Oxfam Urges Canada to Increase Commitment
Oxfam Canada warned that leadership takes money, and called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to dramatically increase Canada’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
"Mr. Harper isn’t here and Canadians are questioning where this government stands. Like most Canadians, we are looking to him to make a major commitment this week," said Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada.
Oxfam expressed concern that Canada’s performance on the AIDS front has fallen since last year, according to the report card on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis recently released by U.S. researchers. The main reason for the change was Canada’s stagnant funding commitments.
"The AIDS conference is highlighting the exciting, innovative work being done in communities around the globe. A significant increase in funding will make it possible to reach many more people," Fox said. "Canada can save thousands of lives."
Oxfam said the key steps for Canada are outlined in the platform of the Global Treatment Access Group coalition, of which Oxfam is a member, including:
- Pay our fair share of the cost of global prevention and treatment;
- Invest in the public health systems of developing countries;
- Cancel the debts of developing countries to free up resources; and
- Follow through on commitments to make medicines affordable.
At the G8 in St. Petersburg, Canada announced it would spend $45 million per year for the next ten years to support health systems in developing countries. Fox said the ten-year commitment was welcome, but it represents a continuation of current levels of spending, not the dramatic increase needed.
Notes to editors:
Canada’s fair share includes:
- Doubling support for research into microbicides and vaccines
- Covering 5% of the needs identified to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, which would require an additional $100 million from Canada this year
- Announcing a timetable to reach 0.7% of GNI in development assistance.