Development Ministers’ Meeting ends

Family photo of the G8 Development Ministers’ Meeting


“Forceful, effective, coordinated responses” to the financial crisis that has hit the world economy and a pledge to seek joint strategies for alleviating the impact of the current tough economic situation on the poorest countries, with a particular eye to Africa: such is the message issued by the G8 ministers’ meeting that ended in Rome today and was attended by Egypt, the African Union and the NEPAD in addition to the G8 and G5 countries.

Restating the pledges given at the Gleneagles G8 in 2005, and at the same time promoting a “global partnership” on economic development and international cooperation, the Chair’s Summary of the meeting calls on the governments to “act in a coordinated manner to prevent the economic crisis from degenerating,” in the poorest countries in particular, “into an even deeper social crisis.” This is why, the summary says, “responding to the needs of the most vulnerable communities in the world is crucial to everybody’s well-being and security.”

Although, in order to be successful, “economic growth must be at the centre of any strategy adopted to overcome the crisis,” the Ministers assembled in Rome also stressed the necessity of adopting “innovative development funding”: new tools setting out to foster economic growth primarily in the countries that needed it most. In addition to the customary forms of aid, at the proposal of the Italian G8 Presidency, the countries and companies involved are called upon to cut the commission on remittances made by immigrants to their native countries by 50%, "from the current 10% to 5%, over 5 years.”
“This new form of financing is additional to the traditional mechanisms,” Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini explained at the closing press conference: “It does not replace them. If agreement is reached on halving commission on the money that migrants send their families, this measure alone would free up 12 to 15 billion dollars a year for their home countries,” he added.

The meeting also highlighted the need to enhance and increase the tools for monitoring the economic indicators with a view to creating “an effective check that will act as an early warning system” capable of averting a repetition of similar crises in the future.

Climate change was another issue at the centre of the talks in Rome. The Chair’s Summary of the Development Ministers’ Meeting voices hopes of “a greener future” and advocates “embarking on rapid, incisive drives to counter climate change,” emphasising the importance of reaching “an all-embracing, ambitious, joint agreement at the United Nations Conference on the Climate” to be held in Copenhagen this December.