Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : UK urges progress for the World´s poorest countries [April 2000]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 4 April 2000.

Proposals to ensure that progress is made in getting debt relief to the world’s poorest countries were outlined today by the Chancellor Gordon Brown and International Development Secretary Clare Short.

At a seminar at Downing Street this morning, UK Ministers told representatives of NGOs and religious faiths that they had written to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank suggesting that a Heavily Indebted Poor Countries – HIPC Review and Implementation Group is established.

It is proposed that the Group be a joint World Bank/IMF body that provides co- ordinated focus to the initiative, ensures HIPC is implemented consistently, identifies and deals with any reasons for delay and provides a single point of contact for shareholders, aid donors and NGOs.

The Chancellor said:

“We want to see faster progress on getting debt relief to the poorest countries. We place great emphasis on countries coming forward at the earliest possible opportunity to receive interim debt relief because this is the money they need to spend on improving primary health care, providing primary education and basic sanitation.

“We believe that the speedy, effective implementation of HIPC will be an acid test of the international financial institutions’ ability to help the poorest countries.”

Clare Short said:

“The agreement that debt relief and IMF programmes were focused on poverty was an enormous gain. We must find a way to ensure that this is driven forward.”