Global Politics

The crisis effect on the UN

(How much has the financial crisis changed how poverty is discussed at the UN?) The financial crisis has completely spilled over into discussions on poverty and there were concerns that it would undermine the purpose of this meeting which is to get all these governments and philanthropists trying to decrease levels of poverty and increase levels of education. The French Foreign Minister was saying that many pledges in the past haven't been fulfilled and countries like France can't afford to make the kind of commitments they'd like to make. (Make a link as to how for instance France of the U.S. may not be able to fund the things they've pledged to or would like to pledge?) Well this is debatable. Britain is saying the amount of money that governments have committed to anti-poverty programs is a small fraction of the national budget. The British Prime Minister's argument is we can afford this and this is the time to redouble or efforts to solve these problems with the global food and fuel crisis. France's argument is that their slow economic growth is making it difficult to find room in their budget for these programs. (What kind of money are we talking about?) The money needed for Africa, according to the Secretary General, is $72 billion dollars. A couple years ago the G8 pledged about $50 billion dollars a year and the UN says they're about $10 billion dollars a year behind that pledge, and the French Foreign Minister is saying that's indicative of what he expects today. (I imagine this also doesn't amount to much when held up to the proposed $700 billion bail out figure. Anyone talking about that?) They're all talking about that. Everyone is saying if you can find $700 billion dollars in the U.S. in a couple of weeks, why can't the whole world come up with $70 billion dollars a year for Africa where struggles to meet goals on education and poverty reduction have actually gotten worse every year.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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