Posts tagged ‘UN’
It’s been a whirlwind of activity in New York. To give you an idea of the crazy week we have had out here, this is a snapshot of what I’ve seen and done…
8.30 in a taxi with bollywood movie star Rahul Bose talking about the progress on education and health in India. Followed swiftly by briefing with Kristen Davis making the comparison of the 700 billion dollar bank bail out all over the media this week, and the mere 50 billion the G8 promised to poverty eradication and have still not delivered on.
Next, a big but crowded room where 4.5 billion dollars was committed specifically to getting more kids into school, and where Bono solemnly pledged to continue to be a pain in the bum if leaders did not keep their promise. Ok, so he may have worded it a bit more colourfully…. At this event, the Global Campaign for Education invited leaders, companies and activists to be part of their ‘class of 2015’ and to step up progress on getting all kids into school. And definite progress was made here with some new money being put on the table.
Sneaking across the hall to find out what was happening on malaria, and hearing 3 billion dollars being pledged for bed nets and medicines.
Then on to a smaller and even more crowded room where governments and companies pledged to take action to save the lives of millions of women dying needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth every year.
Some of you have already taken action on this crucial issue back at home, to make sure your leaders got the message before they come to New York. For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to be involved, take a look at these flashmob videos on YouTube to see what your fellow campaigners in France, Germany, Netherlands and the UK have been up to. There is no doubt that thanks to many of you this issue was taken very seriously in New York.
That’s a lot of billions and a lot of activity I hear you say. So what’s the result of the whirlwind?
Most of the money pledged in New York for health, education, water and sanitation by rich countries was not new money. So those billions sound impressive, but it mostly money that rich governments have already promised before. And frankly that’s disappointing.
But these same leaders did make more specific pledges to invest their money in the right ways – in getting children into school, saving women and children’s lives, and getting taps and toilets for all people. And that’s impressive. There is definitely something to celebrate. So this is a massive thank you to all of you who have taken action – it made a difference.
So our verdict. This was a great boost to keeping governments focused on health, education, water and sanitation for all. Let’s hope the class of 2015 can keep its concentration up so we can give them all an A in 7 years time!
by Emma Seery: Oxfam International For All campaign team
I am in good company here in New York – more than 80 national leaders have flown in to participate in a special UN meeting on poverty reduction taking place tomorrow.
Why are they here?
Because in 2000 all UN countries made a promise to halve poverty by 2015 when they agreed on the Millennium Development Goals. And because with just 7 years to go, things are seriously off track. So leaders are here to demonstrate they are serious about ending poverty, and to put some much needed steam back into meeting these commitments.
Why are we here?
Because more than a million of you have pledged your commitment to our campaigning on health and education for all, and these are some of the goals that are still way off track.
And of course we’re here to make sure our leaders take this seriously!
Tomorrow we are going to get things off to a lively start. I am getting up at 6.30 (not that lively then!) to meet one of our campaign champions, Rahul Bose. Last time I met Rahul we were grappling with a 3 foot pencil and hundreds of kids in Delhi where we launched the For All campaign…. Tomorrow he will be in a star studded line up outside the UN and will be telling the world’s media and the Secretary General of the UN to take action ‘In My Name’.
Some leaders are also getting together before the main event to discuss how to make progress. Today the UK and Dutch governments have already promised to increase support for getting clean water and toilets for all people. And tomorrow others will meet to put new energy into getting more kids into school, preventing malaria, and reducing the number of women dying in childbirth.
Today a woman in Niger still faces a 1 in 7 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth. Can you imagine that? Lets hope that tomorrow there will be light at the end of the tunnel for millions more living in poverty. This meeting has to be more than just talk!
by Anna Marriott, Health & Education For All Policy Advisor, Oxfam GB
At the recent World Health Assembly, there was one thing on everyone’s lips and that was International Health Partnership (IHPs).
Eh? What’s that then?
Put simply, last September this new IHP initiative was launched to speed things up in reaching the Millennium Development Goals – by scaling up and improving health services.
On Wednesday at the World Health Assembly we were at one of the big IHP events. Oxfam’s crew made sure they were in a good spot for question time. When it came to questions, I wasn’t ashamed to ask what really mattered, ensuring they were directed at the big names in development.
I also challenged ministers from poor countries – whether they were really committed to putting their money where their mouth is – to deliver healthcare for all. Not making the poorest pay.
On the last day of the World Health Assembly, IHP talk continued and delegates, Ministers, charity people and ordinary people from all over the world crammed into an exciting event to discuss whether IHP has been a good idea and what lessons can still be learnt.
The trouble with these high profile events is those actually affected by these ‘global’ decisions are often not in on the act. But the great news here was that there were over 80 representatives from developing countries who had the opportunity to have their say.
In fact it was actually agreed that from now on civil society will be represented more formally at these meetings so that they can have a say in the international decisions that affect their countries. Great news! People power does work.
What else went on?
Well there was a lot of positive talk from NGOs from the IHP countries (those who had already signed up) but also quite a number of people were a bit concerned. “Have we seen all this before?” “Why should we get involved?”
You can see their point really can’t you? Here we go again yet another initiative…..
But with the right questions and problems being thrashed out, could this be a great opportunity for the future, to really improve healthcare for all? Especially as the UK and Norway agreed to increase their financial contributions?
The last day at the World Health Assembly was really inspiring – by coming together like this, everyone could channel their energy into making sure donors and governments do what they should be doing – you can’t hide now!
Last week was a jam-packed, exciting week of campaigning at the World Health Assembly. We set ourselves some pretty tough challenges! Targeting world Health Ministers, organizing high profile events and dressing up in ‘70s gear to remind everyone of Ministers’ health commitments made 30 years ago.
….phew it was a lot to cram into a week!
So what did we achieve?
Oxfam were like ants – marching around every corner of the Assembly – armed with statements, hunting down Ministers to persuade them to sign up and recommit to promises for health for all.
Our allies at Save the Children, World Vision, Action for Global Health and Global Movement for Children were also in on the act – it soon became difficult to avoid us! We managed to track down and sign up a whopping 60 Countries!
The star of the day was the Bolivian minister – he managed to persuade the whole of the Americas region to sign up! Great news!
We also held two high profile events to discuss some really big issues: making sure poor people can access affordable medicines and debating public vs. private healthcare systems.
What was the point?
Well, we wanted lots of people including people from world organisations like the World Health Organisation, ministers, charities and ordinary people to come and listen and be spurred into action!
We wanted people to know how and why people cannot access affordable medicines and challenge the World Bank (head-on) that their private policies will not help the poorest. Our events were packed to bursting and resulted in some fantastic positive heated debates.
So what a fantastic week of campaigning but the pressure doesn’t stop there! We’re turning up the heat in July’s at the G8 in Japan. Why not send a wish to G8 leaders now by taking our Tanabata to demand action on Health, Aid and Climate Change!
For more information on why we are campaigning for public solutions to healthcare services and access to medicines, check out our short video messages below from Rohit & Anna, our policy advisors who were in Geneva last week:
– On public healthcare
– On access to medicines
Yesterday we were kitted out in our psychedelic 70s retro gear outside the World Health Organisation (as brazen as we could be) with our 1970s T.V, dodgy lamp shade, banners and posters, while a UN security guard looked on suspiciously.
“Why on earth were you doing that?” I hear you cry.
Well, the world’s ministers, who have come here to discuss health at this year’s World Health Assembly, have forgotten the promises they made back in the 1970s (called the Alma Ata agreement) promising health for all by 2000.
6,000 people die each day of AIDS related diseases and & 1,400 women die needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth. So health is still a really important issue.
We think it’s an absolute disgrace that not only have they missed the deadline (by eight years) but have chosen to swiftly shove the Alma Ata agreements firmly under the carpet, hoping we’ve all forgotten!
Well we haven’t forgotten and that’s why we’re here, reminding them of their commitments. We’re here turning up the heat and getting them to reaffirm to those promises they made in the 1970s.
Health ministers have been feeling the heat this week and it’s not because they’ve been dancing the night away in a disco inferno. Credit: Act Now for Global Health