Tanya Weinberg 202.640.6647 (W), 202.247.6610 (M)
WESTPORT, Conn. (May 27, 2011) — G8 leaders have to stick to pledges for the world’s poor, even as they act to help countries in the Middle East, Save the Children warned today.
The global humanitarian organization — which works in Egypt and in Libya — said the package of help announced at Deauville was timely, but key pledges to the developing world still had to be delivered. As the summit’s final communiqué makes plain, rich countries are $19 billion short of aid promised to the poorest.
Save the Children’s President and CEO Charles MacCormack said, “The last thing we want is the Arab Spring to be followed by a desolate African summer. The G8’s $19 billion shortfall of support can be measured in children’s lives. It could fund basic lifesaving health care for the world’s poorest children and their mothers.”
But the international children’s agency welcomed progress on two fronts. G8 leaders strongly endorsed a successful outcome of the global immunization summit in London in June. If fully funded, this could help save four million children’s lives through expanding the delivery of new and existing vaccines for major child killers such as pneumonia and diarrhea.
Leaders also pledged support for mothers’ and children’s health but the agency said that pledge now needs to be matched by action at the UN Assembly in September, where the leaders must make specific commitments to tackle the shortfall of 3.5 million health workers in poorest countries.
MacCormack said, “When training one health worker can mean reaching hundreds or even thousands of vulnerable children, it’s well worth the investment. Development assistance spending is under scrutiny across the G8 nations, but we know that the public remains supportive of helping women and children in need. The 8 million people who have already signed on to our global campaign to save lives prove that.”
Save the Children which has been working to protect children in Egypt and Libya, also called for the plight of children in the region to be recognized. The agency said that many children had witnessed or experienced appalling violence, while others had been prevented from going to school or were struggling in increased poverty. Save the Children said the new help announced at the G8 had to prioritize the pressing needs of children.
Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.