Tom Kitt attends Vatican seminar on poverty
Mr. Tom Kitt T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights at the Department of Foreign Affairs, is today attending a seminar in Rome on the theme of Poverty and Globalisation: Financing for Development, organised by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The seminar will focus on the issues of the debt burden on the world’s poorest countries and the mobilisation of development funding.
The seminar has attracted high level attendance, including the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, the new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Rodrigo de Rato and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster. President Jacques Chirac’s chief advisor on innovative sources of development financing as well as other senior representatives of the World Bank, governments of developing countries and major global development cooperation NGOs will also attend.
Speaking at the conference on the Irish Government policy on poor country debt relief, Mr Kitt said:
“Ireland has identified a number of problems with the World Bank/IMF Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC).
We believe that the HIPC does not pay sufficient attention to levels of poverty, human development, the impact of HIV/AIDS and the volatility of commodity prices. As a result many poor countries that have received debt relief under the HIPC initiative continue to have very high and unsustainable debt burdens.
Ireland strongly believes that both the HIPC, and any future efforts to deal with the debt of poor countries, should take into account the need to ensure high levels of domestic resources to deal with poverty AIDS, health and education.
We cannot demand debt repayments from countries where people are starving and whose societies are being undermined by AIDS.
We take the view that for some HIPC countries the only viable solution to the debt crisis is 100% debt cancellation”
Note for editor: The World Bank/IMF HIPC Initiative is the principal international mechanism to deal with the debt burden on 42 of the world’s poorest countries. The objective of the HIPC is to reduce these countries’ debts to a sustainable level. In the Bank/IMF view sustainable debt levels are based primarily on the ratio of debts to exports.
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