International debt meeting sets focus for London day
From Lambeth Palace and Daily staff reports
Chaired jointly by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Baroness Chalker, a meeting at Lambeth Palace reviewed the experience of debtor countries and the responses so far of the international community to their plight, especially in the case of those countries most affected by enduring poverty.
Present were Bishops widely representative of the Anglican Communion including Kenneth Fernando of Sri Lanka and Ronald Haines of Washington, as well as political leaders, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP; and the Secretary of State for International Development the Rt Hon Clare Short MP. Included amongst those attending in addition to the High Commissioner of Canada and the Ambassadors of Germany and Russia were senior representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and international banks.
Discussion showed the meeting united in concern for the condition of heavily indebted countries. On the one hand the urgency both of the situation in these countries and of the moral case for change was pressed, and on the other attention was drawn to the need to identify policies which linked debt reduction with effective long term policies for economic and social development and poverty eradication. Ministers outlined the Government proposals for addressing these concerns within the international community.
Discussions identified that, even where there were complex economic issues these must not stand in the way of real debt relief. It was not a case of morality and economics being in opposition to each other, but a question of establishing a moral economics. It followed that a new framework was needed for economic progress and which recognised that debt relief was a necessary but not a wholly sufficient condition for economic development and poverty eradication. Above all, it was agreed that it was essential to communicate to everyone a possibility of hope.
Back to front page of this issue