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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 10:22 GMT
Oxfam raps rich nations over aid
A girl waits outside a tent set up by the aid organisation Oxfam in a refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan
Oxfam wants wealthy countries to double what they give in aid
Rich nations need to do much more to overcome global poverty, the aid agency Oxfam says in a report.

In real terms, the aid budgets of rich countries are half what they were in 1960, the charity claims.

Oxfam also says that that poor countries are paying back $100m a day in debt repayments.

"As rich countries get richer, they're giving less and less. This is a scandal that must stop," Oxfam director Barbara Stocking said.

If the present trends continue, the agency warns that 45 million more children will die needlessly in the next 10 years.

"The world's poorest children are paying for rich countries' policies on aid and debt with their lives," Ms Stocking said.

'Moral obligation'

Oxfam says rich countries such as the US, Germany and Japan have broken a pledge made in 1970 to make available 0.7% of their gross national incomes in aid.

Making this finance available is a both a moral obligation and a matter of justice
Oxfam report

In 2003, the average aid budget of wealthy countries was just 0.25% of national income, and just 0.14% for the US.

The report, Paying the Price, says this means that development goals agreed on recently by all members of the United Nations - halving poverty, providing education for all and halting the spread of major diseases - are unlikely to be met.

"Making this finance available... is a both a moral obligation and a matter of justice," it says.

Oxfam says that aid initiatives work, and that millions of children are in school in countries such as Kenya and Zambia, for example, who would not be there if not for aid.

It also claims that aid is being used as a political tool, with some nations making combating terrorism an explicit aim of their aid programmes.

Of course the debt should be cancelled and fair trade mechanisms put in place too
Richard, UK

The report is designed as a call to action to the British government before it takes up the presidency of the G8, says the BBC's world affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge.

The agency wants UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to persuade his G8 counterparts to cancel all the debt of the poorest countries and double aid spending.

How the world's poor are affected by rich countries

CNN Aid to poor nations 'halved' - 6 hrs ago
Irish TimesOxfam warns 45m children may die of hunger - 14 hrs ago
TelegraphOxfam urges rich nations to give more to poor - 22 hrs ago
Mirror Aid Needs To Double - 25 hrs ago
New York Times Relief Agency Criticizes Rich Lands - 26 hrs ago
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