Harper presses G8 leaders to fulfill maternal health pledges

Europe's sovereign debt crisis casts a pall over aid commitments

Europe’s financial crisis is hindering Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s efforts to secure funds for the G8’s maternal health initiative. At last year’s G8 summit in Muskoka, Harper secured pledges of $5 billion in aid from leaders that would go towards maternal and child health in the developing world. Canada pledged $1.1 billion between 2010 and 2015, while the U.K. pledged the most with $3.4 billion. But France and Germany have only managed pledges of a few hundred million euros, while Italy and Russia have committed only $75 million each. A report by a United Nations commission released last week revealed that “of the eight Millennium Development Goals, the two specifically concerned with improving the health of women and children are the furthest from being achieved by 2015.” EU leaders are hinting that bringing the eurozone economies out of sovereign debt crisis trumps aid commitments on the list of G8 priorities.

The Globe and Mail

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