Cardinal Challenges U.K. to Meet Overseas-Aid Goal

LONDON, NOV. 1, 2001 ( Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O´Connor of Westminster urged the United Kingdom to make good on its commitment to earmarking 0.7% of gross national product for overseas aid, and to do this by 2012.

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This figure was agreed by the United Nations in 1970, but it has never been achieved by the United Kingdom, which is less than halfway there. Nor has a target date been set for full compliance.

The cardinal made his plea at Wednesday´s relaunch of the Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) at the House of Commons, and in advance of this month´s World Trade Organization meeting in Qatar.

He said: “At the present rate of increase, our aid budget will not reach 0.7% until 2040. And that is simply not good enough. So I would hope we can set a target date by which Britain´s aid will reach 0.7% … surely within 10 years.”

The cardinal praises the “major role” played by the U.K. government in the international debt cancellation process, but urges fairer trade rules, wider debt cancellation, and the increase in development aid.

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