July 7, 2007 is the halfway mark in a push to drastically reduce poverty in the global south by 2015. The midpoint in this campaign highlights the need for rich countries – including Canada - to scale up support for universally available public services.
Canada’s track record is a disgrace. Our country isn’t meeting its commitments to help end global poverty, despite being one of the richest nations on earth. CUPE, Oxfam Canada and Oxfam Québec are campaigning to press the federal government to increase aid that focuses on human rights and ending poverty through strong public services, not privatization.
In 2000, 189 governments signed the Millennium Declaration and pledged to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce poverty by 2015.
Meeting these goals will improve the lives of millions of people, and go a long way to reducing inequality and poverty. Public services – safe drinking water, sanitation systems, health care and education - are the anti-poverty tools that will make these goals achievable.
More than 20 million public sector workers around the globe are part of the campaign to make poverty history, through Public Services International. PSI’s campaign argues that fighting poverty takes public investment, a strong public sector and a well-trained and well-valued workforce. CUPE is a PSI member.
To mark 07.07.07, PSI is highlighting the need for access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation systems in the global south by releasing a new publication, Water as a public service.
PSI is calling for renewed pressure on international financial institutions like the World Bank, which promote privatization by attaching conditions to loans. PSI is also asking affiliates to identify public water operators who could help establish partnerships to support public operators in developing countries.
CUPE supports public-public partnerships to promote knowledge and information sharing between public water operators around the world, and has signed an open letter endorsing a United Nations project that connects public water operators to share expertise and build capacity. The project is one way of improving access for the one billion plus people in the developing world who do not have reliable access to safe drinking water.
In St. John’s, Oxfam, CUPE and other activists are using a July 7th hospital bed race to draw attention to Canada’s underperformance. They’re using the occasion to gather signatures on a petition and postcards calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to deliver more aid in support of public services in the developing world.
Stay tuned to cupe.ca for campaign updates.