OTTAWA, Ont. (June 18, 2013)
—As Prime Minister Harper headed to Northern Ireland for the G8, World Vision called on Canada to do five things at the G8
. How did they do?
1. Did Canada push for immediate action on Syria?
Canada stepped up with critical funding, including 90 million in new money, for the humanitarian appeals for Syria and refugee hosting countries. But, even if the crisis ended tomorrow, the humanitarian impact on children and communities will last for years—if not decades, and will require steady international assistance. Alas, the conflict shows no signs of stopping, with devastating consequences for children trapped in the war zone, and for those seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. The G8’s agreement to officially push for the Geneva II peace conference is finally some good news for Syria’s children.
2. Did Canada work to protect aid and development promises?
The G8 talks a lot about “aid for trade” and while it’s good to invest in these things, it’s also critical to invest in the urgent needs of children today—they are the ones that grow up to make economic growth happen. If they don’t survive to see their fifth birthdays, all of the tax systems in the world are not going to help. They should be the next business leaders, school teachers and doctors in their communities, so today we also must invest directly in their immediate needs for health, education and protection.
3. Did Canada ensure that mining royalties will reach communities?
With a majority of the world’s mining companies being traded on the TSX, Canada’s commitment on this is critical. The wheels are in motion for Canada to use its leadership in this sector to ensure that children and communities in Canada and around the world benefit from the mining taking place in their backyards. Canada’s committed to a two-year consultation with mining companies, NGOs and aboriginal people to put the proper checks and balances in place so companies report on how much is paid to governments in royalties and taxes. Other countries are formally joining the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative – this must be Canada’s next step.
4. Did Canada work with the G8 to create an “accountability umbrella”?
For nutrition, yes, but it hasn’t happened yet. We’re pleased that the G8 affirmed the outcomes of the Nutrition for Growth summit and that Canada will host a meeting to help drive the Scaling Up Nutrition results in countries around the world. We’d like to see a coordinated approach to accountability as a lynchpin in that agenda. Avoiding a fragmented approach to accountability on health and nutrition is the best scenario for hungry children from Peru to Haiti to the DRC who are counting on Canada’s leadership so that their bellies are filled with healthy and nutritious food every day.
5. Did Canada bring development needs of fragile states to the G8 table?
The G8 statement doesn’t reflect any reference to development needs of children in fragile states. We urge Canada to prioritize the world’s most vulnerable children in fragile states like Haiti, the DRC and Somalia, in all of the international forums—including the post-2015 meetings, the UNGA, Scaling Up Nutrition, as well as its own consultation on transparency and extractives. While global gains have been made in many countries, all of the Millennium Development Goals are failing in fragile states. This must be a priority as post-2015 development plans are made in the coming months.
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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