The Guardian : Brown and Bono appeal for doubling of aid cash - U2 France
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The Guardian : Brown and Bono appeal for doubling of aid cash

mardi 17 février 2004 / par Dom

by Charlotte Denny

Source : The Guardian

Gordon Brown warned yesterday that the west was about to fail its first target in the international fight against poverty launched by the United Nations five years ago.

Renewing his call for a doubling of global aid spending, Mr Brown told a conference of church leaders and aid lobbyists in London that the goal of getting as many girls as boys into school by 2005 was now out of reach.

"This is not good enough - this is not the promise we made," he said as he issued a fresh plea for backing for his radical plan to double global aid spending.

"This is a call to action, born out of our shared anger at the plight of many millions of people around the world who live on the knife’s edge of bare existence."

Irish rock star Bono, also a speaker, threw his weight behind Mr Brown’s initiative, saying the world needed to "dramatise" development issues in the way the Live Aid concert for Ethiopian famine victims did nearly 20 years ago.

Speaking via a video link, the lead singer of U2 told Mr Brown : "We need you and Tony [Blair] to be the Lennon/McCartney of geopolitics. But what we need here is not love, all we need here is cash."

Mr Brown is struggling to win support from the Bush administration for his plan to issue bonds on capital markets backed by future aid spending.

But the chancellor admitted for the first time that Britain might be forced to launch the International Finance Facility with the support of a handful of like-minded countries.

"Unlike other measures [for raising global aid spending] the IFF can proceed even if some fail to participate," he said.

Writing in yesterday’s Guardian, the chancellor said many countries had been let down. "Without greatly increased growth, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the transition economies of Europe and central Asia will all fail to see their poverty halved. Yet the promise made to sub-Saharan Africa was for 2015, not - as now seems likely - 2147.

"When we know the scale of the task, and the promises we made, we cannot wait for some other time and some other people. The world must act together now."

Mr Brown is hoping to persuade the sceptics that the IFF is the only feasible way to mobilise more money fast enough to meet the UN anti-poverty target by the 2015 deadline world leaders have set themselves.

Hilary Benn, the international development secretary, said : "At the moment it is still about trying to persuade as many countries as possible to come aboard."

The Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio da Silva, told the conference that western leaders were in danger of missing the other goals they had set themselves.

"Rich countries know full well that it is in their own self-interest to give a hand to those who are still far from achieving these goals," he said.

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