Letter: Dissenting bishops

Letter: Dissenting bishops

Sir: As the Lambeth conference ends, there is clear moral consensus emerging among Anglican bishops worldwide on the issue of international debt.

The Lambeth conference heard bishops who spoke for communities deprived of health care and education. Yet, however hard they try, and they will try, churches in countries such as Mozambique or Tanzania cannot adequately protect the poor amid shattered infrastructures and crumbling welfare networks.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, providing effective debt relief to the 20 worst-affected countries would cost between $5.5bn and $7.7bn, less than the price of one Stealth bomber and roughly equivalent to the cost of building the Euro-Disney theme park in France.

The cost of not doing this, the UNDP estimates, from 1997 to 2000 will be the lives of 21 million children in Africa alone by the new millennium.

We hope that the bishops will respond to the call by the Archbishop of Cape Town for the third millennium to signify a new beginning for the Third World. We hope the world's main industrialised countries, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will also heed the call.


Director of Policy and Campaigns, Christian Aid