Financing a world fit for Children care

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Financing a world fit for Children care

Financing a world fit for Children care

Gordon Brown

British Chancellor of the Exchequer

We must fulfill our commitment to make substantial improvements in market access; reduce domestic support that distorts trade; and negotiate reductions I all forms of export subsidies with a view to phasing them out. Subsidies to agriculture run at $ 1 billion dollars a day six times development assistance and the UK is committed to push for significant reform of the EU,s Common Agriculture Policy to allow developing countries to take full advantage of domestic and international market opportunities.

But we must not rush developing countries to reduce their tariffs without recognizing the effect it could have on both government revenues and on the livelihoods of people working on the land. We need a sequenced approach which ensures that appropriate measures are in place to protect vulnerable countries from an overly rapid transition to a system of liberalized trade. Hence the IMF and World Bank Commitment to undertake Poverty and Social Impact Assessments of our performs. And at the spring meetings in Washington we asked to see more systematic approach to these assessments and for the IMF and World Bank to report back on progress in the autumn. Trade liberalization must also be coupled with pro-stability, anti corruption policies in the developing countries them selves policies designed to boots agricultural production, encourage economic diversification, tackle poverty and promote sustainable development, thereby reducing the risk of hunger and food crises for the poor.

Education : Our second priority area is education. Children are 40 percent of the people but 100 per cent of our future. And we know that a child can develop his or her potential only it there is educational opportunity.

For many children from poor households , primary education is the one chance they will have to acquire basic literacy, numeracy and the essential life skills to enhance their chances of a sustainable livelihood.

I think of the five year old for whom schooling can give opportunities they would never otherwise have both in learning and in life a chance that will transform their own lives immediately and lift the life of their nations for the next half century and beyond.

Education is the very best anti poverty strategy, the best economic development programme. There is simply no better means to employer the powerless, ad to put their future directly in their hands.

But progress since the World Education Forum in Dakar two years ago has been unacceptably slow. Almost half of all African children and one quarter of those in south and West Asia still do not go to school and the recent world Bank report set out the need for urgent action with a total of 88 countries in danger of missing the goal of primary education for all by 2015,34 of these are in Sub Saharan Africa.

The current level of international support for education is inadequate with less than 5 per cent of total Overseas Development Aid going to basic education. And it is estimated that to finance universal primary education 47 countries just over half half of those failing progress will require a minimum of $ 2.5 billion more per year from donor countries, on top substantially increased domestic efforts.

This world Bank initiative marks a major breakthrough the first focused financing framework to ensure that no country genuinely committed to economic development, poverty reduction and good governance is denied the Chance to achieve universal primary education through lack of resources.

It is a new deal for developing countries who must play their part by drawing up their own education plans, undertaking the necessary reforms, chanelling resources to education through their poverty Reduction Strategies, abolishing users fees and ensuring that children don’t just start school but actually finish their education.

And in return, the international community must increase substantially its financial contribution for education in the poor countries,. Focusing on those nations with very low rates of primary school completion where there is an assurance that the additional resources that the additional resources will have the maximum impact.

We welcome the recent announcement by the Nether lands that they are investing $ 120 million in strengthening the effort to reach education for all. Germany and Canada have also pledged their support. And, under the leadership of Clare Short, Britain will play its part, building on the $650 million we have already committed to achieving universal primary education since 1997. The problems in Africa are of particular concern and the joint initiatives between African leaders and the G8 under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development will be crucial.

Our purpose, Nelson Mandela has said, is to get specific commitments and specific results, And so, in advance of the G8 summit in Canada next month, urge all developed countries to pledge their support for the World Bank initiative so we can move forward in the certainly that funds will be provided as, country by country, detailed plans are developed.

Too often, the world has set goals like the Millennium Development Goals and failed to meet them.

Too often, we have set targets, reset them, and recalibrated them again so that our ambitions, in the end, only measure our lack of achievement. This time, it can be and must be different. This time, we must be different. This time, we must together commit ourselves to a specific course of action, and then eash of us as partners must be prepared to make the radical changes required so we can see education truly become the birthright of every child.

Health: We must also move forward with as much speed and purpose on the issue of health. We well know the human and economic cost of infectious disease I developing countries. In south Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, half of all 15 year olds are expected to die of AIDS and diseases like malaria ad tuberculosis kill million of children a year. These are dread diseases, but perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that we know the and the loss of so many young lives are preventable:

As many as half of all malaria deaths could be prevented if people had access to diagnosis and drugs that cost no more than cents.

A quarter of all child deaths could be prevented if children slept beneath $4 bed nets in Africa only one per cent of children do; and improving and expanding immunization could save a further two million live each year.

Where these strategies have been implemented, they have brought results. The latest UN figures show that however limited their resources, poor countries that make treatment and prevention a priority can stem the  spread  of HIV and AIDS as Uganda, Thailand and Senegal have, and cut TB deaths by 50 per cent, as China, India and Peru have.

So, there is more that developing countries can do to reduce disease and despair, particularly amongst their children; yet there is a natural limit imposed by their ailing economies. The countries that that most urgently need to devote more resources to health care are the countries that spend the least on health care. Health spending in the least developed countries is $13 per person a fraction of the $2000 a head we spend on health care in developed countries.

That is why under Kofi Anans leadership and with, I am pleased to say, Clare short’s International Development Department playing an important advisory role we have set up the global Health Fund which has so far raised $ 1.9 billion for bulk purchase of medicines by developing countries. And why the UK has created new tax incentives to accelerate the research both in Britain an elsewhere on diseases like AIDS, TB and Malaria.

This must be matched by a commitment from Pharmaceutical companies to create new drugs and vaccines in ways that truly help the poor and sick and again I call on them to step up to their responsibility, to recognize the scale of the challenge we face and to respond on an equal scale. But if the millennium development Goals are to be met, action on health must be at the very core of the priorities, budgets and Poverty Reduction Strategies of developing countries themselves. So, just as the World Bank has set out an action plan for education, we call on them to work with the world Health Organization to develop a plan for health to identify the financing gaps and set out the action now need to ensure that no country committed to improving the health of its people, particularly its Children, is prevented from doing so because of a lack of funds.

Debt relief and financing for development: If we are to archive our goals of improved education and better health, we must build a virtuous circle of debt relief, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

As we have seen with Uganda where pupil teacher ratios as a result of debt relief will fall from 100 to 1 to 50 to 1 and every child at school will have a roof above their head faster and deeper debt relief, accompanied by aid focused on poverty reduction, will be the essential foundation for meeting the 2015 Targets.

The HIPC process is lifting the burden on unplayable debt from 26 of the most highly indebted countries cancelling $ 62 billion in debt from countries that have clearly demon started their commitment to poverty reduction.


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