As G8 development ministers fly out of Halifax, they're leaving without making any specific financial commitments for child and maternal health.
“We have agreed on a set of principles that will guide our work and a scope of actions that leave the needed flexibility for each country so that our delegates here can advise their leaders on how to build their basket of initiatives to support Canada's focus on mothers and children,” said Bev Oda, Canada's international cooperation minister.
The delegations agreed their efforts must include nutrition and disease prevention, Oda said. They've also agreed to be more accountable in reporting donor funding and finding more benchmarks to measure effectiveness.
“Delegates have underscored the importance and the significance of the Millennium Development Goals,” she added, pointing to the United Nations targets to reduce global poverty that leaders agreed to in 2000.
Caroline Riseboro, spokeswoman for World Vision Canada, says the agreement to focus on maternal and child health and the emphasis on nutrition are good signs.
“We have been pushing for consensus around the child and maternal health initiative, and details and new money behind it. It looks like that will come, but just the fact that consensus has been reached and this initiative will continue to push forward is critical in saving the lives of 8.8 million children dying every year,” she said.
Aid groups had said they feared abortion would overtake the agenda. While it's hard to say what happened in the closed-door meetings, the topic certainly held the government's attention throughout the two and a half days of sessions.