World Vision to G20: More influence must equal more responsibility toward
global poor

    
    -   Evading anti-poverty, development action on future agendas
        "unacceptable option"
    -   World Vision calls on G8 leaders to keep promises on hunger, health,
        development agenda amid shift
    

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - The move to make the G20 the world's leading economic body holds potential for broader coordination in the global fight against poverty and hunger, though it may also pose risks for achieving promises made by G8 leaders at previous summits, say aid policy experts at World Vision.

The G20's shift to prominence as a top global forum raises questions for the international development agenda and accountability for meeting goals, says World Vision, a relief, development and advocacy organization working in 100 countries including most G20 nations. While a more empowered G20 could become a stronger voice for the poor, aid policy experts note the group's failure to put development on the agenda and solidify plans that prioritize the needs of the poor during this week's summit is concerning.

At the same time that the G20 affirmed a commitment to achieving Millennium Development Goals, it is crucial for the G8 to also remain committed to past promises addressing poverty, particularly those related to child mortality, the humanitarian organization says. G20 leaders must make more room on the agenda to tackle development-related issues.

"There is some peril, as the two groups sort out priorities between focusing on economic issues and security, that implementing global development for the world's poorest and most vulnerable could fall through the cracks," said Chris Derksen-Hiebert, World Vision Canada's director for advocacy and education.

"Promises made to address the shocking number of children that continue to die from preventable causes must be addressed in 2010," he said. With the G8 and the G20 summits to be held in Canada in June 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has a unique opportunity to ensure global poverty issues get on the agenda and become the main focus of both meetings, he added.

"Global poverty clearly was not the main focus of the G20 leaders in Pittsburgh this week, and that has consequences for the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty, including citizens these leaders represent," said Derksen-Hiebert.

G20 nations together represent two-thirds of the world's population and as much as 90 per cent of its economic output. As such, this group of leaders has a responsibility to fuel action against the poverty-related problems of preventable disease, child and maternal deaths, malnutrition and hunger, which economic crises magnify.

While the leaders' final statement recognized the importance of food security, education and closing the development gap for the world's most vulnerable, the communiqué lacked urgency and a clear, specific plan of action. Meantime, one in six people in the world go to bed hungry each night and malnutrition underlies a third of the 8.8 million preventable child deaths annually. Some 1.4 billion people are living on less than US$1.25 a day.

World Vision calls on developing and industrialized countries alike to tackle the causes of extreme poverty and hunger, and boost progress in reducing child and maternal deaths. As emerging countries become more influential through the rising pace and weight of G20 summits, they must be held responsible for efforts to both meet their own country's needs and the needs of others. As World Vision has seen from its work in communities in dozens of developing countries, each nation's government and communities bear primary responsibility for addressing the rights and needs of their citizens.

Success in achieving goals to reduce hunger, preventable deaths and extreme poverty depends on countries meeting their existing aid commitments, making themselves accountable for action, and developing specific strategies and timelines for executing plans. World Vision urges leaders, especially Canada as the host nation next year, to adopt these priorities as they prepare for their joint "transition" summit in June 2010, announced today.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information: For further information: For interviews with World Vision policy experts, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@WorldVision.ca; Alex Sancton, (905) 565-6200 ext. 3949, (416) 419-1321 (cell), alex_sancton@WorldVision.ca


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