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Friday, February 24, 2017
Church backs Gordon Brown's IFF proposal
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¬†The Catholic Church in England and Wales has given wide backing to Chancellor Gordon Brown's initiative for an International Finance Facility following his keynote speech at the Vatican last Friday to Bishops and Catholic leaders from around the world. Their endorsement may see the start of a global coalition to campaign for the additional resources needed to lift millions out of poverty, akin to the scale of the Jubilee debt campaign. The Chancellor was quizzed on his scheme by up to 100 leading clergy, financiers and government representatives from around the world. The IFF seeks to double global aid budgets between now and 2015 to finance the Millennium Development Goals by selling government backed bonds on international capital markets. The Pope has already endorsed the IFF as an innovative solution to solving the £50 billion shortfall in the aid budget. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, who chaired the session, said: "The Chancellor provided a compelling case for the IFF. We see it as the last best hope of finding the resources needed to meet our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and work towards the relief from suffering of those less fortunate than ourselves. "We will now take this message back to our churches and organisations around the world and encourage them to lobby their own governments to get behind the scheme." CAFOD director Chris Bain also spoke at the conference, urging sister agencies to take up the mantle and pressure their governments to sign up to the IFF. He said: "This proposal is by far the best we have on the table at the moment. We will still be campaigning for donors to move quickly towards the UN target of giving 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income in overseas aid, still campaign for debt relief and fair trade. "However, in the meantime the IFF frankly faces the fact that this is unlikely to happen in time to meet the MDGs and provides us with our one best hope to generate enough funds to build the health and education systems that are essential foundations of human development."
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