April 28, 2010 11:43 ET

G8 Development Ministers Strongly Commit to Save the Lives of Mothers and Children in Developing Countries

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - April 28, 2010) - The G8 Development Ministers Meeting concluded today with a consensus to press forward on some of the world's most urgent development priorities, including a Canadian-led G8 initiative to save the lives of millions of mothers and children under the age of five.

"I am proud that Canada's G8 Development Ministers meeting here in Canada has been so successful," said Minister Bev Oda. "All G8 members lauded Canada's initiative to champion healthier mothers, healthier babies and to reduce maternal and child mortality. With agreement on a set of principles to guide the leaders of G8 countries, my colleagues all believe that progress will be made to reduce the number of deaths and to keep mothers and children healthy. We agreed that our interventions must be integrated across the continuum of care, including pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth and early childhood.

"Each of us will now advise our leaders that the most effective approach to improving maternal and under-five child health is to focus on strengthening developing country health systems through initiatives that include skilled birth attendants, family planning, immunization and improved nutrition. We also agreed to take steps to increase the effectiveness and accountability of our international aid so that it will have maximum impact and achieve long-term sustainable results."

"We recognize that G8 countries, other donor countries and private foundations have the means to support developing countries to reduce maternal and child mortality. We have the tools and identified, high impact, cost-effective approaches as well as the determination to work together to achieve the kind of progress our tax payers expect of their international assistance," added Minister Oda.

G8 Development Ministers and senior officials met in Halifax April 26 to 28 to advance key development issues ahead of the G8 Leaders Summit in Muskoka in June. In January, Prime Minister Stephen Harper noted that little progress had been achieved in reducing maternal and child mortality and said that Canada would make it the top development priority at the June Summit.

Ministers and officials responsible for international development agreed that in order to be effective, a harmonized and coordinated effort at the local, national and global levels was needed to improve the health of mothers and children under the age of five. They emphasized the need to centre on country plans and an integrated-approach to health systems. Discussion amongst G8 countries will continue on this initiative in the
 lead up to the Muskoka Summit.

The overriding themes of the meeting will soon be available in further detail in the Chair's Summary on the G8 site available at

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Jessica Fletcher
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office