UN asks developed nations for aid commitments

UN asks developed nations for aid commitments

The UN Millennium Campaign urged G-8 leaders, who meet on Wednesday in L'Aquila in Italy, to urgently announce timetables for meeting their existing aid commitments to these countries so that they can overcome the current economic crisis.

"All over Africa and Asia, governments might have no option but to cut expenditure which the poor need to survive," said Salil Shetty, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign.

"Given that leaders of rich countries have found USD 18 trillion to bail out financial institutions over the past year - nine times more money than they have given in aid over the past 49 years - we know that finding financial resources is possible if the political will is there. G-8 leaders must not turn their backs on the world's most vulnerable in L'Aquila," Shetty said in a statement.

The body called on G-8 leaders to announce transparent and predictable timetables for the delivery of aid committed at Gleneagles in 2005, clearly spelling out precise schedules of annual increases for each country.

The UN body urged the G-8 leaders to provide additional financial resources to poor countries - not repackaging of existing commitments -- which do not increase their indebtedness or contain harmful conditions.

The UN programme also urged them to issue a moratorium on debt repayments from poor countries and improve aid quality and avoid earmarking aid for specific purposes, as this counters the principle of aid effectiveness and does not allow countries to define their own priorities.

The G-8 countries should immediately eliminate trade-distorting agricultural and export subsidies, given that existing trade tariffs make it difficult for poor countries to compete and the economic crisis has further reduced their export, the UN body said.

The UN Millennium Campaign is also calling for new resources tailored to address the challenges caused by the economic crisis.

These sources must be additional to existing commitments and must not come with conditions which hamper effectiveness or increase indebtedness, it said.

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