HIV and other major infectious diseases. Alternatively, that each
G8 donor country contribute its fair sharexxiv of the minimum $15
billion per year aid required for basic health services by 2010.
That the G8 countries also accelerate the increase in funding for
HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria through the Global Fund and other
mechanisms, where appropriate, in order to meet their commitments
to universal HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010
and their commitments to combating the other infectious diseases.
That the G8 work with national governments through the
International Health Partnership to assist them in developing
comprehensive, adequately funded and workable health plans that
focus on effective health systems, with particular focus on
delivering an essential package of care through strengthened
community and district health interventions.
That the G8 work with the international financial institutions to
ensure that fiscal conditions that hinder the provision of
effective basic health services are not imposed on developing
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