Prime Minister Stephen Harper has travelled to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, where world leaders will brainstorm the best way to combat the current financial challenges facing the global economy.

Harper will spend the next day and a half in Davos, where he will mingle with business executives, other world leaders and academics at the annual agenda-setting conference.

While the forum will see leaders debate a number of topics — including disaster aid in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti — the focus clearly remains on the global economy, at a time when employment remains high and governments are becoming less inclined to bail out troubled banks and industries.

In a statement released Tuesday, Harper said his government will stick to its stimulus plan and will continue to fight forms of trade protectionism, as it previously committed to doing.

On Thursday, the prime minister will address the forum and reveal his agendas for the upcoming G8 conference in Huntsville, Ont., and the G20 conference in Toronto.

In his Tuesday statement, Harper said he will push to improve the health of women and children at the G8 summit — a cause he believes is of increased importance in the aftermath of the global recession.

Citing statistics that suggest a half-million women die during pregnancy or childbirth each year, Harper said there is a “pressing need” for action, especially when such mortality can be avoided through better nutrition and medical treatment.

“This is simply not acceptable. The United Nations had hoped to reduce the number of deaths related to pregnancy by 75 per cent by 2015 as part of its Millennium Development Goals. It now appears this target will go unfulfilled,” Harper said.

“What makes it worse is that the bulk of the deaths during pregnancy — experts claim as many as 80 per cent — are easily preventable. There is a pressing need for global action on maternal and child health.”

As for the G20 summit, Harper plans to highlight the need for member countries to reform their banking systems in harmony and to continue with stimulus until worldwide labour markets have fully recovered from the global financial crisis.

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