Friday, April 16, 2010

Canada's chair of the G-8 brings hope for aid pledges

Out of all of the G-8 countries Canada has been the best in keeping their aid promises. So many poverty advocates are hoping that Canada will use their chairmanship of G-8 this year to put pressure on the other countries to live up to their own promises.

From this Canadian Press article that we found at Google News, we read more about the hopes that poverty fighting NGO's have for Canada.

Canada has largely lived up to its promises, and has put C$5 billion toward aid in 2010-2011, said Jessica Fletcher, spokeswoman for International Development Minister Bev Oda.

"We come out looking better than most," agreed Dennis Howlett, national co-ordinator of Make Poverty History, an umbrella group of large non-governmental organizations in Canada.

That's why Canada should use its moral authority, as well as its control of the agenda as host of the next G8 summit, to pressure other countries to pay up, Howlett said.

The NGOs won't stop there, however, in their lobbying of the G8.

Following up on Harper's decision to make maternal and child health a key theme, the NGOs want the G8 to commit meaningful money and agree to a "comprehensive" scheme that includes family planning and access to safe abortion in countries where it is legal, Howlett said.

The NGOs will also be pressuring the G8 to discuss climate change, but Howlett is not holding out much hope on that front. Ottawa has made it clear it would prefer to discuss climate change at the Major Economies Forum, and not at the G8 or G20.

The aid groups are also concerned that even if Canada and several other countries live up to their previous aid commitments, it's downhill from here.

That's because Canada and others have capped their aid budgets for future years, even as demands on that pool of money rise.

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