CAFOD has welcomed the launch of a bond scheme by Chancellor Gordon Brown that aims to inoculate more than 500 million children in 70 countries over he next ten years. The Catholic Church showed their commitment to the scheme by being amongst the first to buy a bond from the International Finance Facility (IFF) at a ceremony in London today to launch the initiative. Cardinal Renato Martino, representing Pope Benedict XV1 was handed the first bond and a further five to other religious groups. Britain and other governments are selling the 'aid bonds' to the international money markets, raising money fto pay for a huge immunisation programme in 70 of the world's poorest countries now and paying back the interest from future aid flows. Cardinal Martino represents Pope Benedict at the launch and bought the first bond on behalf of the Pope. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the Archbishop of Canterbury together with leaders of all the main faith groups in the UK attended the event. CAFOD director Chris Bain said: "Diseases such as polio, measles and diphtheria kill and blight the lives of millions of children in poor countries and this should not and need not be the case. The launch of the IFF takes us a step closer to providing funding to eradicate these diseases and give children a better chance of survival. "However, the need for such an initiative as the IFF is a reflection of the sad fact that the world's governments have not yet done enough to enable developing countries to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the number of deaths of under-fives from 30,000 to 10,000 a day by 2015. "The IFF provides us with the best hope so far that aid flows will be sufficient to ensure that this goal is met. In the meantime, CAFOD will continue to campaign for governments to keep the promises they made last year at the G8 summit at Gleneagles to double aid, cancel debts and deliver trade justice. "
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