Friday, July 14, 2006

Make Poverty History

One year ago, billions of people around the world watched 10 simultaneous Live8 concerts and petitioned the G8 leaders to Make Poverty History. The politicians of the wealthiest countries made historic commitments to act in 2005 to reduce debt, improve trade and increase aid. If they think we've forgotten their promises - you can prove them wrong!

U2's Bono recently said that wealthy countries are taking some action on debt, doing little on aid, and failing in terms of trade initiatives: “Overall, there is one cheer on debt, half a cheer on AIDS and boos and wolf whistles for what is happening on trade,” the Irish rocker told Reuters.

The 2006 G8 meeting, to be held in Russia from July 15 - 17, will be Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first summit. Unfortunately, poverty is not high on the agenda. Leaders are planning to discuss energy security and infectious diseases, but development concerns could arise when they debate themes of health and education. At a June 29th press conference with Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies and Toronto's Mayor David Miller, Make Poverty History co-chair Gerry Barr said,” The upcoming summit will focus on health and education - and that's good. But no progress will be made unless G8 leaders live up to and surpass promises already made on aid, debt and trade.”

Go to and send an email to Prime Minister Harper and your own MP. Tell them you expect Canada to commit to increased action, including a firm timetable to reach 0.7% of Gross National Income for aid, enhanced debt cancellation for the poorest countries, and trade justice - especially for developing economies.

One year after an historic deal is not the time to retreat. At the G8, Stephen Harper should show Canadian leadership to Make Poverty History.
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