CAFOD has welcomed the G8 finance ministers' announcement that 18 poor countries will receive an immediate $1.5 billion annually for debt relief as a good and significant first step. However, the Catholic aid agency pointed out that this is only a small proportion of the estimated $10 billion in debt relief each year that is needed to help lift millions out of poverty and does not benefit enough poor countries. CAFOD's policy analyst Henry Northover said: "If this is implemented this is a good and significant first step. It means millions of people in those 18 countries woke up on Sunday with more chance of being able to go to school and have better health care. But we need more money and more countries to benefit. For example, Sri Lanka, which is working hard to tackle poverty and recovering from the Tsunami, received no debt cancellation at the weekend. "We've seen debt relief work and more is needed. We must see an end to the welfarist approach to Africa but debt is only part of the solution. This must also mean a doubling of aid to $50 billion a year and make it more effective so it reaches those who need it most. They must also deliver on trade justice that sees an end to forced liberalisation and harmful export subsidies. "It is vital we now build the political pressure for the heads of government to deliver next month. It is imperative that thousands turn out on the streets of Edinburgh on 2 July to demand action from the G8 that they fulfil their promises to halve poverty by 2015." The finance ministers also announced a commitment to universal treatment for HIV and AIDS for all who need it by 2010, as well as a commitment to strengthening health systems in developing countries. CAFOD's HIV expert Ann Smith said: "We welcome this statement as an important move forward. These words now need to be followed up with actions that are practical and sustainable in the longer term. This promise must go hand in hand with increasing aid to fund this target, as well as make trade conditions fairer so that the cost and the patent restrictions on these drugs don't become a barrier to making these promises a reality." CAFOD is a leading member of the Make Poverty History campaign, a coalition of over 400 faith groups, charities and trade unions, that are challenging world leaders on trade justice, debt cancellation and more and better aid. CAFOD is encouraging people to join Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, at the family friendly rally in Edinburgh on 2 July and make their voice heard by sending a clear message to the world leaders that they will no longer stand by and watch as 30,000 children die needlessly every day.
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