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Support a Currency Transaction Levy for Health

21. September 2009

    Today the world is facing an unprecedented global financial crisis, with serious impacts on health, poverty and hunger. The economic crisis is hitting developing countries, foreign investment is drying up, aid is being slashed and commodity prices and exports are plummeting. The Taskforce on Innovative International Financing estimates that an extra $30 billion a year is needed for health beyond regular development assistance commitments. The UN in a recent report has said that 104 million people will be pushed into hunger in 2009, moving the total to well beyond one billion. As well, the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria is facing a funding gap of between 4 and 8 billion dollars. In July a group of health advocates came together to discuss a global campaign for a currency transaction levy (CTL) for health. This levy, when applied to the four major currencies (US dollar, Yen, Euro and British Pound) could raise up to $33 billion a year, without distorting the financial markets, and thus providing an additional, predictable and sustainable source for funding. In the run-up to the Group of Twenty countries (G-20) meeting later this month, civil society coalitions are seeking endorsements from organizations in support of the Declaration of the Global Campaign for a Currency Transaction Levy for Health. This initiative is aimed to push governments to take the necessary steps to introduce such a levy, and make sure the benefits are dedicated to reach the health Millennium Development Goals.

    What can YOU Do?

    The EAA encourages faith-based organizations and people of faith to consider joining this effort and signing the Declaration because of its strong relevance to our HIV and AIDS Campaign.

    Sign on to the Declaration of the Global Campaign for Currency Transaction Levy for Health by sending an email to jw@icssupport.org
    Forward this Action Alert to your friends, members of your church, and religious leaders to add their names to this important action
    For more information on the Currency Transaction Levy for Health, visit: www.stampoutpoverty.org <http://www.stampoutpoverty.org>

    Text of the Declaration Declaration of the Global Campaign for a Currency Transaction Levy for Health


    WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, DECLARE:

    We are committed to raising sufficient finances to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Health, namely to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat the major diseases by 2015 (MDGs 4, 5 & 6).
    We acknowledge that neither allocated nor committed levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and domestic financing are sufficient to meet these Goals, a situation compounded by the global financial crisis, which is severely affecting the poorest countries in the world.
    We call upon donors to keep their commitments to allocate 0.7% of their national budgets to ODA and that African countries, similarly, honour their Abuja Declaration pledge to commit at least 15% of their national budgets to health.
    We are committed to locating and harnessing additional, new and predictable income streams that are capable of meeting funding shortfalls.
    A Currency Transaction Levy (CTL) has the potential to raise revenue of at least $30 billion a year on a sustainable, predictable and on-going basis from the foreign exchange (fx) market, that has not been privy to levies or taxation to date.
    The CTL is technically simple to implement: the foreign exchange market is fully electronic, revenue collection would be automatic, with no scope for avoidance.
    At the proposed low rate of 0.005%, the foreign exchange market would not be adversely affected whilst at the same time significant income would be generated.
    o The CTL would be applied to the wholesale foreign exchange market only, and not affect the retail market nor have an impact on migrant remittances.
    o The proceeds of the CTL should benefit the health MDGs, most notably MDGs 4 and 5 on maternal and child health, which are seriously under-resourced, and Universal Access to HIV, TB and malaria prevention, treatment, care and support. The international community currently has the mechanisms in place to channel the funds and rapidly scale up interventions, (e.g., through the GAVI Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNITAID).

    We therefore strongly urge decision-makers to take all the steps necessary for introduction of a Currency Transaction Levy on their currencies at the earliest possible time with revenue dedicated to meet the MDGs for Health, and importantly ensure CTL proceeds are additional to, and DO NOT replace, existing aid commitments. For past Action Alerts and Bulletins from the HIV and AIDS Campaign, see www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/news/ <http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/news/>  <http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/news/>

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The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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