G-8 Nations Promise to Fight World Poverty

Also Vow to Cut Third World Debt and Fund AIDS Project

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GENOA, Italy, JULY 22, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Group of Eight summit ended with promises to ease the economic gap between rich and poor nations.

“We are determined that globalization will work for all citizens, especially the poor of the world,” the final G-8 statement affirmed.

The international pressure that characterized this summit has, in fact, made the heads of state of the seven major industrialized nations and Russia give greater importance to challenges of solidarity than they have in the past.

The G-8 leaders also promised $1.8 billion to the World Fund against AIDS and infectious illnesses, launched by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which might be operative “before the end of the year.”

The U.N. leader had called for a $7 billion fund to battle AIDS and other illnesses including malaria and tuberculosis.

At the summit, the developed nations approved a plan of action to reduce the “technology gap” with the poorest countries. Their aim is to give developing countries greater access to new technologies as, for example, by installing communal technological points in villages and promoting their use in combating poverty.

The World Bank will invest $1.5 billion to create infrastructures and new projects to facilitate multimedia penetration in developing countries, Mohsen Khalil said, who is one of the project managers.

In a preliminary meeting to the summit of the seven major industrialized powers — Russia did not participate — it was announced that 23 poor countries will benefit from a reduction of their external debt, amounting to $53 billion. In particular, the announcement specified that the debts to be canceled are those “derived from public assistance for development and commercial credits already provided by the initiative” in favor of the highly indebted nations.

This initiative, launched in 1996, has made possible the cancellation of 70% of the debt of 37 countries. Among those excluded, however, are 11 countries, the majority African, which are involved in wars.

In their statement, the seven highly industrialized countries ask the nations whose debt will be reduced to adopt concrete measures for development and the reduction of poverty, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Likewise, the G-8 leaders said it was necessary to reduce the emission of gas related to the greenhouse effect, although they were unable to avoid mentioning their disagreement over the Kyoto Protocol and its ratification, which the United States has refused.

In their final statement, the G-8 leaders lamented the death last Friday of Italian activist Carlo Giuliani, 23, who took part in the protests against globalization, but reiterated that “a violent minority” would not impede their meeting in the future.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced that the next G-8 summit is scheduled to be held in Kananaskis, Alberta, from June 26-28, 2002.

The sever major industrialized nations are the United States, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Canada.

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ZENIT Staff

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