Chancellor Gordon Brown to speak at Vatican

 Chancellor Gordon Brown will give a keynote speech at a seminar in the Vatican on Friday, to press the case for his International Finance Facility. The International Finance Facility 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. If adopted by governments worldwide it would raise aid from rich to poor countries to $100 billion per year in the years to 2015. The scheme has received strong backing from the Vatican and from Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales who will chair the morning session. The director of CAFOD, Chris Bain, will make a speech aimed at galvanising other Catholic development agencies to muster grass roots support among Catholics worldwide. The seminar will bring together politicians from developed and developing countries, including from the G8 countries, and senior representatives of the international finance institutions as well as Catholic development agencies and bishops conferences. As with the Jubilee Debt Campaign the backing of the Catholic Church and other churches and faith communities is seen as crucial in putting pressure on governments to act. A spokesman for the Cardinal said: "As Catholics who are fortunate to live in rich countries we believe that it is our moral duty to work for the relief of the suffering and the eradication of poverty in our world today. Having willed the ends, in the form of the Millennium Development Goals, it is important to will the means. This is an excellent opportunity to share with key politicians and church leaders from all over Europe a practical proposal that, as matters stand, is the last best hope of finding the resources needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals and to lift millions of people out of poverty." Chris Bain added: "Clinics without doctors or drugs and schools without teachers or textbooks are the everyday experience of CAFOD partners and the communities they work with. The IFF could provide the long-term resources that countries need to build the health and education systems that are the essential foundations of human development."

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