Budget request is a mixed bag for world’s poor

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) February 13, 2012 — The Obama administration’s FY2013 budget request is a mixed bag for the world’s poor, with continued investment in international assistance overall but targeted cuts in areas such as global health and humanitarian assistance, said leading NGO alliance InterAction.

“Foreign assistance already amounts to less than 1 percent of the federal budget. We understand that this is a difficult fiscal climate, but any further trimming of these core accounts is counter-productive and impedes our efforts to build more self-sufficient populations,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction.

“We hope Congress will continue to support direct investments in innovative programs like new life-saving vaccines or teaching agriculture practices, which help people in less-developed countries feed themselves. These are key components of a strategy to make the delivery of aid more effective, transparent and accountable,” said Worthington.
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Foreign aid cuts would damage U.S. interests

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 27, 2011 — House Republican appropriators today continued their assault on U.S. international efforts to reduce poverty, address climate change, and respond to famine and other disasters. This comes a week after the House Foreign Affairs Committee also sought to gut core development accounts.

“These cuts will not only harm U.S. national interests, they will have a huge impact on the lives of those who are already marginalized in the poorest corners of the earth,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs.

He added: “The argument that a nation with an annual GDP of $14.6 trillion cannot afford to invest a fraction of 1% of that to proactively work to build a safer, more prosperous world, and to fully fund desperately needed humanitarian activity, is simply false.”

Some of the deepest cuts suggested by appropriators today include:

• USAID Operating Expenses slashed  by 27% to $982.5 million (was $1.3 billion in FY11)

• Overall poverty-focused international development and humanitarian assistance cut by 13% to $13.95 billion (was $15.95 billion in FY11)

• Development Assistance cut by 18% to $2.1 billion (was $2.5 billion in FY11)

• International Disaster Assistance: cut by 12% to $758 million (was $863 million in FY11, $1.3 billion in FY10 including emergency funding);

• Contributions to multilateral efforts to combat climate change: Cut to zero from $248 million in FY11, $388 million in FY10.

“With the worst drought in 60 years hitting parts of the Horn of Africa, these cuts amount to the U.S. turning its back on its own strategic interests and walking away from long held international commitments.   For America’s own good and for those around the world who look to the U.S. for leadership, we need to do better,” said Worthington.

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InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit www.interaction.org

UN calls for wholesale rebuilding of Haiti

Dozens of nations and organizations Wednesday pledged almost $10 billion in immediate and long-term aid to help Haiti recover from the recent devastating earthquake, just hours after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a day-long donors’ conference yesterday in New York by calling for the wholesale rebuilding of the country.

Of that amount more than $5 billion has been pledged for the next 18 months, well above the $3.9 billion sought for that period.

“Today, the international community has come together, dramatically, in solidarity with Haiti and its people,” Mr. Ban said in a closing news conference at UN Headquarters in New York. “Today, the United Nations are united for Haiti,” he said. “Today, we have mobilized to give Haiti and its people what they need most: hope for a new future. We have made a good start, we need now to deliver.”

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Pope urges G8 nations to continue to aid developing nations

Zenit reports that

Benedict XVI is exhorting world leaders to look at the economic crisis as a reason to continue sending aid to underdeveloped nations, not as an excuse to stop.

In the text, the Holy Father deals with the challenges posed by the global crisis and calls on world political leaders to “convert the model of global development” to the values of solidarity and of “charity in truth.” Charity in truth is the theme at the center of the new papal encyclical that will be published on Tuesday.

Benedict XVI observed that the present economic crisis threatens to become a pretext for cancelling or drastically reducing international aid, especially for Africa and other less economically developed countries.

The Pope thus called on the G-8 and governments of the whole world to make sure that “development assistance, above all that directed toward the improvement of human resources, be maintained and strengthened, not only despite the crisis, but precisely because of it.”

Full article is here.

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Venezuelan aid extended to refugees

The Venezuelan Government has expanded micro-finance assistance to Colombian refugees and asylum-seekers in border areas, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday.

“This plan promotes self-employment in host communities and is a big step in the effort to protect and integrate some 12,000 asylum-seekers who are waiting for status recognition,” Ron Redmond, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
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