Press Release - Friday, July 19, 2002

NGOs respond to G8 Action Plan for Africa
NGOs are looking for commitments and follow-through in the following areas:
Bring NEPAD Home for Democratic Debate
Civil society organizations in Africa are calling for NEPAD to be brought back to Africa for consultation. As recommended by Canadian Parliamentarians, the G8's Africa Action plan should commit to opening the NEPAD framework to wider consultation and debate within African countries. The G8 plan should remain open to change and adjustment responding to additional input from African and G8 citizens.
Increase Foreign Aid and Focus it on the Poor
G8 leaders should be establishing a binding timetable to meet the 0.7% of GNP target, untie aid and better focus it on eradicating poverty through support to basic health, food production, education and women's rights. Significantly more ODA should be redirected to African civil society organizations in order to strengthen government accountability and democratization.
Meet Financial Commitments to the Global Health Fund
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria needs US $10 billion per year. To date, the Fund has received pledges of $2.1 US billion over three years. G8 leaders should commit to an immediate increase in their funding of the Global Fund. Canada should lead by example and commit at least $257 million CDN per year.
Cancel Debts
G8 countries should actively promote the full and unconditional cancellation of the debts of the poorest countries and de-link debt cancellation from structural adjustment conditions.
Make Trade Fair
It is vital that G8 countries commit to re-work international trade rules so that they address and reduce global inequities. G8 countries should extend duty free and quota free access to the exports of the Least Developed Countries. The G8 must support meaningful \special and differential treatment\ provisions for poor countries that respect their needs to develop local industrial and agricultural production capacity, access technology, and build public services. The G8 must also help democratize decision-making and consensus-building at the WTO and other trade fora.
Take Action against Hunger and Support Small Farmers
As famine takes its toll across Sub-Saharan Africa, the G8 must take swift action beyond needed emergency aid, to support long term initiatives that boost the productivity and health of the small farm sector in Africa and other developing countries. The G8 should make such commitments through ODA, food aid, and by supporting changes to international trade rules.
Ensure Access to Essential Medicines
Civil society organizations in Africa and globally and developing countries governments are demanding flexibility and changes to the WTO TRIPS agreement, as a key part of addressing public health crises on the continent. G-8 leaders must show leadership to ensure that WTO trade rules allow the export of low-cost generic medicines to developing countries for public health needs.
Commit to Education for All
G8 leaders should commit to $4 billion US per year through to 2015 to ensure that every child in the world has access to good, free primary education. This should be done in a coordinated manner as indicated in the Education for All Action Plan.
Transform International Financial Institutions and Tax Currency Speculators
Three G8 parliaments (Canada, France and Germany) have come out in favour of a currency speculation tax, but little concrete action has been taken. The G8 must support democratization of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to ensure effective participation of developing countries, and ensure full operational transparency and respect for human rights in their project lending and operations.
Corporate Accountability and Social Responsibility
G8 countries should legislate to ensure that G8-based private corporations and Export Credit Agencies adhere to the highest environmental, ethical and social standards when they invest abroad--especially in zones of conflict.
For further information:
Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Kristen Ostling, 613-222-2573 (cell)
Médecins sans frontières, Tommi Laulajainen, 416-528-8362 (cell)
Oxfam Canada, Mark Fried, 613-850-9723 (cell)
Njoki Njoroge Njehu, 50 Years is Enough, 202-746-4318 (cell)
Halifax Initiative, Pam Foster, 613-266-8100 (cell)
Neville Gabriel, Director, Justice and Peace, South African Catholic Bishops, contact Jack Panozzo,
Development and Peace, 403-667-0009 (cell), 416-922-1592 (tel)
M. P. Giyose, Jubilee South Africa, contact Salima Valiana, KAIROS, 416-875-8755 (cell)