In my new book "the End o po erty" ("the end o po erty"), I show how we can end extreme po erty by 2025, but only i the rich world on its promise to help the poorest countries. To thri e and to encourage in estment in the pri ate sector needed or long-term growth, an economy needs health and education systems operational, in estment in the management o water and nutrients o the soil, and a basic in rastructure such as electricity and motorized transport. The poorest countries, e en those that are well go erned, lack the resources to inance these in estments.
The lack o adequate oreign assistance is one o the major disgraces o our planet and the United States were the most o all. It is urgent that they realize the global realities and that they keep their commitments. The most amous promise by rich countries was to help the poorest countries equi alent to at least 0.7 o GNP. The commitment was made orty- our years ago, in 1961, when the General Assembly o the United Nations agreed that oreign assistance should increase signi icantly "in order to achie e as soon as possible about 1 o the total national income o economically de eloped countries". At this time, oreign assistance was about 0.5 o the income o the rich countries.
Despite the promises, aid has steadily declined. Early 1990s, o icial de elopment assistance was still around 0.33 o GNP o donor countries. In the early 2000s, it had declined to approximately 0.22. It is currently roughly 0.25. And that the long-term decline o the share o GNP de oted to aid has not deterred the rich world o promising repeatedly to reach 0.7 o GDP, including at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and the Copenhagen Summit on social de elopment in 1995.
The new century leaders o the world met to adopt the Millennium de elopment goals, the global commitment to hal e extreme po erty by 2015. To implement these commitments, these leaders, including US President George w. Bush, again gathered in Monterrey, in the Mexico, to endorse a text, the Monterrey consensus, which de ines the actions to be taken to achie e this goal. The e ecti e presence o Bush is important because rich countries ha e recalled the objecti e o 0.7 o GNP and the United States ha e signed on consensus.
The US Go ernment said o ten these days that it is not bound by any "arbitrary", as encrypted target 0.7 o GNP. Its leaders e en argue that the United States are ne er committed to such a goal. The United States and other countries howe er actually signed the Monterrey consensus urges in ited "de eloped countries that ha e not yet done so to take concrete steps to achie e the target o 0.7 per cent o their gross national product or o icial de elopment assistance". Di icult to be more clear. Un ortunately, the United States took absolutely no "concrete action" to re lect this commitment.
In act, US o icial de elopment assistance amounts to only 0.15 o GNP o America, or less than a quarter o the global goal. This contrasts with the 4 o GDP that the US spends on de ense, roughly $ 500 billion this year. There ore, the US spends approximately thirty times more on de ence in peace ul de elopment or the poorest countries.
In the world, i e countries currently spend 0.7 o their GNP to assisting the poorest countries: the Denmark, the Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Norway and the Sweden. Six other countries, in Europe, ha e recently pro ided to reach 0.7 o their GNP in aid here 2015: the Belgium, the inland, the rance, the Ireland, the Spain and the United Kingdom. In his report be ore the UN Summit o world leaders to be held in September 2005, the Secretary-General o the United Nations, Ko i Annan, asked all donor countries to reach at least 0.5 o GDP by 2009 and 0.7 in 2015. It also noted that countries like the Germany and the Japan, who aspire to become permanent members o the UN Security Council, ha e a particular responsibility to ensure that the world reaching the target.
Un ortunately, the ideological spokesman o the super-rich in the United States, including the editorial page o the Wall Street Journal, remain deeply opposed to oreign aid, e en i it's just 70 cents per hundred dollars o income! In the re iew o my book, an article in the Wall Street Journal said that I was calling "gi e till it hurts". But there is a limit to greed. I am con ident that the Wall Street Journal does not really represent interests or opinions o many wealthy Americans, or e en the majority o them, including the millionaires and billionaires whose contributions to the assistance could make a huge di erence to the li es o millions o indi iduals.
Se eral notable philanthropists as Bill Gates already show the path. I belie e that ew wealthy people would re use to gi e a small portion o their ast wealth or the chance to sa e the li es o millions o people each year and help the poorest countries to de elop the irst oot on the ladder o economic de elopment. They will know that they would sa e not only li es, but also contribute to a more secure and more prosperous world. Rather than worrying that 70 cents per $ 100 to gi e until it hurts, our slogan in the rich countries should "gi e up to cure".