Congratulations! Due in no small part to the efforts and advocacy of the Catholic Community over the last ten years, and particularly our National Call-In Day of June 2, 2005, we are pleased to share some good news on a new deal for debt cancellation for the some of the worlds poorest people.
Last weekend, the Finance Ministers of the major industrialized countries (the G-7) committed to canceling at least $40 billion of debt owed by poor countries, freeing up substantial new resources for investments in health, education and poverty reduction. This represents a significant victory in the fight against poverty, and your phone calls to U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow helped achieve it.
This new commitment, which is expected to be formally adopted in the next few months, would immediately benefit 18 Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) and eventually as many as 20 additional HIPCs. The agreement provides each country with full cancellation of debts owed to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank. Together with earlier agreements to cancel bilateral debts, including 100% of debts owed to the United States, the new agreement will provide the fresh start for many poor countries, which the Catholic Church has advocated strongly and consistently over the past ten years.
The worlds richest countries, including the US, will help finance the debt cancellation by providing additional resources to the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The IMF will finance debt relief with its own resources.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services applaud this new agreement. At the same time, we believe that more can be done. The new resources provided to the international institutions must not come at the expense of existing US development and humanitarian programs. Also, we must ensure fairness to all of the poorest countries by including, as soon as feasible, non-HIPC poor countries struggling with heavy debt burdens.
We will be in touch with you shortly regarding further advocacy on behalf of the worlds poor, particularly in Africa, in connection with the G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland July 6 - 8. Meanwhile, please join USCCB and CRS in our Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty. The Campaign provides opportunities for Catholics in the United States to learn about the issues of aid, trade and debt, how they affect our brothers and sisters worldwide, and what you can do to advocate for U.S. policies that promote economic and social development for people living in poverty. Visit www.usccb.org/globalpoverty today for more information.
For more information contact: Tina Rodousakis, Legislative Network Specialist, CRS, 1-800-235-2772 x 7462, firstname.lastname@example.org; Gerry Flood, USCCB, 202 541 3167, email@example.com; Fr. Andrew Small, OMI, USCCB, 202-541-3153, firstname.lastname@example.org; Kathy Selvaggio, CRS, 1-800-235-2772 x 7449, email@example.com.