South Summit Adopts Brazil’s Lula Zero Hunger Idea

The need to create innovative financial mechanisms to fight world hunger was included in the final declaration of the Second South Summit.

The document was officially presented yesterday, June 16, by the heads of state, at the closing of the meeting of officials of the countries of the G-77.


The event – which gathered representatives from 132 developing countries – started on Sunday, June 12, in Doha, the Qatari capital.


President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the only head of state who is nominally mentioned in the political declaration and in the action plan – which are part of the final document.


The texts mention that the initiative to create a world fund to fight hunger was by president Lula. The Brazilian launched the idea during the UN assembly general, last year in September, in New York.


Lula’s attitude was also commended yesterday by diplomats of the G-77 countries, during an on the topic by the president’s representative at the meeting, the Brazilian diplomat Antônio Patriota. According to Patriota’s presentation, US$ 50 billion per year will be necessary to fight hunger in developing countries.


According to the diplomat representing Brazil in the UN, Caio Mário Renault, the inclusion of this topic in the two documents is of interest to Brazil. In fact, since the idea was launched, technical groups in Brazil, Algeria, Chile, Germany, France and Spain, are already working on the topic.


One of the ideas is to create a tax on air tickets, which will be directed to help the poorer countries. The group in France is studying how this tax could work. The idea is to call on countries to join. A preliminary estimate indicates it would be possible to collect US$ 1 billion per year with the measure.


Work Without Taxes


According to Patriota, as well as this mechanism, another idea being studied is the possibility of cancelling the taxes on remittances between citizens in different countries.


In other words, when someone from Brazil goes to another country to work and sends money to family members, this transaction would not be taxed. The aim is that this will generate more income for those in the destination country, which is most probably developing.


According to minister Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, director of the Human Resources and Social Themes Department at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the idea is that the discussion on the theme advances and the mechanisms be perfected as time goes by. “This is a long term project,” she states.


The G-77


June 15, the presidents and representatives of the heads of state made out of the Sheraton Hotel, in Doha, a stage to defend the greater participation of the developing countries in global economy.


The Qatari emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, underlined the importance of the developing countries to increase trade amongst themselves, without leaving aside the economic relations with the countries of the north, the developed nations.


He also stated that developing countries have an important role in the UN reform. Among the main changes demanded are a better treatment on behalf of the international financing organisations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and the participation of a greater number of nations in the United Nations Security Council.


Apart from the emir from Qatar, officials such as the Malaysian prime minister, Abdullah Ahamad Badawi, the Jamaican prime minister, Percival Patterson, and the UN representative, Louise Frechette, were also in Doha.


Donation


The emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, committed to donate 0.7% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to help the poorer countries as of 2006.


The announcement was made during the Second South Summit, meeting of the countries of the G-77, the developing countries, which started on Sunday and ends today in Doha.


According to the CIA’s World Fact Book, Qatar GDP’s in 2004 was an estimated US$ 19.49 billion. 0.7% of this money would amount to US$ 136 million.


The initiative was praised by the G-77 president, Percival Patterson, in his closing speech. Patterson also thanked the emir for hosting the participants in his country.


The Qatari government was fully dedicated to the organisation of the meeting and helped the participants at all moments. The most luxurious hotels in the city were reserved for the meeting. The summit took place in the Sheraton Hotel.


Anba – www.anba.com.br

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