22 February 2005


Jubilee Australia is again urging its supporters to become active in campaigning on behalf of the world's poor. Pointing out that the number killed in the recent South-East Asian Tsunami is the same as the number of children who die in one week, mostly from preventable causes such as malnutrition, diarrhea and respiratory infections Jubilee has again called for developed nations such as Australia to honour their pledge to address poverty by the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

In its latest communication Jubilee Australia points out that despite recent media attention, "the reality is that only 10% of the debt cancellations called for by the international Debt Justice and Jubilee campaign has been undertaken. This falls short of the promises made at the G8 summit in Cologne in 1999. The Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) mechanism, adopted by the Paris Club (of which Australia is a member) to deal with poor country debt, provides no permanent solution to this global problem. It is too short sighted, leaves out entire countries (such as Indonesia, whose debt repayments constitute more than 30% of government expenditure) and forces countries to accept austere IMF programs"

Highlighting the imbalance between debt repayment and aid, attention is drawn to the 2003-2004 financial year where World Vision Australia gave A$167 million to overseas projects, whilst EVERY DAY Sub-Saharan Africa spent $US 35 million on loan repayments (whilst not being able to pay a further $US 91 million owed for that day).

The Australian Government was also criticised for continuing to downplay the role that debt cancellation and aid play in poverty alleviation. The Government instead refers to trade and governance as the sole factors required for reducing poverty rather than recognizing that concerted action on all possible fronts is required to address the ongoing scandal of why so much of the world's population continues to live in misery and degradation.

Suggestions for action can be found at the Jubilee Australia website.

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