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Aid works, Annan says in plea at Monterrey forum for more help to poor countries

Aid works, Annan says in plea at Monterrey forum for more help to poor countries

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today issued a plea to world leaders for a doubling of foreign aid to poorer countries, arguing that such help was not a waste of money but instead a vital contribution towards achieving global development goals.

"There is abundant evidence that aid does work," the Secretary-General said in an address to the summit segment of the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico. "Aid brings spectacular improvements in literacy, and spectacular declines in infant mortality, when it is channelled to countries with enlightened leaders and efficient institutions."

Referring to estimates that an additional $50 billion a year of official aid – twice the current level – would be needed to achieve the goals set at the Millennium Summit to fight poverty, illiteracy and disease, the Secretary-General welcomed the substantial amounts of additional foreign aid that were recently announced, saying those pledges demonstrated the true “Monterrey spirit” of giving people a chance to change their lives.

“Development means enabling people to escape [the] vicious circle,” Mr. Annan said. “And for development you need resources. Human resources. Natural resources. And also, crucially, financial resources.”

While aid was vital, it was not the whole story, the Secretary-General said, noting that development was a complex process in which many different actors have to work together, and not against each other.

In that regard, he hailed the appearance at the Conference of finance ministers and businessmen, as well as development ministers. It was also why the process of preparing for Monterrey – with the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Bretton Woods institutions working together as never before – had been so extraordinary.

“At last, we are all tackling the issues together, in a coherent fashion,” he said.