Immediate action on Syria –This crisis has a child’s face with an estimated 50 per cent of those affected being children. Tragically, the conflict shows no immediate signs of ceasing and children are caught in a war game. With 1.6 million refugees flooding into neighbouring countries with little more than the clothes on their backs and those caught on the frontline suffering injury, torture, death and serious depravation, action must be taken now. Canada should use its international reputation to leverage the G8’s collective responsibility and influence to promote peace and increased humanitarian assistance in Syria.
2. Save money while saving lives – In times of a global economic stress, the first thing that often gets cut is aid funding, but in today’s interconnected global economy, this only creates more poverty and instability. Canada must continue to protect global aid and development promises and ensure everyone is accountable for their pledges to child and maternal health and food security. Doing so makes economic sense—prevention is cheaper than a cure. Every dollar invested in reducing under-nutrition results in a $30 return on investment in terms of increased health, schooling and productivity.
3. Ensure mining royalties reach communities – In the Democratic Republic of Congo there are trillions of dollars in mineral wealth being mined, but outside the fence, children are living in extreme poverty in a country that sits at the bottom of the human development index. Canada can use the G8 to get more countries to sign on to mandatory reporting for mining, oil and gas payments to foreign governments so local communities get their share. With projects in 50 countries where mining is present, we know how critical it is for local communities to access this money so they can tackle poverty. This will also reduce corruption at both ends of the supply chain.
4. Create an accountability umbrella – Although the G8 has put some great checks and balances in place to make sure aid and development promises are kept, with pledges being made outside of the G8 at forums like the Nutrition for Growth summit, it makes it more complicated to hold donors accountable for pledges and results. Canada should lead on initiating a movement to bring frameworks of accountability under one umbrella so that these commitments become a reality and promises made to secure a healthy future for children are kept.
5. Finish the job in fragile states – Children in fragile states are the most vulnerable in the world. Not only do they live in conflict zones where they are under constant threat of physical, sexual and gender-based violence, but they also have the highest rates of infant deaths and lowest rates of school enrolments. While global gains have been made in many countries, all of the Millennium Development Goals are failing in fragile states like the DRC, Haiti and Somalia. As the global community turns its attention to the post-2015 development plans, the G8 must play a key role in reaching the most vulnerable children. The next generation shouldn’t be born wondering what peace looks like and whether they will live to see their fifth birthday. Canada’s shown leadership on reducing child and maternal deaths and needs to keep leading through 2015 to finish the job in fragile states.
Any of the above can be attributed as quotes to Wendy Therrien, World Vision Canada’s policy director.
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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. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca