UN SCRIBE FEARS AID FREEZE FOR POOR AFRICAN COUNTRIES


U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said he would press world leaders at a financial summit next month to keep their pledges of aid to poor nations, but expressed concern the global crisis would sap their resolve.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, the U.N. secretary-general said that although he had been encouraged by the promises from wealthy countries not to reduce their development assistance, he was worried that might not last.

“As the situation is deteriorating … I am concerned that this may inevitably affect the political will and available resources for the developing countries,” he said. “My role … is to keep world leaders on their committed path.”

Ban said he would not accept any delay to agreed targets for sharply improving life for the world’s poor, despite a suggestion by at least one prominent U.N. adviser that the Millennium Development Goals may not be met in time.

The eight MDGs, announced in 2000, set targets for slashing poverty, hunger and disease by 2015. Most of them were behind schedule even before the financial crisis set in last year. Economist Jeffrey Sachs, who advises Ban, said in Tanzania last week the date might have to be pushed back.

Ban said: “We cannot move this target date. 2015 is the deadline and target. We must be able to keep the target.”

He said he would write to all heads of state and government attending the Group of 20 summit in London on April 2 to urge them to not to lose sight of the plight of the poor as they seek ways out of the financial crisis.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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