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G-8 debt relief applauded in BWA council resolution

DRESDEN, Germany (BP)–A resolution congratulating the G8, the world’s wealthiest nations, for approving a $100 billion debt-forgiveness package for a number of nations was adopted by the Baptist World Alliance General Council during its July 11-17 meeting in Dresden, Germany.
The resolution passed with only one dissenting vote, according to BWA officials.
BWA concern for debt relief was voiced in a resolution adopted at the 1998 council meeting in Durban, South Africa, endorsing a global “Jubilee 2000” campaign for a debt-free start to the next millennium for some of the world poorest countries.
A number of the 550 Baptist officials attending the BWA council meeting hail from such these countries.
In its Dresden resolution, the BWA General Council again asked the world Baptist community to support the Jubilee 2000 initiative and to encourage creditor institutions and governments to speedily implement decisions made by G8 leaders June 19 in Cologne, Germany.
Recognizing also the responsibility of the debtor nations, the BWA council called on the countries’ leaders to use any help received for debt relief for “tangible benefits for their citizens.”
As part of BWA’s worldwide ministry, council members voted a funding goal for 1999-2000 of more than $2.5 million for aid, development and fellowship assistance through Baptist World Aid, the BWA relief and development arm.
More than $1.5 million is designated for development in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, while nearly $1 million will help victims of disaster; $250,000 for Balkan relief; and more than $260,000 for reconstruction in Liberia and Sierra Leone and refugee assistance in other parts of Africa.
Paul Montacute, BWAid director reported more than $7.8 million in cash and gifts in kind were distributed through BWAid in 1998. Much of the money came for Kosovo refugees and victims of Hurricane Mitch in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“This is remarkable and tremendous, but we could do more,” Montacute said. Money for BWAid traditionally has come primarily from BWA member bodies, but Montacute reported that in 1998 only 39 percent of BWAid’s income came from member bodies, while 40 percent was contributed by individuals. In 1997, by comparison, 62 percent of the income came from member bodies and just 12 percent came from individuals.
Montacute especially appealed for continuing help for reconstruction in Honduras, one of the countries most affected by Hurricane Mitch.

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  • Wendy Ryan