OTTAWA, June 25 /CNW Telbec/ - On the opening day of Summit weekend, close to 2 million voices around the world are calling on G8 and G20 Leaders to keep their promises to the worlds poorest people and invest in the future now.
A broad cross-section of aid and environmental groups, trade unions and faith-based organizations released the results of petitions from across Canada and 6 continents.
"The G8 right now is close to $20 billion short on its promises." said Gerry Barr, Chair of Make Poverty History Canada and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. "People everywhere want our leaders to fulfill their obligations to the global community."
The different petitions call on the leaders to make a meaningful commitment on the Maternal and Child Health initiative, honour the pledge to help developing countries adapt to climate change, agree on a concrete plan to sustain HIV/AIDS treatment programs and deliver on promises for universal education.
Thousands around the world want the G20 to bring in a .05% Financial Transaction Tax on all international market activities. Dubbed the "robin hood tax", the fees collected would fund both domestic and international social needs.
"Were very encouraged that President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel have told Prime Minister Harper they want the FTT on the agenda." says Kenya-based Soren Ambrose, of ActionAid International. "With world leaders pleading tough times, an FTT is an effective, sensible way to meet their international responsibilities".
"In my country, 16 women die every day while pregnant or in childbirth." Dorothy Ngoma is Executive Director of the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi. "These women are more than statistics: they're mothers, sisters, daughters. We owe them the best Maternal, Child and Newborn Health Initiative our leaders can bring them and the money for that can come from a Financial Transaction Tax."
"Trade unions in 42 countries lobbied Canadian embassies and collected 10,000 signatures, calling on the G8 to honour its commitments for AIDS because we know that the success of any maternal and child health initiative depends on it", says Teresa Healy of the Canadian Labour Congress.
"Its encouraging that Prime Minister Harper has put $400 million into a climate change fund", said Kim Carstensen, Leader of WWF Global Climate Initiative, "This must be additional to ODA, which is a concern of many countries. Leaders also need to tell us how they plan to end fossil fuel subsidies."
In addition to the petitions, a statement released by students organisations around the world, including the Canadian Federation of Students, representing over 150 million students called for a commitment to education and public services.
"Ultimately, its about accountability." says India's Lysa John of the Global Call To Action Against Poverty. "Leaders promise to bring in measures like education for all, a proven measure to reduce poverty. Then they leave the job half-finished. We hope the strength of these global voices will give them the courage to stay the course."
SOURCE MAKE POVERTY HISTORY
For further information: For further information: Kelly Crichton, Media Coordinator, Make Poverty History/At The Table Campaign, Cell: 1-613-882-7855, email@example.com