The G20 has been slammed by aid agencies for failing to deliver concrete and specific commitments to counter the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
In a statement issued at their Brisbane gathering on Saturday, world leaders voiced deep concern about the worst ever outbreak of Ebola, which has so far killed more than 5000 people in West Africa.
The Group of 20 was committed to doing what was necessary to ensure international efforts “extinguish” the deadly virus, using bilateral, regional and multilateral channels, and in partnership with aid groups.
“This outbreak illustrates the urgency of addressing longer-term systemic issues and gaps in capability, preparedness and response capacity that expose the global economy to the impacts of infectious disease,” the statement said.
But the statement, which said G20 nations would seek to expedite the disbursement of funds and other assistance to counter the virus’ spread, lacked detail and was criticised by the aid agency, Oxfam.
The aid group says despite its recognition of the short and long term consequences of Ebola, the lack of urgency and specific commitments means there’s a real risk the UN target of 70 per cent of cases being treated by next month will not be met.
“This statement from the G20 leaders builds an extraordinarily strong case for action, but fails to deliver on the commitment required to make it happen,” Oxfam chief Dr Helen Szoke said.
Save the Children said it was dismayed the leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations meeting in Brisbane didn’t commit new funds and resources in the fight against Ebola.
“While G20 is to be commended for bringing attention to the fight against Ebola at the world leader’s summit in Brisbane, the statement was strong on rhetoric but silent on any new action or funding to tackle the crisis,” Save the Children director of policy Mat Tinkler said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier called for a mass mobilisation of resources in terms of financial, logistics and treatment.
“At this time, I would like to again urge world leaders, particularly in the neighbouring countries, but not necessarily neighbouring countries, other countries to support the health workers, doctors and nurses, volunteers and NGO supporters,” he said.
Earlier, US President Barack Obama also challenged nations to do more on Ebola.
“We cannot build a mote around our countries and we shouldn’t try,” he said in a speech at the University of Queensland.