Next week, leaders of the G20 meet to
talk about the global financial crisis. The G20 is a grouping of the world's
rich nations, as well as emerging economic powers, such as China and India. The
summit is scheduled for April 2nd in London.
leader of a humanitarian organization is calling on G20 to keep its commitments
to poor nations, despite the economic turmoil. Tom Arnold is chief executive of
Concern Worldwide and wrote about his concerns at irshtimes.com. From Dublin,
Ireland, he told VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua that "any
credible program aimed at restoring global economic growth must protect the
very poorest for reasons of justice and solidarity."
says, "I mean at a very basic level, if the very poorest people in this world
are put into desperate circumstances, I think we're going to, not only offend
the principles of justice, but we're also going to increase political
to last year's food riots in more than 30 countries, when food and energy
prices soared and food supplies dropped, he says, "I think in the interests of
overall political stability we want to make sure that very poor people…are not
driven to rioting and so on. So, I think there's a justice issue here, but
there's also a political stability issue."
about persuading citizens in developed countries to help poor nations instead
of just concentrating on the home front, Arnold says, "I think we justify it by
certainly appealing to the long-standing generosity of the Irish public. But
also to say that even if our economic circumstances have disimproved (sic), the
aid that we're giving is going to people, who are immeasurably poorer than any
Irish citizen living in Ireland. And so that is one dimension. The other thing
is I would also appeal to peoples' and countries' long-term self-interests."
says Ireland has a reputation of being generous and needs to maintain that
reputation even during tough economic times. He says the G20 nations should be
similarly concerned about their reputations. In his opinion article, Arnold
writes, "Any vision for Ireland's future economic success must look to such
factors as reputation and goodwill."
tells VOA, "I think we all need goodwill. I mean when it comes down to
decisions like economic investment or even some decisions that will be made on
the part of governments which will influence trade or influence investment
patterns, relationships between governments and between people are important."
He says Ireland has benefitted from its good relationship with the United
States, for example. "Ireland has also got very strong relationships with many
of the African countries. And that's again a legacy of the contribution that
Irish missionaries made over many years. And I suppose my basic point is that
when you do have that goodwill, it is somewhere or other along the line going
to translate into political and economic benefit for you," he says.
On a humanitarian level, the head of
Concern Worldwide says, "We've got about a billion people in the world who are
going to bed hungry tonight. That's a little short of one-seventh of the world
population. That is wrong. And those of us who are fortunate enough never to
get into that situation of being really hungry I think have a moral
responsibility to help out. But equally, having a billion people in the world
hungry is not conducive to stability. And I think the world's rich and poor
nations must work together to change that situation."