In 1996, the international donor community agreed to launch a debt initiative designed to implement a strategy of burden-sharing among all creditors to reduce the debt of the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) to a sustainable level, thus providing an exit from the rescheduling process. Today four countries (Uganda, Bolivia, Guyana and Mozambique) have reached final completion. For the HIPCs, repeated reschedulings of bilateral debt in the past have not significantly reduced the amount of outstanding debt. Expansion of the HIPC programme, as proposed by the G-7 following the Cologne Summit in June 1999, and as endorsed by the international finance institutions at the end of September 1999, addresses the limitations of the previous initiative by providing deeper, faster and broader debt relief and broadening the scope of the initiative.
Increasing concern has been voiced about the urgent need to reduce poverty in poor countries. In 1999 the members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of OECD have renewed their commitments in respect of a development partnership strategy designed to reduce the proportion of the world's population living in extreme poverty by 50 per cent by the year 2015. The volume of ODA should be progressively brought into line with the United Nations target of 0.7 % of industrialized countries' GDP and the target of 0.2 % for the LDCs. In addition, the international community could consider the possibilities of bolder initiatives in this field whose objectives would include contributing to human development. Lessons should also be drawn from successful examples of the channelling of official aid with a view to encouraging the mobilization and effective use of official resources for development.