For Immediate Release

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Europe Must Step Up to its Global Responsibility and Play Its Part in Rescuing the Millennium Development Goals

A group of powerful women from the front-line in the fight against poverty have appealed to European leaders to ensure health and education for all people by rescuing the Millennium Development Goals.

LONDON - Testifying at the European Parliament today, the ‘W8' - a group
brought together by Oxfam from Mali, Georgia, Thailand, Nicaragua, The
Philippines, Bangladesh, Malawi and India - backed Oxfam's call for
Europe to adopt a "rescue package" to get the MDGs back on track.

The MDGs,
signed by world leaders in 2000, commit to halving the number of people
living in extreme poverty by 2015. With development aid faltering, the
ability of poor countries to meet poverty goals is increasingly at risk.

Unmet commitments

In a report to the UN
general assembly this month, UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said progress on the MDGs was being stymied by
unmet commitments, inadequate resources and a lack of focus and
accountability. This comes in the wake of a warning by the European
Commission that Europe's international credibility was being undermined
by Member States' failure to stick to aid commitments; now €13 billion
($17.6 billion) short of 2010 targets.

Oxfam spokesperson Elise Ford said: "With the MDGs teetering on the
edge of failure, Europe can play a key role in rescuing the goals and at
the same time salvaging its own international reputation. Without a
European rescue package which includes a new credible plan to meet aid
commitments, citizens in the poorest countries won't get the most basic
education and health care, and European leaders will not be able to hold
their head high on the global stage."

Only five years left

Responding to the W8's call for an MDGs rescue plan, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said:
"With only five years to go, the need for concerted action to achieve
the MDGs is
becoming increasingly urgent. Last year's global economic crisis has
further aggravated the situation for billions of poor people around the
globe. It is both timely and necessary to remind leaders of the promises
they have made and the crucial necessity of their continuing

Leonor Magtolis Briones of Social Watch Philippines said:
"We have traveled to Brussels to appeal to European leaders not to
abandon their promises to support health and education in developing
countries. We see the desperate human cost of lack of basic services
first-hand. A dramatic focus of political will and ambition and concrete
actions plans are needed."

"If Europe agrees a strategy to achieve the MDGs, and world leaders
to back it at the UN MDGs Summit in New York
in September, 2010 could go down in history as the turning point in the
fight against poverty."

Read more

W8 - Eight extraordinary women, one unique voice

action: Join the Big Promise

Health and Education campaign

External links

Read the UN Secretary-General's report

are the Millennium Development Goals?


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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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