Kofi Annan vaatii vakuuttavaa velkahelpotusohjelmaa

Juha Rekola

On selvää, että ilman vakuuttavaa velkahelpotusohjelmaa tavoitteemme köyhyyden puolittamisesta vuoteen 2015 mennessä tulee jäämään pelkäksi haaveiluksi, sanoo YK:n pääsihteeri Kofi Annan ns. Millenium-raportissaan, joka liittyy YK:n tämän vuoden syksyllä alkavaan Millenium-istuntoon (Millenium Assembly).

Raportti käsittelee laajasti maailman tilaa ja antaa monia toimenpidesuosituksia kansainväliselle yhteisölle.

Raportti käsittelee mm. kehitysmaiden velkaongelmaa tukien monia kansainvälisen Jubilee 2000 -liikkeen ehdotuksista. Kofi Annan ehdottaa mm. köyhien maiden velkasaatavien täydellistä mitätöintiiä ja riippumattoman velkojen selvittelykomitean perustamista.

Millenium-raportin velkahelpotusta käsittelevä osuus kuuluu seuraavasti:

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Millennium Report /Debt relief

178. High levels of external debt are a crushing burden on economic growth in many of the poorest countries. Debt servicing requirements in hard currency prevent them from making adequate investments in education and health care, and from responding effectively to natural disasters and other emergencies. Debt relief for those heavily indebted poor countries must, therefore, be an integral part of the international community's contribution to development.

179. Repeated rescheduling of these countries' bilateral debts has not significantly reduced their overall indebtedness. In 1996, therefore, the international donor community launched an initiative to reduce these countries' debt to sustainable levels - the so-called HIPC initiative. In the three years since its adoption, however, only four countries have fully qualified. Another nine are reaching that point, while five others are engaged in preliminary discussions. But progress has been slow.

180. A proposed expansion of the HIPC programme - agreed by the Cologne Summit of the G-8 in June 1999 and endorsed by the international financial institutions in September - provides for deeper, faster and broader debt relief. But it has yet to be implemented. Other obstacles remain. For instance, there is no mechanism for handling the large-scale restructuring of debt owed to foreign lenders by many private borrowers in the banking and corporate sector in developing countries.

181. I call upon the donor countries and the international financial institutions to consider wiping off their books all official debts of the heavily indebted poor countries in return for those countries making demonstrable commitments to poverty reduction.

182. In designing such national poverty reduction programmes, governments are encouraged to consult closely with civil society.

183. I would go a step further and propose that, in the future, we consider an entirely new approach to handling the debt problem. The main components of such an approach could include immediate cancellation of the debts owed by countries that have suffered major conflicts or natural disasters; expanding the number of countries in the HIPC scheme by allowing them to qualify on grounds of poverty alone; pegging debt repayments at a maximum percentage of foreign exchange earnings; and establishing a debt arbitration process to balance the interests of creditors and sovereign debtors and introduce greater discipline into their relations.

184. Let us, above all, be clear that, without a convincing programme of debt relief to start the new millennium, our objective of halving world poverty by 2015 will be only a pipe dream.