Jacques Chirac: Why not consider a tax on air travel to combat Aids?

From a speech on global poverty at the World Economic Forum in Davos by the French President
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The Independent Online

A new global vision of development is required. The Sachs report shows that it is not yet too late to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006, we will need to mobilise almost $50bn (£26bn) of additional official aid.

A new global vision of development is required. The Sachs report shows that it is not yet too late to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006, we will need to mobilise almost $50bn (£26bn) of additional official aid.

These amounts may seem considerable. They are, in fact, minimal compared with the wealth generated by globalisation.All countries that do not yet contribute 0.7 percent of their GDP should commit, as France and the United Kingdom have done. But let us be realistic. That will not be enough. France suggests moving simultaneously in two directions. First direction - the International Finance Facility. We are also prepared to look at a similar mechanism to fight Aids, as proposed by the UK. But how to reimburse these loans without reducing international aid or putting too great a strain on budgets?

I propose an experimental levy to finance the fight against Aids. Why Aids? Because, we are failing in the face of this terrible pandemic.

We need to mobilise at least $10bn per year, instead of $6bn, as is the case at present. Let us look into the option of a contribution from international financial transactions. It would enable us to raise $10bn per year. Why not ask countries that maintain bank secrecy to partially compensate for the consequences of world tax evasion, through a levy on flows of foreign capital in and out of their territory. Third avenue. Let us look at [a levy] on the fuel used by air or sea transport. This would be another way to mobilise several billion dollars.

There is yet another way. A small levy on the three billion plane tickets sold each year worldwide. A contribution of one dollar per ticket, for example, would raise at least $3bn, without compromising the economic balance of the sector.

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