Former UN AIDS Envoy Slams G-8 As Morally Bankrupt
Posted by pozlife on June 12, 2007
by The Canadian Press
Posted: June 11, 2007 – 5:00 pm ET
(Vancouver, British Columbia) The former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa is accusing the G-8 of abandoning its commitments to health and social equality in Africa, suggesting its leaders are having trouble finding their moral compass.
The leaders of the world’s top industrialized nations have reneged on promises to have-not nations, particularly those in Africa, to help improve the health, social and equality conditions in those countries, said Canadian Stephen Lewis.
Last week, at a summit in Heiligendam, Germany, the G-8 leaders announced a US $60-billion commitment to fight disease in Africa, but Lewis said that funding did not come with a timeline.
Lewis said the leaders only committed the funds `over the coming years.’
“What in the world does that mean?” Lewis asked.
The G8 countries are spending $120 billion annually to deal with conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they can’t find half that amount to deal with HIV/AIDS, Lewis said.
“What has happened to the moral anchor of this world?,” he asked.
The G-8 announcement also angered rock-star anti-poverty activists such as Bono and Bob Geldof.
Bono said Canada was among the nations blocking aid for Africa.
He described Prime Minister Stephen Harper as out of step with Canadians who enjoy a prosperous economy and surplus public finances and would like to help others.
Harper countered by saying that when it comes to aid money “the full framework of accountability” is very important.
He also hailed the G8 agreement for also declaring that the bulk of countries receiving aid should meet the standards of good governance, accountability and democracy.
Lewis also told the conference that the G-8 is deficient in dealing with gender equality, an issue he said drives pandemics in Africa.
”It is the abiding nightmare of the pandemic,” Lewis said. “There is terrifying specter of carnage among the women.”
He said the single most important struggle on the planet is the struggle for gender equality.
“You cannot continue to marginalize 50 per cent of the population of the planet and expect to realize modicum of justice.”
Lewis made the comments to the International Health Promotion Educators conference in Vancouver.
More than 3,000 people are attending the conference, which is held every three years to review and critically assess health promotion’s progress and chart courses to deal with health issues.
“Whether it’s obesity, diabetes or HIV/AIDS, health promotion allows us to respond to today’s major health issues and prepare for future challenges,” said conference chair Dr. Marcia Hills.
”Health promotion focuses on creating sustainable health systems and empowering individuals and communities to take control of their own well-being,” she said.
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