Bono Takes World-record-breaking Debt Petition to Millennium Summit
September 6, 2000 At the largest ever gathering of Heads of State, the United Nations Millennium Summit, U2's Bono, alongside Nigerian President Obasanjo, and Ann Pettifor of Jubilee 2000 will present a world-record-breaking petition calling for the cancellation of the debts of the poorest countries to Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Over 21.2 million people around the world have now signed the Jubilee 2000 petition making it the biggest number of signatures ever collected on one single issue. Including thumbprints and email petitions, signatures have now been collected from over 155 countries. Famous signatories include the Dalai
Lama, Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Ali, Bono, David Bowie, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Sir Bob Geldof.
Bono, in New York for the MTV awards, says U2's forthcoming album was inspired by his work with Jubilee 2000. An ardent spokesperson for debt cancellation, he has met both President Clinton and Pope John-Paul II to talk about the issue. Next week, Bono will be in Capitol Hill to lobby Congressmen to ensure that money for Third World debt cancellation is included in the budget for next year.
The petition is addressed to the leaders of the richest seven nations, the G7, who in July provoked outrage by failing to make progress on debt cancellation at their sumptuous summit in Okinawa. Kofi Annan has promised to ensure that debt cancellation will be a central issue at the Millennium Summit, where measures to eradicate poverty in the developing world are being discussed.
A bit of background:
Jubilee 2000 is an international movement active in 60 countries, campaigning for the cancellation of the debts not paid by the poorest countries in the year 2000.
In June 1999, the G8 pledged to cancel $100 billion of Third World debt, about a third of the total owed by the poorest countries. Very slow progress has been made, and countries that benefit will still have to pay more on debt than healthcare. Kofi Annan and Jubilee 2000 are proposing an independent arbitration process which would force creditors to deliver promises by more fairly balancing their interests with those of debtors.
The UNDP estimate that 19,000 children die a day in Sub-Saharan Africa because money is spent on debt repayments rather than basic healthcare and education. The poorest countries spend $60 million each day on repaying debt to creditors.
The current petition world record is for signatures collected in support of reunification of families in North and South Korea. The Guinness Book of Records has been notified of Jubilee's petition, and estimate that it will take 6 months to verify.
Send this page to a friend Join our mailing list Current stories Classifieds