3E Intelligence

Commission President Barroso today (25 Jan) expressed his support for a Davos declaration on the Millennium Development Goals and promised to “discuss with Member States the importance of scaling up aid budgets”.

By putting this issue in the context of “financial aid”, developed countries can feel good about themselves. They are helping (or at least pretending to help) the poor of this world and are willing to do even more in the future (not that their promise to reach 0.7% of Gross National Income is very new – it goes back to my political beginnings and, Jesus, that was ages ago).

That being said, the whole “aid” debate takes on a whole other dimension when one looks at it from a different perspective, as demonstrated by a recent academic study done at the University of Berkeley (California, US). The study “The Debt of Nations and the Distribution of Ecological Impacts from Human Activities” showed that the costs of the ecological footprint of rich nations on the poor amounts to more than the developing countries combined foreign debt (1.8 trillion dollars in 2005 US currency). For more on this story, see a good summary by EurekAlert.

So, thanks, Mr. President for your support, but maybe some humility and some small feeling of guilt might be appropriate?

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