First, allow me to introduce our distinguished guest begining with our host the Honourable Beverley J Oda, Minister of International Co-operation Canada
I would like to tell you that with the participation of not only my colleagues, but also the participation of leading international experts from worldwide agencies and the United Nations, our discussions were substantive and very productive. We covered as you know very important issues that are facing us all in a very challenging world that is experiencing many many difficulties, but we are determined that our work, working together, working in a coordinated fashion, we will accomplish our goals and make a real difference in the lives of those in developing countries.
In January, noting the little progress that had been achieved in reducing and — in reducing the death of mothers and children and improving their health, the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, announced that Canada would be making healthy mothers, healthy children and reducing their mortality the top development priority at the June G8 leaders' summit. As G8 countries, we discussed how we can work together better to ensure that proven, well-established and cost-effective interventions are brought to a larger scale to reach more mothers and children. This calls for new commitments that will be fulfilled.
But this is only part of the story. We have agreed on a set of principles that will leave and — sorry, we have agreed on a set of principles that will guide our work and the scope of action that leads our ability and the needed flexibility for each country so that they can — our delegates here can advise their leaders on how to build their basket of initiatives to support Canada's focus on mothers and children. These interventions require an integrated harmonized approach that brings together donors in such a way that it reinforces local systems and the donor — or the partner country's capacity to deliver those services.
The honorable Touré, minister of Health for Mali, joined us to paint a picture of the successes and challenges related to maternal and child mortality in his country. He gave us reasons to be optimistic, noting that many improvements to maternal and child health in Mali were because his government was committed to doing something about it. We agreed that our efforts would need to include nutrition, disease prevention, and that all of our actions should cover the full continuum of care from pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, delivery and early childhood.
The meeting has also served to advance other key G8 development priorities including food security. We have noted the success that G8 countries and other partners have made since l'Aquila in Italy last year. The work that has been done is outstanding and we today discussed how we can work further to continue maintaining our focus and our attention to the important issue of food security. All of us were resolute in our commitment to maintaining our momentum and recognizing that nutrition is a key part of food security and also a major major underlying factor which will improve the health of mothers and children.
Prime Minister Harper has regularly noted the importance of accountability and ensuring aid effectiveness. To that end, we have committed to being more accountable in reporting donor funding and also in identifying the importance of key indicators so that we can measure our work and outcomes that we are achieving. Finally, delegates have underscored the importance and the significance of the millennium development goals, as a globally agreed upon framework for monitoring progress and fostering mutual accountability. It was agreed that a G8 effort to improve the health of mothers, newborns and young children in developing countries would go a long way to achieving not only just two millennium development goals, but was identified how they will cross to other millennium development goals and how they influence our achieving progress in those goals.
We also noted the importance of paying attention to women and girls and help that issue cross as many of our MDGs. We note also the special attention and focus that will have to be brought to Sub-Saharan Africa and into South Asia. We have underscored two important priority points. First, we need to accelerate programs on MDGs, particularly 4 and 5, but others that have seen uneven progress. Poverty reduction is our ultimate outcome.
The G8 has the means to supporting developing countries in their efforts to support Canada's objective and major initiatives, to have healthier mothers and healthier children and we know that we have cost-effective tools at our access. We know which ones can have immediate impact and we are committed to standing behind those actions, always working within the set of principles we have agreed to.
Today, with my colleagues from the G8 countries, we have a solidarity of spirit, a true joint commitment and the equivocal will to accomplish what we set out. I look forward — I look forward as my colleagues do to reflect and to pass on our discussions that we have had here in Halifax for the past two days to our leaders. Of course, I look forward to passing on our report to Canada's prime minister and I invite you to review the summary of our discussions which will be available online shortly. I also will share the conclusions of our work at the upcoming Africa partnership forum which meets in Toronto this week to discuss important development issues for Africa, including the health of mothers and children.
So in conclusion, may I again thank my colleagues for being so cooperative, for being so substantive, for being so informed but more — more importantly, for the solidarity that they have expressed in supporting Canada's initiatives at its G8 in Muskoka to improve the health and lives of mothers and children and to reduce their mortality and morbidity. We also again, will say it is really rewarding to me to see the commitment to true accountability, the willingness to measure ourselves and to really keep our eye on getting the outcomes we are all aspiring to achieve. Thank you for your attention.