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Concern Over US Attempts to Rewrite Devlpmnt Goals

TEAR Fund New Zealand

For Immediate Release: 29/08/05

TEAR Fund Expresses Concern Over US Attempts to Rewrite Development Goals

The Bush Administration is going back on commitments made at the recent G8 summit to fight against poverty and disease in the developing world. TEAR Fund New Zealand says efforts by the new United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, to compromise internationally agreed poverty reduction targets, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is arrogant and dangerous.

"Having read through Ambassador Bolton's draft rewrite of the 'Outcome Document' for the September Plenary of the General Assembly, made available through Agence France Presse (AFP), it is now clear that concerns about his appointment to this important post were well founded. With the unilateral approach of the US, even flying in the face of long-term allies like UK's Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, they seem committed to reshaping the UN to align to their own strategic interests," comments TEAR Fund Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup.

In particular the draft revision omits all reference to the MDGs, as well as poverty reduction targets including the .7% goal, preferring instead the Monterey Summit with its emphasis on trade and free-market reforms. It also undermines collective efforts against climate change, strikes the section requiring use force only as a last resorts, supports non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on the one hand but is careful to minimise disarmament on the other and removes paragraph 63 that urges the banning of anti-personnel mines.

In all, Bolton and his team have made over 700 changes and deletions on these and a raft of other vital issues in the 35-page document.

The document reads as counter-intuitive to professed US concerns for democracy and the fight against terrorism, especially given the clear link between poverty and susceptibility to terrorist propaganda and agendas.

"If the US team get their way it will be a bitterly disappointing end to a year that has promised so much hope and raised such public optimism about the very real possibility of a collective effort to end poverty in a generation. Poverty is not a bargaining chip to play with in order to win some advantage for US interests and it is essential that the New Zealand government works with the international community to ensure this important effort stays firmly on track and is not derailed."


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