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MDGs: $40 bn announced for women and children 0

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced a 40-billion-dollar Wednesday drive to improve the health of women and children. The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, said Ban, could save 16 million lives around the world by 2015. But where is the money?

“We know what works to save women’s and children’s lives, and we know that women and children are critical to all of the Millennium Development Goals,” said the U.N. chief in a statement. “Today we are witnessing the kind of leadership we have long needed.”

Governments and private aid organizations committed to spending more than $40 billion toward that goal. Countries from Afghanistan to Zambia — but also including Australia, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and the United States — have contributed to the drive. The foundations of the world’s richest men, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates were among the contributors. They joined rights groups such as Amnesty International and multinationals such as The Body Shop, LG Electronics and Pfizer.

Cutting the unnecessary deaths of women during pregnancy and childbirth and stopping the premature deaths of children under five are the two slowest moving goals of the eight key development targets set at a summit in 2000. Infant mortality has dropped to about 8.1 million annually from more than 12 million in 1990, while maternal mortality is down to about 350,000 from more than 500,000 — improvements, but still short of the goals.

The U.N. said that spending on women and children reduces poverty, stimulates economic growth and is a fundamental human right.

United Nations officials also said they hoped that the bulk of the $40 billion would go to the poorest 49 countries, those least able to afford money from their own budgets. But those countries alone need a projected $88 billion over the next five years to meet the goals. Mr. Ban’s announcement is also expected to include an ambitious commitment by the poorest countries to add nearly $26 billion to their health budgets.

Where United Nations will find the money? For sure not from public aid. At the Development Summit on Tuesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said that her country would not cut its aid budget, but she did not announce any increase. And Merkel is not alone…

By Staff – Afronline

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