September 18, 2008

Call for Aid System Overhaul As Billions Wasted


Billions of pounds in emergency aid money will be wasted if it continues to be spent in the wrong way, according to a report out today.

Aid agency Care International is calling for an overhaul of the system where "aid is too late and too short-term".

Their report also says aid is too focused on saving lives and should concentrate more on protecting people's livelihoods, with investment in food production and reducing the risk of disaster.

The report, Living on the edge of emergency: Paying the price of inaction, comes ahead of next week's UN summit on tackling global poverty.

The event in New York will assess progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which promised to halve extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

The report says by that time Pounds 100 billion will have been spent this century fighting food emergencies.

According to the World Food Programme the number of people at risk of starvation has almost doubled since 2006 to 220 million.

Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of Care International UK, said: "The world's inaction on food emergencies has proved costly and it is the world's poorest people - stripped of enough to eat - who are paying the price.

"It is a disgrace that, despite warnings, money is still being spent in the wrong ways."

The report says progress has been made since 2006, when Care first called for an overhaul of the international aid system.

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