Three billion of the world’s population survives on less than three dollars per day, said Saudi Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, President of the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Institutions (AGFUND).
Delivering the keynote address at the recent Arab Aid Symposium, Prince Bin Talal painted a starkly grim picture of poverty and destitution the world over. “More than 800 million people suffer from hunger, thousands perish daily from preventable diseases and vast numbers of children are growing up unable to read or write.”
He criticized the “deplorable excess and waste” in the wealthy countries. “It would seem that more than ever before, we are living in a world starkly divided into the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. That such polarized disparity continues to persist in what is, after all, a time of unprecedented prosperity, is indeed shameful,” the Prince said.
He was also critical of the 2000 United Nations Summit, and in particular the Millennium Declaration adopted by some 150-world leaders who had committed to achieving several important development goals by 2015.
“Subsequently, there has certainly been no shortage of dialogue or of lofty promises and noble resolutions. And, are we delivering? Obviously not. Here we are, almost a quarter of the way through the proposed time frame, and still with very little in the way of concrete achievement to show for our efforts,” the AGFUND President said.
He claimed that the Arab Aid track record is better than that of the richer, industrialized nations. At 0.85 percent of their gross national product (GNP) offered as aid, Arab Aid surpasses by far the 0.3 percent of Western donors and is above the internationally accepted target of 0.7 percent.
Arab Aid members have extended over $70 billion through more than 4,500 financing operations benefiting over 147 countries. “The Arab Aid institutions are ready and willing to play their part and welcome a deepening of cooperation with their Western counterparts,” Prince Talal added.
Arab Aid comprises the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Islamic Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Institutions (AGFUND). — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )