CAFOD shocked by government change of policy on debt relief

 CAFOD has learnt today that the UK government is leading EU moves to oppose an extension of debt relief for the world's poorest countries. The proposal currently being considered at the UN in New York, would increase debt reduction in line with meeting the Millennium Development Goals to halve global poverty. The draft paper at the UN's Finance for Development preparatory conference, calls for reform of debt policies, to bring them in line with meeting the internationally agreed development targets to halve global poverty by the year 2015. The draft asks that: 'Debt sustainability analysis should take into account each country's capacity to raise the finance needed to achieve the Millennium development goals.' This move is supported by the poorest - so-called G7 - countries and China. But CAFOD has learnt that the UK opposed this reform in a caucus meeting of the EU delegation. Henry Northover, Public Policy Analyst for CAFOD said: "Debt campaigners have been led to believe that the UK would go further on debt provided that we - the UK- can get support from at least one other G7 country. "CAFOD is deeply shocked therefore that in New York, of all the EU member states, the UK has been the most hard-line opponent of integrating debt with the international commitment to achieving the 2015 development targets. "As a result, heavily indebted poor countries stand to lose on both aid and debt. The US is shutting the door on Gordon Brown's proposals to increase aid. And the UK, is opposing debtor countries when they support a fairer and poverty-focused approach to debt relief. "It's now becoming clear that the world's richest countries are interested in paper commitments to the 2015 goals, but will not commit the policies or cash to back their rhetoric, he added.

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