Aid agency works to set agenda ahead of G8 meeting

By staff writers
March 27, 2007

Leaders of G8 countries must take the next steps to meet their commitments to end extreme poverty and stop AIDS' devastation in the developing world, Christian aid agency World Vision has said in a paper released for this week's meeting of government development ministers.

World Vision is calling on G8 leaders to act now to prioritize children; ensure universal access to care, prevention and treatment; and set up a high-level group that will oversee and monitor progress on G8 commitments to fight AIDS.

AIDS has already orphaned 15 million children. In 2006 alone, it killed an estimated 380,000 children under the age of 15. Of all global AIDS-related deaths in 2006, 72 percent occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. With increased resources, million of lives can be saved, campaigners say.

Directors of World Vision's national offices in 25 African countries have emphasized several of these key points directly with the G8 president's office in advance of agenda-setting meetings.

Development ministers from the Group of Eight nations are now meeting to prepare for the summit in Germany this June. The agenda will include issues related to the Millennium Development Goals to cut poverty in half by 2015, based on promises made to the poor by world leaders at the 2005 summit.

"It is essential that we now ensure that children who are vulnerable or orphaned by AIDS are a priority when this funding is used,'' said Robert Zachritz, senior policy advisor for global development at World Vision U.S. and a co-author of the paper. "World leaders must work together to fight global poverty and disease."

World Vision's new policy briefing urges an increase in funding to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment and care with regard to AIDS, a strengthening of health systems and the establishment of a permanent G8 Working Group on AIDS.

Copies of the paper are available at:$file/G8_paper_07.pdf?open&lid=paper&lpos=main

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