IN OTHER WORDS
Good intentions wither fast, especially when it comes to helping the world’s poor. At the turn of the millennium, world leaders committed to cutting extreme global poverty in half and to achieving deep reductions in malnutrition and child mortality rates. They followed that up in 2005 with a pledge to increase development assistance to $130 billion a year by 2010. That was then.
Aid from the world’s developed countries fell by almost 13% between 2005 and 2007 — to under $104 billion, after inflation. The aggregate aid budget of the most developed nations amounts to 0.28% of their gross national income, woefully below the target of 0.7%. Canada’s overseas aid amounts to 0.28% of its income. Japan’s is 0.17%. The US, shamefully, is at the bottom of the list, spending 0.16% of its income on development assistance.
After the 2001 terrorist attacks, wealthy countries acknowledged that poverty can be a fertile ground for terrorism and pledged to open their markets to exports from the world’s poorest nations. Those promises collapsed.
Speaking to the UN this week, the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, warned that the world is facing a “development crisis,” and he expressed his fear that wealthy nations would now fall even further behind in their commitments. We share that fear. — The New York Times