GENOA – Oxfam’s reaction to the conclusion of the Genoa G8:
“The G8 did nothing meaningful on debt relief, and announced a global AIDS fund that still needs much more resources and does nothing about the cost of drugs in poor countries. It’s unacceptable that these promises remain unmet. But the leaders laid groundwork for an ambitious agenda next year on Africa and education. The G8 agreed to work with poor countries on a detailed plan to get every child in every poor country into school, the kind of initiative that, if fulfilled, would restore a sense of legitimacy and purpose to these summits. Education breaks the cycle of poverty, and is essential in building democracy and fighting AIDS. Last year the G8 promised a global plan for education. In Genoa they said how to accomplish it. By this time next year, we’ll know if they will pay their share. The world can’t afford another unmet promise,” said Tony Burdon, Oxfam Senior Policy Advisor.
“The bold commitment on education owes much to the leadership of Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Finance Minister Paul Martin of Canada. Success would mark the Canada G8 as a high point of international cooperation, and offer welcome evidence that in this time of unprecedented prosperity in Europe and North America, the rest of the world still matters,” Burdon said.
“It’s past time for Germany to show leadership in supporting a global initiative on education. The Schroeder Government should take this opportunity to fill in concrete targets in its commendable but vague Action Plan 2015 for poverty reduction,” said Joern Kalinski of Oxfam Germany.
“Britain has made education a priority at home and is now actively working on a global initiative. The Blair government’s conviction that no child in the world should be denied schooling because of cost will be a critical part of getting every child into school, but any solution will require more money,” Burdon said. “The Prime Minister’s commitment to working with African presidents and his positive role in encouraging drug companies to drastically reduce prices for poor countries could make a real difference for poor people.”
“President Bush has rightly singled out international poverty as a priority for U.S. foreign policy, and identified AIDS, debt, and lack of education as key obstacles to development. As with his welcome proposal on World Bank assistance, the test of these initiatives will be the funding. We hope the President will build bipartisan support to pay for these initiatives, which would make a very good start of boosting the United States’ minimal level of international assistance,” said Seth Amgott of Oxfam America.
Contacts in Genoa: Seth Amgott + 4477 4040 4487 Julia Tilford +4478 1840 6010
Tony Burdon + 4479 6819 6102 Jorn Kalinski +4917 1836 031