Poverty, hunger and disease have devastating impacts on the lives and dignity of most of our brothers and sisters in the world. Over 80% live in developing countries but have access to only 20% of the world’s resources. Nearly 3 billion continue to struggle on less than $2 per day. Health crises such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria threaten the existence of whole generations, and poor countries continue to face enormous development and humanitarian challenges.
Fighting poverty, hunger and disease by adequately funding foreign assistance is not simply an optional commitment. This action invests in solidarity with poor nations, creates the prosperity that improves our own national security, and promotes the human dignity of the poorest in the world.
|Some basic facts
In Africa, one-third of people live in hunger and about one-sixth of children die before the age of five.
115 million primary school-aged children in developing countries do not attend school; three-fifths are girls.
Source: 2003 UN Human Development Report
The President’s Budget Request for FY2006. As in FY2005, the FY2006 request includes important increases in assistance to the poorest in the world. It requests higher funding levels for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as well as for the new development program, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). We are encouraged by this trend. However, while the proposed amounts for these initiatives are substantial, they are less than the President had previously committed. Furthermore, other important development and humanitarian programs would either remain at the same levels or be reduced. We believe it essential, even in today’s tight budget environment, that the U.S. continue to increase funding to fight global poverty and health crises and meet other humanitarian needs. Areas of particular concern to USCCB include the following:
What is the U.S. doing to fight global AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria? President Bush announced, and Congress approved, a U.S. commitment to contribute $15 billion to fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases during fiscal years 2004-2008. Congress has so far provided $5.2 billion. The President has requested another $3.2 billion for FY2006.
What should the U.S. contribute in 2006? Experts estimate the global need to be between $10 and $15 billion a year. The U.S. commitment would provide 25 to 30 percent of this amount over FY2004-2008. The United States needs to step up its annual contribution if it is to reach $15 billion by 2008. Therefore, we urge Congress to appropriate $4 billion for morally appropriate programs to fight global health crises in 2006.
|We urge Congress to:
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)
The MCA is a new initiative that promises a substantial increase in development aid. For a country to be eligible for MCA funds, it must rule justly, maintain economic openness, and invest in its people. Congress provided $1 billion for the MCA in 2004 and $1.5 billion in 2005, in each case short of the President’s request. The President had promised that the annual amounts committed to the MCA would reach $5 billion by 2006, but has actually requested $3 billion.
What should the U.S. contribute in 2006? Despite the President’s earlier promise, we believe it is appropriate to support his request for $3 billion, recognizing the challenges facing a new agency as it begins implementation and seeks the most effective approaches.
How should the MCA be implemented? USCCB and CRS will continue to monitor MCA implementation to ensure that priority is given to the poorest countries and that funds are directed to poverty reduction through transparent processes involving civil society participation.
|We urge Congress to:
Other Development Assistance
The President’s 2006 budget requests funding for core development and humanitarian accounts at the same, or in some cases lower, levels than in 2005. Core accounts fund important programs such as education, health and food aid and are crucial for the many poor countries that do not qualify for the MCA. They also provide critical refugee assistance and humanitarian relief during emergencies, as well as post-conflict peace-building, reconstruction and refugee assistance in countries such as Sudan, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. We urge that funding for core accounts be increased by at least $1 billion over the 2005 amounts.
|We urge Congress to:
For Further Information: Fr. Andrew Small, OMI, USCCB, 202-541-3153, firstname.lastname@example.org, Gerry Flood, USCCB, 202-541-3167, email@example.com; LaVita Strickland, Office of Government Liaison, USCCB, 202-541-3235, firstname.lastname@example.org; Kathy Brown, 410-951-7232, email@example.com; Tina Rodousakis, 410-951-7462, firstname.lastname@example.org