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.
A special Eurobarometer report on development aid and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), published today by the European Commission, reveals that 9 out of 10 Europeans express steadfast support for overseas aid despite the economic recession in Europe.
The survey, which takes into account the opinion of 26,500 citizens from all 27 EU member states, comes out a week before world leaders meet in New York to review progress towards this set of eight UN goals aimed at drastically reducing poverty and hunger worldwide by 2015.
Emma Seery, who will be leading the Oxfam team at the UN MDG summit next week, said:
"This new survey highlights that despite economic difficulties at home, Europeans continue to believe their leaders must live up to their promises to the world's poorest people. That's particularly telling for countries such as Italy, France and Germany which are amongst the worst aid offenders."
"Next week's UN summit is the moment when our leaders must respond to these demands from their citizens by adopting an ambitious action plan that ensures all people are lifted from poverty in our lifetime. It is alarming that the current draft declaration is so thin on commitments to action to get the MDGs back on track. Leaders must do much better when they meet in New York next week."
"A very concrete proposal EU leaders should bring to the table next week is raising money for development and climate change from new sources, such a tax on financial transactions, which could mobilize hundreds of billions of euros at no cost for the tax payer."
"If the poverty goals are not put back on course, a missed target in 2015 will be the greatest failure in history."
Coinciding with the release of new hunger figures by the UN's Food and Agriculture Committee (FAO) tomorrow (14 September), Oxfam is launching a new report "Halving World Hunger: Still Possible?", setting out what needs to be done to rescue MDG1 – the goal to halve world poverty and hunger by 2015 – and all the eight poverty goals.
Read the report: Halving World Hunger: Still Possible? (available from 14 September)
Notes to editors
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. It could pay for HIV treatment for 500,000 people, could 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.
The Eurobarometer report is available at the European Commission: Europeans, development aid and the Millennium Development Goals
For further information and to get an advance copy of the new Oxfam report "Halving World Hunger: Still Possible?", please contact:
Angela Corbalan on + 32 473 56 22 60 or email@example.com