Development Conference Disappoints Catholic Aid Agencies

U.N. Meeting Didn´t Answer Key Questions, They Contend

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ROME, MARCH 22, 2002 ( The U.N. International Conference on Financing Development left unresolved a number of urgent questions, say two Catholic organizations.

The conference in Monterrey, Mexico, ended today with the adoption by the 189 U.N. member states of a global plan for the allocation of funds for the development of poor countries. The plan proposed to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.

In a joint statement, two Catholic associations said that «more multilateral action is necessary to reach the established development objectives,» the Misna missionary agency reported.

The International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity, or CIDSE — a coalition of 14 Catholic development organizations in Europe and North America — and Caritas International cited «three questions of great importance that remain unresolved. What resources will fund development? What economic and financial instruments should be used to promote social and economic justice? How can greater consistency of policies be promoted?»

The two organizations appealed to governments to quickly implement the U.N. conference´s decisions.

CIDSE and Caritas said that they appreciate and support the recent statements of some donor countries regarding the reinforcement of public aid to development.

They also praised the willingness of some governments to impose a tax on foreign exchange transactions — the so-called Tobin tax, which they believe will help to prevent financial crises and generate funds for social development.

The two networks also appealed again for countries to meet the goal of setting aside 0.7% of gross national product for development aid. They also called for the creation of an international mechanism to reduce debt, and the establishment of a Council of Economic and Social Security, first proposed by a U.N. commission in 1995.

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