By Tim Saunders on
British actor Bill Nighy was in Canada this week for the G8 meeting, and took the opportunity to blog about his experience.
“I arrived at the G8 by a roundabout route,” the star wrote in the Huffington Post. "Just a day earlier, I was standing in Dandora, a toxic tip on the edge of Nairobi where little girls as young as five live on a mound composed of toxic and human waste. They survive by competing with wild pigs for scraps of rubbish, forced to sell their bodies to get access to the richest pickings.
“I was there to bear witness to the good work aid does before traveling to the Toronto summit as Oxfam's Global Ambassador. Comic Relief, a British charity, rescues children from this dump and gives them schooling in a safe, almost fairytale environment.
“At the G8, I have been lobbying for action, with TV and radio appearances to do what little I can to put pressure on leaders to live up to their aid promises first made in 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland. G8 governments are $20 billion short on those promises due this year. It takes $220 to rescue a girl from Dandora. Just think what a difference that could make in Africa and elsewhere.
“The summit did bring the promise of $7.3 billion to improve maternal and child health. Good news, you might think, when a shocking 1,000 women and girls every day die unnecessarily from complications in childbirth and an estimated $10 billion dollars a year is needed to solve the problem.
“The money will come over five years. The G8 has promised only $5 billion, the rest will come from a combination of other countries and the Gates Foundation. I find it incredible that with a promise of $1.5 billion over five years, Bill and Melinda Gates are providing almost a third of the total of the world’s richest economies."
Nighy goes on to write about the Robin Hood tax, a campaign to introduce a global tax on banks’ financial transactions to fight poverty.
“Now attention shifts to the G20, which has the opportunity to make good the G8’s broken promises. Leaders will discuss a simple but brilliant idea for a tax on banks and hedge funds — dubbed the Robin Hood Tax — that could raise $400 billion for good causes every year. Oxfam are pressing for half this money to help poor people hit hardest by the economic slump, hunger and climate change.”
To read Bill Nighy’s full blog, click here.
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