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A number of Oxfam's high profile ambassadors, including actors Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth and Kristin Davis, called on G8 leaders to urgently respond to global poverty challenges, starting with a boost in funds for climate change, the food crisis and development aid.
In an open letter to the G8 leaders made public today, renowned singers Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox, Emmanuel Jal, and Miguel Bose joined celebrated actors Bill Nighy (who is currently at the G8), Colin Firth, Djimon Hounsou, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kristin Davis, Minnie Driver, Rahul Bose, and Scarlett Johansson to call on the heads of state to raise their game on poverty, especially in the face of a worldwide food crisis. The G8 meets in Japan from 7-9 July for their annual summit, with the food crisis high on the agenda along with climate change, oil prices, inflation and the economy, and African development.
"Through our work with Oxfam, each of us has been involved in the ongoing fight to end extreme poverty. Whether in classrooms in India, orphanages in South Africa, camps in Chad, farms in Ethiopia or health clinics in Tanzania, many of us have witnessed at first hand that aid works; that ordinary people achieve remarkable things every day but also that there is a great deal more that needs to be done," the ambassadors stated in the joint letter.
Oxfam's ambassadors have seen the importance of development aid first hand after travelling around the world with the humanitarian organization. Bill Nighy travelled to Tanzania with Oxfam last year and is currently in Japan lobbying G8 leaders to put poverty issues at the top of the agenda. Last year, Scarlett Johansson travelled to India and Sri Lanka with Oxfam where she visited a school for girls, and survivors of the tsunami. Kristin Davis has recently returned from her second trip to South Africa with Oxfam, where she met with community organizations fighting against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"The Millennium Development Goals that were set out in 2000 were chosen because they were ambitious, but also because they were realistic and achievable," continued the letter. "The current delays in meeting these commitments are a disgrace."
The ambassadors issued a call to action to the heads of state, reminding them that it is the world's poor who are most vulnerable to increased food prices and the negative impacts of climate change.
"We look to you to address the global economic uncertainty, but you must also look beyond your own borders and not turn your backs on the world's poorest people," continued the letter. "Only then will you lead the way to a more prosperous and safer future for us all."