• 15-AUG-2012

  • SOURCE: Rotary International

Rotary challenges world's governments to target polio

Rotary International aims to send a clear message to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly convening in September in New York: The world's governments must act swiftly and decisively if the crippling childhood disease polio is to finally be eradicated.

To that end, about 50 Rotary leaders from a dozen countries will meet Aug. 21-22 at the humanitarian group's world headquarters in Evanston, Ill., to devise strategies on how to persuade the international community to ante up the resources required to beat polio once and for all. Polio eradication has been Rotary's top priority since the 1980s.

The group will include Rotary leaders from Pakistan and Nigeria, two of the three countries where polio remains endemic (the third is Afghanistan). Participants will return to their homelands armed with the tools they need to advocate on behalf of polio eradication at all levels of government and society.

The focus then shifts to New York, where Rotary leaders will attend a UN General Assembly breakout session on Sept. 27, where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to issue a strong call-to-action urging UN member states to ramp up their support for polio eradication. Rotary will join a group of national leaders and other donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in what is expected to be a round of announcements on increased commitments.