Tuesday, October 11, 2005

[MDGs] U.N. Urges Boost in Development Aid

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS - The world's poorest countries receive the same level of international aid for development projects now as they did in 1990, and an increase is essential to meet the U.N. target of cutting extreme poverty by half by 2015, the U.N. economic chief said Tuesday.

Undersecretary-General Jose Antonio Ocampo said official development assistance is expected to increase substantially in the next five years, but more is necessary, along with a way to ensure that it goes to the countries most in need.

As a result of pledges made at the 2002 U.N. development summit in Monterrey, Mexico, and pledges by the
European Union and the Group of Eight industrialized countries in the run-up to last month's U.N. summit, development aid is expected to increase from around $80 billion last year to $130 billion in 2010. Half of the increase is earmarked for sub-Saharan Africa, which will double aid to the continent's poorest region to $50 billion.

But Ocampo said increased aid since Monterrey has been concentrated in technical and humanitarian assistance and debt relief "in such a way that the amount of aid going into normal development projects last year remained at the same level as in 1990."

The World Economic and Social Survey 2005 released Monday said not only must development aid increase substantially for developing countries to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, but it is essential that more money be directed to the poorest developing countries. In addition to reducing poverty, the goals call for universal primary education, stemming the AIDS pandemic, and providing clean water to all families by 2015.

During the 1990s, international assistance to developing countries declined but the trend has reversed since Monterrey. Because so much new aid is for technical and emergency assistance, post-conflict peace-building and debt relief, however, poor countries are not getting new money in their budgets for long-term development, the report said.

At present, the report said, only about one-quarter of development aid is channeled through budgets.