A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Oxfam reaction: EU announcement of 1bn euros for MDGs
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, on behalf of the European Union, today proposed a package of 1 billion Euros [$1.3 billion] to support reaching the MDGs in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries most off track and most committed to meet their poverty targets. This money comes from the European Development Fund, but had not yet been spent.
Oxfam spokesperson Emma Seery said: "By pushing for 1 billion Euros of unused money to be spent on those most in need, the European Commission has made certain Europe doesn't come to this poverty Summit empty-handed.
“But apart from a handful of member states - such as the UK, Belgium and Sweden - which have stuck to their aid promises, there will be no gold stars here in New York. Although Europe is traditionally at the head of the donors’ pack, their commitment and action is still far from what’s needed to save the MDGs.
“To rescue their faltering credibility this week, all leaders are going to need to make personal commitments to meet their aid promises, agree a tax on financial transactions to raise money for combating poverty and climate change, and support poor countries to make health and education free.
"Then when MDG progress is next reviewed at the UN in 2013, world leaders can come back to New York and be proud to have done their utmost to meet the MDGs – which means supporting as many families as possible to send their children to school, see a doctor when they are sick, and put food on the table."
Notes to Editors
1. Official estimates for 2010 put total EU aid at 0.46% of national income, far short of the 0.56% target for 2010 agreed by member states back in 2005. This translates into around €19 billion aid shortfall this year, according to the European Commission. Oxfam has calculated this money could:
- save at least 3 million lives,
- pay for HIV treatment for 500,000 people,
- provide services for mothers and newborns that would save a further 2.5 million, and
- could pay for child health interventions that would save a further 600,000 lives
2. A special Eurobarometer report on development aid and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), published by the European Commission on 13 September, revealed that 9 out of 10 Europeans express steadfast support for overseas aid despite the economic recession in Europe.
In New York: Caroline Hooper-Box on +1 202 321 2967 or Caroline.Hooper-Box@oxfaminternational.org, @hooperbox