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CHOGM 2011: "Governments support Polio eradication drive"
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CHOGM 2011: "Governments support Polio eradication drive"

World leaders are in Perth on the west coast of Australia this week to take part in the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Steph Carter, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Queensland, reports on the announcement that millions of government dollars will be directed to eradicate the scourge of Polio in developing countries.

In what could be considered a refreshing display of core Commonwealth values, the Australian Government announced earlier today that they would provide new funding to help eradicate polio.

The announcement garnered a positive response from both government and civil society members alike. The next four years will see Australia contribute more than $50 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to help purchase vaccines, monitor outbreaks and respond in a timely and appropriate fashion.

Joining Prime Minister Gillard in the announcement were Prime Minister David Cameron from the United Kingdom, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper and Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousef Raza Gilani. Of the four countries where polio remains an epidemic, three of them are Commonwealth members, including Nigeria and Pakistan. Ms Gillard acknowledged the global progress made to reduce polio outbreaks and emphasized the need to ‘keep this action going’.

‘We know that this will yield real results.  At the end of the day vaccinating against polio happens through the very simple action of putting some vaccines into the mouth of a child. We can do that in our world and end polio forever’.

Prime Minister Cameron demonstrated his support for the Australian Government’s announcement.

‘What could be more of a moral imperative than stoping children from dying from diseases that we have in our power to prevent. And when we have the vaccines and the tools to save them, there can be no excuse to put this off until tomorrow’.

Civil society has also played an important role in efforts to eradicate poverty. Organisations such as the Gates Foundation, Rotary International and the Global Poverty Project have continued to advocate for increased vaccinations to eradicate polio.

Hugh Evans, former Young Australian of The Year and CEO of the Global Poverty Project (GPP), spoke to YourCommonwealth.org about his excitement at the recent announcement.

‘We’re delighted that the Australian Government has adopted our recommendation of $50 million towards polio eradication. I think it’s a real example of them putting their money where their mouth is’.

Post CHOGM, the End of Polio Campaign will concentrate its efforts on next month’s G20 meeting in France. Mr Evans said that GPP’s campaign approach to this summit is to ‘target affluent nations who have already committed’. He said that further investments need to be made by OECD countries if the $944 million per annum funding gap towards polio eradication is to be filled.

‘We will be encouraging G20 nations to adopt further announcements throughout the G20 period’.

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About me:

“I’m a student based in Brisbane, Australia. I am currently in my final year of undergraduate study at the University of Queensland, studying Development, Journalism and International Relations and will be commencing a Masters of International Studies in 2012.

“Aside from my study commitments, I lead a hectic life! I’m passionate about aid and development and am involved with World Vision Australia’s national youth movement ‘Vision Generation’. I also work part time in the travel industry (which might explain my love of travel) and when I have spare time, you can find me playing my piano.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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