'Goldfish memory syndrome' strikes world bankers

 The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have already forgotten their commitments on debt and development, made just six months ago, CAFOD said on Friday. Their report on the failing HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) initiative issued at their annual meeting in Washington DC has failed to consider the relationship of debt relief in financing the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which aim to reduce global poverty. Yet in March, both financial institutions signed up to the Monterrey Consensus paper that promised: "future reviews of debt sustainability should also bear in mind the impact of debt relief on progress towards the achievement of the development goals contained in the Millennium Declaration." The HIPC report only refers to this promise obliquely with a brief caricature of development agency arguments advocating the use of debt relief as a way of achieving the MDGs. Henry Northover, CAFOD Policy Analyst said: "The world's richest creditors face a widening credibility and financing gap when it comes to meeting the MDGs. While their rhetorical commitments have been strong, the implementation of their international undertakings on this issue have been either weak or absent. "When it comes to helping the world's poor people, the rich seem to have the memory of a goldfish. It is only six months ago that the Bank and Fund signed up to the Monterrey Consensus, yet this week they have failed to even pay lip-service to their undertakings."

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