End Poverty 2015 - Financial Times http://endpoverty2015.org/en/taxonomy/term/343/0 en Financial Times: UN body warns of damage to aid policy http://endpoverty2015.org/en/africa/news/un-body-warns-damage-aid-policy/28/nov/08 <p>Salil Shetty, director of the UN Millennium Campaign, told the Financial Times that developing nations are estimated to be facing losses of at least $300bn to their economies up to 2010 as a result of the economic slowdown and are particularly vulnerable to global shocks.</p> <p>The UN organisation will use a development conference in Doha, which opens on Saturday, to push wealthy nations to set up a $300bn bailout package for poor countries, he said. The conference is expected to be attended by numerous world leaders, including Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.</p> <p>&#8220;The consequences for poor countries are devastating because we are talking about far fewer people getting even basic education, water (and) lives being lost due to health systems not functioning, so it&#8217;s pretty lethal stuff,&#8221; Mr Shetty said. &#8220;It&#8217;s a very ironic situation where people who cannot afford to have bank accounts are now facing the consequences of something they didn&#8217;t have anything to do with.&#8221;<br /> Although poorer countries are not at the centre of the financial crisis, they will be severely impacted by sharp declines in trade and commodity prices, as well as reductions in remittances – a key source of foreign currency revenue for many countries. With meagre resources, they also lack the welfare state systems of their developed neighbours to help counter the effects of a global recession.</p> <p>Mr Shetty said rich nations needed to contribute an additional $140bn in aid annually up to 2010 to meet their existing commitments, which he described as &#8220;small change&#8221; compared to the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on the bailout of western financial systems. They are currently contributing between $100bn and $150bn annually, he said, but that is below commitments made at the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles in 2005.</p> <p>If they fail to provide the necessary donor funds &#8220;sooner or later it&#8217;s going to bite rich countries&#8221; through increased immigration, insecurity and disease, he added.<br /> Mr Shetty said Italy had already significantly reduced its aid levels this year, adding that while other countries have said they will continue meeting their pledges of assistance, many had failed to do so even when their economies were enjoying healthy growth.</p> <p>Rich nations have long promised to increase their aid levels to 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product, but only a few have reached the target, with the average at just 0.25 per cent.</p> <p>The Millennium Campaign was set up to hold governments to account in helping poorer nations, mainly in Africa and Asia, meet so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015.<br /> Mr Shetty said the financial crisis provided the opportunity for countries to focus on improving the quality of donor assistance and breaking the deadlock on world trade talks, particularly tackling the controversial issue of agricultural subsidies paid by developed nations to farmers, which are criticised for hurting agriculture-dependent poor nations.</p> <p>Impoverished countries – many of which are blighted by corruption and poor governance -also have to make better use of their own resources, widen their tax base and improve the efficiency of their public services, he said.</p> http://endpoverty2015.org/en/africa/news/un-body-warns-damage-aid-policy/28/nov/08#comments Africa Arab Region Asia Global Partnership English Financial Times Fri, 28 Nov 2008 05:00:00 +0000 Sebastian Majewski 434 at http://endpoverty2015.org