May 30, 2014 5:40 pm

World leaders praise Harper for mom and child health efforts

WATCH: Prime Minister Stephen Harper took some by surprise when he said he can’t understand why some parents don’t get their children vaccinated. He said they should listen to scientists, something his critics wish he’d do himself more often. Shirlee Engel reports.

TORONTO – The secretary general of the United Nations is calling on Canada to boost its overall foreign aid budget to meet an ambitious international target.

Ban Ki-moon urged Canada and all G7 countries to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on overseas development spending, significantly more than the 0.3 per cent threshold Canada currently meets.

READ MORE: Harper pledges additional $3.5B to maternal, child health initiative

Ban called for the increased spending while standing alongside Harper at the final press conference wrapping up a three-day international child and maternal health summit in Toronto.

WATCH: Harper announces $3.5 billion in funding for child and maternal health

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Harper says Canada targets its foreign aid spending at programs that produce results.

On Thursday, the prime minister committed $3.5 billion in additional spending on child and maternal health over the next five years.

READ MORE: What’s changed for moms and babies since the $2.8B Muskoka Initiative?

Ban says he is grateful for that contribution, and for Canada’s continuing support in humanitarian crises such as the civil war in Syria.

But he says he nonetheless believes it is within Canada’s grasp to match the spending threshold.

“This overall agreed target should be met,” Ban said. “I sincerely hope that the countries of the OECD and particularly G7 should lead by example.”

WATCH: Ban Ki-moon praises Canada’s commitment to maternal health

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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