Brazil’s special presidential advisor and coordinator of the Zero Hunger Program, Brother Betto, affirmed today that 49 heads of State””including Pope John Paul II””have already signed on to the Brazilian government’s suggestion to discuss the creation of an international fund against hunger and for development.
The meeting is scheduled for September 23 at United Nations headquarters in New York.
Brother Betto participated this morning in the 1st Energy Fostering Citizenship Seminar, with representatives of 80 companies.
The special adviser also stated that, despite the difficulties and government bureaucracy, the results of the Zero Hunger Program have exceeded expectations.
Brother Betto recalled that over five million families should receive benefits from the program by the end of this year. The resources, he said, have increased and will come to US$ 5.10 billion (15 billion reais) in 2004.
Ealier this year, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Horst Kí¶hler, said that Brazil is on the right path to development.
In a collective interview in São Paulo, after spending the day in Minas Gerais visiting social projects such as “Milk for Life” and “Backland Kitchens,” Kí¶hler declared that he is really “very impressed” by the readiness and creativity of Brazilian citizens.
The director of the Fund also stated that he is impressed by the accomplishment of many of the items on the agenda announced by President Lula at the end of 2002, such as the tax and social security reforms.
“These reforms will have medium and long-term effects on the country’s growth,” Kí¶hler affirmed.
He also talked to Brazilian authorities about the need to intensify investments in infrastructure as a instrument for growth.
“The Fund has already acknowledged that the reduction in investments is not a positive factor, and we are looking into how to help Latin America in this, but without abandoning fiscal prudence, or else things might backfire,” he said.
One of the routes being examined by the Fund are the public-private partnerships. The IMF is also considering the possibility of modifications in the calculation of the primary surplus, such as the removal of spending on infrastructure maintenance from the investment category (these costs would be computed as operating expenses).
But nothing seems to have caught Kí¶hler’s attention as much as the projects he visited in Minas. After repeating various times that he was “very impressed,” the IMF director insisted on affirming that “the Brazilian people want to help themselves and need help. I believe that the international community will help and that the IMF will also do its part in the Zero Hunger Program.”