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Q & A

10. How can the industrialized countries support the achievement of the Goals?

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The industrialized countries simply need to fulfill commitments they have already made. Just as developing countries need to honor their commitments in terms of improved governance and increased resource mobilization, rich countries must meet their Monterrey commitments by making "concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 percent of gross national product as ODA to developing countries."

Fulfilling these commitments would provide sufficient resources to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. After extensive analysis, the Millennium Project has demonstrated that the cost of supporting suitably well-governed countries to meet the Goals would require donors to increase their ODA to only 0.44% of GNP in 2006 and to plan for a scale-up to 0.54% of GNP in 2015. In other words, one half of one percent will be enough to meet the Goals by 2015 throughout the world. After including other assistance priorities that are not directly related to the MDGs, such as protecting marine fisheries and managing geo-strategic crises, global aid will need to reach the longstanding target of 0.7 percent of the rich world's income by 2015. Fortunately, the wealthy nations have already committed to devoting 0.7 percent of their GNP to official development assistance. Unfortunately, however, the major donor countries are currently spending an average of only 0.25 percent of GNP on development assistance.

International assistance can be used to fund technical interventions that can concretely improve the lives of the poor. At the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, for example, the G8 countries identified the need to finance a major new malaria initiative to support access to anti-malarial insecticide-treated mosquito nets, adequate and sustainable supplies of combination therapies, household residual spraying, and other proven interventions.

Additionally, the Millennium Project calls for deepened and extended debt relief and the provision of grants rather than loans. “Debt sustainability” should be redefined as “the level of debt consistent with achieving the Goals,” so that countries are able to make needed public investments by 2015 without accumulating excessive debt. For many heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs), this will require full debt relief. As part of the G-8 process this year, the developed countries agreed to forgive the debt stocks of the HIPC countries, saving them approximately $1.5 billion a year in debt service payments. However, for some poor countries left off the HIPC list, meeting the Goals will still require significant debt cancellation. A corollary for low-income countries is that current and future development assistance should be grants rather than loans. While significant, debt relief must be viewed as a complement to rather than a substitute for real progress on increasing official development assistance to the poorest countries.
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Related Information
2006: The Year of Action
Millennium Villages
0.7 percent: Why it matters
Key Events in 2005
The 2005 World Summit
The G8 Gleneagles Summit: Doubling Aid to Africa
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