Cardinal Martino Urges Nations to Streamline Aid Programs

LONDON, OCT. 3, 2004 ( A Holy See representative appealed to European countries to establish more efficient systems for the financing of development projects, surmounting the obstacles imposed by bureaucracies.

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This was the charge given Friday by Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, when addressing a banking conference organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom.

The theme of the meeting was «Is There a European Model for Global Economic and Social Growth?»

Cardinal Martino noted that there are 63,000 development projects, but they are carried out «with extremely different criteria.»

Many projects, he said, pursue similar objectives in the same area and entail duplications; others set themselves desirable objectives, but in competition with one another, creating tensions.

»Moreover, cooperation for development is characterized by bureaucratic slowness, imposing on beneficiary countries heavy burdens in fulfilling the requests for supervision and assessment by donors,» the Vatican official said.

«This demonstrates the urgency of the objective to improve the functioning of the whole mechanism of cooperation,» said the cardinal, who for 16 years was the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations.

«Some governments are moving significantly in this direction, with the personal encouragement and support of the Holy Father,» Cardinal Martino said in reference to a initiative of the British government, called the International Finance Facility, and the proposals of the Brazilian and French governments.

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