UN World Summit welcomes Gleneagles debt deal, puts pressure on World Bank/IMF negotiators
New York, September 15, 2005 – At the UN World Summit, leaders including President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are urging implementation of the G8’s Gleneagles debt deal which promised debt cancellation of 18 highly-indebted countries with a possible increase to 38. But the world’s largest anti-poverty coalition warns that the deal could fall apart at next week’s World Bank/IMF annual meetings.
“With one hundred and ninety one countries endorsing the G8 debt deal at the United Nations this week, it is crucial that the World Bank/IMF hear their collective voice, stop quibbling and cancel the debts of the poorest countries,” said Kumi Naidoo of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP).
International endorsement of debt relief stands in stark contrast to current attempts to undermine the Gleneagles deal by some rich countries. The deal might still suffer setbacks at the upcoming World Bank/IMF annual meetings. A group of EU countries including Belgium and the Netherlands are now trying to derail the deal by phasing its implementation which will put at risk immediate funding of cancellation and impose extra conditions on poor countries.
With President Bush’s restatement of the US commitment to the Gleneagles debt deal, and his call on “the World Bank and IMF to finalize this historic agreement as soon as possible,” it is also more crucial than ever that he direct his Administration follow through on the deal.
In the final Summit agreement, leaders unequivocally endorsed the Gleneagles deal and, for the first time, agreed on the need to go further and consider “significant debt relief or restructuring for low and middle-income developing countries with an unsustainable debt burden,” debt which jeopardizes their ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
“Delays in debt cancellation come at a high cost for the world’s poorest countries and their people,” said Naidoo. “Every dollar spent on crippling debt is a dollar not spent on food, education and fighting diseases.”