Aids, Education and
With the number of deaths from AIDS continuing to rise in sub-Saharan Africa and
4.3 million people becoming newly infected (across developing countries) in 2006, the MDG to combat HIV/AIDS will not be met. Delegates believed that the UK government should continue to push for increased international finance for HIV/AIDS
(finance to contribute to prevention programmes, antiretroviral drugs, medical care and care of orphans). We welcome the government’s current commitment to spend£1.5 billion on HIV/AIDS between 2005-2008 and hope that this pledge is fulfilled.
Delegates were also concerned that antiretroviral drugs remained unaffordable
to many poor people in developing countries; only 28% of those living with HIV in poor countries were receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2006. We ask that the UK government build on its success at the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, by ensuring that procedures are put in place to achieve the targets set at Gleneagles (e.g. universal access to treatment for all those who need it by 2010), and continuing to ensure that HIV/AIDS remains a priority for the G8.
Education of girls and women benefits society as a whole, socially and economically; educated women usually have fewer and healthier children than uneducated women and they tend to have children who also attend school, these factors combined are more likely to break the cycle of poverty. The target of gender empowerment is central to achieving all of the other MDGs as gender equality is an essential requirement in tackling poverty, disease and hunger; this goal entails creating equality at all levels and areas of life including education, employment and public and political life.
Delegates believed that the UK government has to act as a champion for
women’s representation at all levels of decision-making within developing countries. Gender inequality should be targeted as a matter of course in all aspects of the implementation of the
MDGs; interventions and development packages should include the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights, equal access to economic assets such as land and housing, increased access to education (primary, secondary and further education), equal opportunities in the labour market, freedom from violence and increased representation at all levels of governance.
However, the target to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005 was not achieved in many regions (particularly the Arab States, South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa), and the subsequent 2015 target (for all levels of education) is currently unlikely to be achieved. We welcome the UK government’s commitment to gender equality in its development
initiatives; however more needs to be done to meet the MDG on gender, particularly as achieving this goal is central to meeting all of the other goals.