Friday, March 19, 2010

Take your place... At the Table


Toronto, ONTARIO – A new global campaign, “AT THE TABLE”, wants the voices of the world’s poorest people to be heard when G8 and G20 leaders sit down to make decisions affecting the lives of everyone on this planet.

“AT THE TABLE” launched on March 8, International Women’s Day, in the building where G20 leaders will gather June 26-27. The campaign, backed by a coalition of major Canadian NGOs, labour, student and faith-based groups, calls for bold action to ensure that poverty eradication, climate change and economic reform are high on the agendas of both the G8 and G20 agendas.

Stephen Lewis, a noted international development and HIV and AIDS advocate, called on Summit leaders to live up to their UN Millennium Goals and the promise to halve poverty by 2015. “This is an historic moment for Canada. We are in a position to lead the world in resolving one of the great moral issues of our time.”

Two members of Oxfam’s “W8”, eight high-powered women from the Global South, spoke at the Metro Convention Centre launch. Dorothy Ngoma is President of Malawi’s nurses union and Sandhya Venkateswaran represents the “Don’t Break Your Promises” coalition in India. Women are 70% of the world’s poorest people and W8 leaders are asking global leaders to invest in women and children, as it is a proven way of lifting communities out of poverty.

“The decision to cap Canada’s foreign aid budget is a disastrous setback for those most affected by the economic crisis and climate change.” said Dennis Howlett of MAKE POVERTY HISTORY. “It’s even more urgent now that our voices be heard at the Summit tables.

“We've said we'll give money to the poorest countries to adapt, and we've said we'll phase out subsidies to big oil,” said Tzeporah Berman Executive Director of climate action NGO PowerUP Canada. “Instead we are one of the top ten polluters in the world and are falling behind in the race to create clean energy. As host to the world, Canada has an unavoidable responsibility to stop dodging our commitments and lead.”

Prime Minister Harper and the G8 Summit leaders were present at the launch in the unique form of “Flat Leaders” — downloadable portable images that can be taken to events and “talked to”. AT THE TABLE invites Canadians to join the conversation with the G8/G20 leaders by holding public dinners, roundtables, and online events and posting pictures of their “Flat Leader” at the events. Global partners throughout Africa and all 20 Summit countries will hold similar activities. The campaign will culminate in a Global AT THE TABLE Day of Action in June

Visit the At the Table website here.

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