Catholic Relief Services Hails U.S. Boost in Development Aid

Bush Administration Promises $10 Billion More by 2006

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 25, 2002 ( Catholic Relief Services applauded the Bush administration´s announcement of a plan to add $10 billion to U.S. overseas development aid by 2006.

CRS, the U.S. Catholic overseas development agency, commended its government for offering a greater contribution of its resources, as industrialized nations seek to cut global poverty in half.

«It is a first significant step to change the historic tendency to decrease foreign aid,» said Ken Hackett, executive director of the agency.

«It appears to demonstrate this administration´s commitment to further address the needs of the world´s poor, and we hope it will be specifically directed to supporting improvements in livelihoods, health, education, human rights,» as well as «giving voice to the marginalized,» the official statement adds.

«As the U.S. recovers from Sept. 11 and continues to face the threat of terrorism, I believe there is a greater understanding that terrorism finds fertile fields where there is poverty, injustice and lack of opportunity,» Hackett explained.

Treasury Secretary Paul O´Neill made the foreign aid announcement in Monterrey, Mexico, last Wednesday.

President George W. Bush reiterated that the United States will make the increased aid available only to countries that have demonstrated good governance, avoided corruption, invested in their people, and have sound economic policies.

CRS said it shared the administration´s commitment to results in the delivery of increased foreign aid and promised to continue working with the U.S. government to find ways of reaching all of the world´s poor through humanitarian assistance and development programs.

Specifically, CRS has pledged to work with the Bush administration to:

–seek international and civil society input to determine the criteria for administering increased foreign aid available through the so-called Millennium Challenge Account;

–use the account to halve extreme global poverty;

–support poverty reduction and development plans with realistic timeframes, and accountability to citizens as well as donor countries;

–measure success using indicators of the impact on human dignity and livelihoods rather than macroeconomic indicators alone;

–ensure that U.S. political, economic and trade policies are consistent with anti-poverty approaches to poor nations;

–establish a calendar for achieving a doubling of overseas development assistance.

Catholic Relief Services provides aid to people of all creeds in more than 85 countries and territories.

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