TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, June 28, 2010 (ENS)
More funding to address climate change and food security will be available through the Multilateral Development Banks, said the G20 group of the world's largest economies in a declaration at the conclusion of their annual meeting here Sunday.The G20 governments said they have increased capital funding to the Multilateral Development Banks by $350 billion, allowing them to nearly double their lending.
In their closing declaration the government leaders said, "This new capital is joined to ongoing and important reforms to make these institutions more transparent, accountable and effective, and to strengthen their focus on lifting the lives of the poor, underwriting growth, and addressing climate change and food security."
Winding up their meeting inside the Toronto Convention Centre on Sunday, the G20 leaders said the earthquake-ravaged country of Haiti, now facing hurricane season, will receive more financial help and will not have to repay its debts to any international financial institutions.
"We stand united with the people of Haiti and are providing much-needed reconstruction assistance, including the full cancellation of all of Haiti's IFI debt," the leaders declared. "We welcome the launching of the Haiti Reconstruction Fund."
The leaders pledged more funding and more action to increase global food security. They are furthering work begun in 2009 at the L'Aquila G8 Summit in Italy where 14 countries made commitments to food security for the more than one billion people who suffer from chronic hunger.
G8 and G20 donor governments have invested in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, a new trust fund administered by the World Bank. Donors who have made commitments to the fund include the United States ($475 million), Canada ($230 million), Spain ($95 million), South Korea ($50 million) and the Gates Foundation ($30 million).
The fund will finance medium-term to long-term elements of agricultural development in low-income countries to raise agricultural productivity with better water management by investing in irrigation infrastructure and improved land use planning, among other initiatives.
The leaders expressed their support for "phase out over the medium term of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, taking into account vulnerable groups and their development needs."
President Barack Obama told reporters in a news conference Sunday, "The G20 leaders renewed our commitment, made in Pittsburgh, to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. The United States has laid out our plans for achieving this goal, and we're urging our G20 partners to do so as well. This would be one of the most important steps we can take to create clean energy jobs, increase our energy security and address the threat of climate change."
"Following the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," the leaders said, "we recognize the need to share best practices to protect the marine environment, prevent accidents related to offshore exploration and development, as well as transportation, and deal with their consequences.