June 26, 2010, TORONTO—As the G8 2010 comes to a close, World Vision believes the summit will be rightly hailed for the launch of the Canadian-led Muskoka Initiative, but tainted by low expectations and lower promises.
Robert Zachritz, director of advocacy for World Vision in the United States, analyzes the results from Canada:
“We believe the millions of preventable child deaths each year are the greatest silent emergency of our time, so we’re pleased to see the G8 leaders have taken it seriously this year by acknowledging the lack of progress being made. But for many of the 24,000 children who will die today before reaching their fifth birthdays, the sense of urgency is missing.
“This G8 has promised to save 1.3 million children through its Muskoka Initiative. World Vision will work to ensure this happens – and continue to push global leaders to address the remaining millions still at risk.
“With economic uncertainty and the massive Gulf oil spill taking a significant toll in the U.S., it’s not a shock that President Obama and other leaders shied away from greater commitments at this summit -- but it is shortsighted. Investing in global child and maternal health yields a high return for a tiny fraction of the sums spent so far on financial bailouts.
“World leaders are rightly focused this week on global economic challenges. What they need to realize is that saving lives and preventing illnesses will fuel productivity and growth in developing economies, adding to global prosperity over the long term.
“A set of simple, low-cost interventions like bed nets, handwashing, immunizations and adequate nutrition can save at least 2.5 million of the 8.8 million children who die needlessly every year, according to World Vision’s analysis.
“The G8 has taken some important steps in the right direction of accountability by increasing their commitment to transparency. They are going to annually publish their aid figures, making it easier for voters and civil society to hold them to account.
“Looking forward, success is not in communiqués or meetings. It’s in the delivery: of strong health services, of more health workers, of immunization programs, and of healthful meals for children.”