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Caritas calls on the EU to put commitments towards the poor at the heart of G20 talks


02 Apr 2009


Social Europe & Jobs

On the occasion of the G20 summit, which is being held tomorrow in London, Caritas asks European leaders to bring back ethics in economy and keep their promises towards the people living in poverty through delivering aid and policy coherence for development.

The global economic crisis hits all but none harder than the poor and the vulnerable, although they are the least responsible for it. An estimated 53 millions people will be driven into poverty in developing countries as a result. This is on top of the 150 million people who fell into poverty following increases in food and fuel prices last year. The situation undermines years of development progress and significantly challenges achieving the Millennium Development Goals, already off track of decades in some countries.

No doubt, financial resources for development are needed more than ever at this time, in order to provide vital basic services to the poor and help them realise their rights to food, water, education, healthcare.

The OECD figures related to development aid disbursement in 2008 presented ahead of the G2O summit reveal a slight increase of the EU Member States collective aid. They provided $70.01 billion or 0.42% of GNI, compared to $61.54 billion or 0.39% of GNI in 2007. Nevertheless, this is falling short from the EU targets of 0.56% by 2010 and 0.7% by 2015.

The future does not look brighter considering that a number of EU Member States already announced drastic cuts in their 2009 aid budget (Italy by 56%, Ireland by 10%, Estonia by 10%, Latvia by 100%). CONCORD (the European Confederation of development NGOs of which Caritas Europa is a member organisation) has calculated that developing countries will receive $27 billion less in aid between 2008 and 2010 as a result of the economic recession.

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Mariadaga pointed out: “When trillions of dollars were found to rescue the banking system, it is morally unjustifiable that some rich countries have cut aid budgets. The economic crisis must not sidetrack rich countries of their obligations on aid to developing countries.” He added: “We can meet this crisis by patching up the failed globalisation of greed or see it as an opportunity to create a globalisation based on solidarity, justice and peace”.

For Cardinal Rodriguez, unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced, climate change will have much more devastating long-term consequences than the economic downturn - “we can bail out banks but our climate can’t be bailed out”, he said.

According to Caritas, decisive and coherent measures are needed to remove unfair constraints on the realisation of the full economic and human potential of developing countries. These constraints are perpetuated, among others, through an unjust global trade system, illegitimate debts and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. It is necessary to put an end to the scandal of tax evasion and illicit capital flows, which cost every year $350 to $500 billion to poor countries. EU leaders must commit to sanctions against tax havens and their users as well as to reinforced international cooperation in the fight against capital flight.

On the way to the UN Climate Change Conference of December 2009, Caritas also calls on the EU to demonstrate accountability, responsibility, and responsiveness towards the needs of developing countries in reaching a just global agreement in Copenhagen. Concrete financial commitments, additional to ODA, must be committed in order to enable developing countries to adapt to the impact of climate change.

For more information, please contact:

Blandine Bouniol
Policy Officer for International Cooperation
Caritas Internationalis/Caritas Europa
Tel: +32 2 235 26 55


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