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Pressure On G20 Leader To Tax Financial Transactions For Aid Money Intensifies

G20 finance ministers meeting in London next Friday, ahead of a G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, “will face concerted pressure to introduce a tax on financial transactions as a coalition of anti-poverty campaigners aim to force the issue onto the agenda,” the Guardian reports.

According to the newspaper, pressure for the tax, which will be used for aid to developing countries, increased after Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner said he would support a tax on foreign exchange transactions. Philippe Douste-Blazy, the U.N. secretary-general’s special adviser on innovative financing for development, said he hoped that “one head of state will propose this tax” because the “economic crisis is going to have serious consequences on developing countries” and because the system needs to be redefined. “[T]his is a crisis of ethics, a problem of cynicism with the system. We can’t continue like this,” he said.

“In May, the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, announced the formation of an international working party that includes fellow G20 country Brazil to study how to implement currency transaction levies for development and health. It was the first time such a high level public endorsement of the proposal was made by a country,” the Guardian writes.

David Hillman, from the group Stamp Out Poverty, said: “This has specifically united campaign groups focused on child health, maternal health and combatting HIV/Aids in the world’s poorest countries…This is an unprecedented coming together of health organisations critically aware that G8 commitments, such as universal access to HIV/Aids treatment by 2010, won’t be achieved and in fact are going into reverse” (Mathiason, 8/27).