Friday, January 20, 2006

The People Speak 2005 Posted by Picasa

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Debate And Development Resource Centers- Nigeria said...


The people speak event brought together political analyst, students, youth workers, and civil society organization in Nigeria. The event was happy to involve people like Dr. O.K Nwoko, a lawyer and politician, Mr. Ozowuba a civil society expert and human right activist, Mrs. Mode Ugwoegbu, a woman politician who used to be a policy debate leader during her years in the University of Lagos and many more important dignitaries. The event was moderated by Inyang Bassey. The event started with the introduction by the National Coordinator of Nigeria Debate Movement, Mr. Jerry Nwigwe. He introduced the panelist and the moderator one after the other and later informed the participants that the people speak event is an event used for marking the united nation 60th anniversary which had taking place in other countries of the world. He emphasized that Nigeria being the center point of UN-US relationship to Africa stands in a better position to deliberate on issues affecting the continent and the world body towards achieving the MDGs’ and making Africa and the World Better for all Mankind. He encouraged all to have fun and experience an open/ sincere discussion on the issues that will be handled by this event.
The Moderator introduced the Theme: Building a Safer World; UN-US Relationship. And the topic chosen happens to be Poverty, Hunger and Health which is very important to Africans. He emphasized that combating poverty will not only save millions of lives but also strengthened the capacity of nations to combat terrorism, organized crime and proliferation of WMD’s. He later quoted Nelson Mandela by saying” Poverty is man made and it can be overcome”
The panelist acknowledged different initiatives been embarked upon by United Nations, United States, and Britain, such as MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOAL’s, AFRICAN GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY ACT, and COMMISSION FOR AFRICA. And they also expressed their points according to the questions given to them.
In conclusion, all agreed that the Developed countries have not done enough through the UN to combat poverty, hunger and diseases in poor countries especially in Africa. The commitment shown over the years has not been enough. The leaders said they wanted to make AID more effective at eradicating poverty, but when it came to specific commitment their political will is always lacking. They said they wanted to untie aid (that is buying their own good and services rather than being spent in developing countries) but didn’t firmly commit doing so.

Critically they failed to even address the issue of damaging economic policies being imposed on developing countries as condition on AID and debt relief. The western leaders made no progress in making the World Bank and IMF more democratic and therefore more responsive to the needs of the world’s poor and marginalized people. Developed and Powerful countries like United State should increase investment and development assistance to Africa. ‘When you invest in people by increasing their access to basic education and health care systems, you’re helping to provide the resources they need to help their lives.’
It is also agreed that Debt forgiveness/ cancellation should be implemented without damaging strings attached. Developing countries need funds to invest in health care, education and eradicate poverty instead of having to keep paying interest on old loans that were made to prop up yesterday’s dictators. The participant encouraged the United States and the UN to work closely together so that Developed nations don’t give with one hand and take away with other. Nigeria recent $18 Billion Debt cancellation by Paris Club was used as an example.

On Trade, the G8 have called for an end to export subsidies though they failed to set a date for this, but at the UN Summit, leaders made no such promise. This is a bitter disappointment to millions of farmers in Africa who thought that the end to the huge subsidies enjoyed by the rich farmers at the expense of the world’s poor has come.

The participants urged the UN and the US to work hard in providing a level playing field for fair Trade and also to do more in mobilizing the worlds’ leaders to draw up a realistic time table for implementation so that a reasonable time will be put in place.
On health, it was agreed that US should do more by investing more funds in the Global fund through the UN. They should also re-focus their attention and commitment on health care improvement in developing countries. Because of America’s concentration on terrorism, the have lost track on its normal contribution to the relief of human suffering. US has to inspire other nations (that is leading by example) to do more for developing nations.
Investment in Health systems are incredible effective and have an impact on many aspects of people lives. Healthy children are more likely to go to school and more able to learn. Healthy, educated adults are better able to get jobs, start businesses and care for their families. People who have jobs and hope for the future have a stake in the stability of their societies.

When Developed countries invest in programs and policies, it can help countries become more stable and meet their peoples need thereby making the world to be safer and more secure for all of us.