As Oxfam team gets ready to leave our new friendly home in Huntsville, and with the G8 leaders are rolling into town, we just got the word that an announcement on funding for maternal mortality has been made (strange since they haven’t even started meetings yet…). What seems like a positive message on the surface in fact could spell disaster for millions of poor people.
Why? World leaders are in effect sweeping their old promises of $50 billion in extra aid under the carpet and are now shuffling old cash around to pay for this new initiative. This could mean that poor people, already hit the hardest by climate change and the financial crisis, have to choose between putting their child into school and paying for maternal health care. Many are outraged and speaking out about this injustice
Dorothy Ngoma, Executive Director of the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi, says:
“As a mid-wife, I believe it is crucial to invest in the health of mothers, but I also know the importance of food on the table and clean water to drink. No one should be forced to choose between these. New promises won’t do much good if old ones are ignored.”
‘Creative accounting’ – a deadly game for poor people
It seems like just as quickly as the political leaders get voted out (see G20 ‘newbies’ as David Cameron, Naoto Kan , Julia Gillard), the memory of past commitments fade and get replaced by shiny bright new ones.
When it comes to the ‘old aid promise’, the verdict is in: world leaders are still $20 billion short. Oops. Sounds like a lot? The introduction of a Robin Hood Tax (also known as a Financial Transaction Tax) could raise $650 billion per year.