April 27, 2010 11:03 ET

G8 Development Ministers in Halifax to Address Urgent Global Priorities

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - April 27, 2010) - G8 Development Ministers are meeting in Halifax with a commitment to address some of the world's most urgent priorities, including Canada's G8 effort to help save the lives of millions of mothers and children under the age of five.

"I welcome my G8 colleagues to beautiful Halifax for important discussions on food security, accountability, aid effectiveness, and especially maternal and child health,'' said Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, the Hon. Beverley J. Oda. ''We have the means and the tools to make a difference for vulnerable mothers, newborns and young children in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where most of their deaths occur. As progress is lagging in meeting this urgent need, now is the time to target our efforts and act. Another priority for Canada will be to update our collective work, as G8 countries, on food security commitments as well as ensure that our international aid efforts are effective and accountable."

The outcomes of this meeting will provide G8 Leaders with advice and guidance as a basis for further discussions at the Muskoka Summit at the end of June.

This meeting of G8 international development ministers will offer an opportunity to advance other key G8 development priorities. Food security was a major commitment agreed to at the 2009 G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy. Canada was one of the first G8 countries to lay out its plan for the additional $600 million over three years pledged to increase food security, and target agriculture, particularly for smallholder farmers and women.

"I hope that my G8 colleagues will follow Canada's leadership in recognizing the importance of nutrition in both our food security strategy and in our efforts for healthier mothers and infants," added Minister Oda.

At the upcoming G-8 Leaders' Summit Canada will champion an initiative to increase the number of healthy pregnancies, healthy mothers and healthy children. This involves a wide range of interventions across the continuum of care, including training and support for frontline health workers; better nutrition and provision of micronutrients; treatment and prevention of diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and sepsis; screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS; proper medication; family planning; immunization; clean water and sanitation.

The Government of Canada agrees with the definition of family planning, as agreed to by the World Health Organization, UN and G8 development agencies. This includes a woman's ability to space and limit her pregnancies, which has a direct impact on her health and well-being, as well as on the outcome of each pregnancy.

Within the scope of this G-8 initiative, countries will be able to identify their own priorities. Canada's contribution to maternal and child health may involve various interventions, including family planning, which includes the use of contraceptive methods. The details remain to be determined. However, Canada's contribution will not include funding abortion.

For further information on Canada and the G8, journalists are invited to visit, the CIDA website at: or the Government of Canada site:

Contact Information

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