It's more than just debt write off (NCE 16 June). According to Gordon Brown, the recent summit 'wrote off $55bn of debts but went far beyond debt cancellation - with a plan for $40bn extra aid - and new funds to tackle the scourge of HIV/Aids, TB and malaria.' The 'scourges' are shorthand for the UN Millennium Development Goals. They are to be funded by aid, the South African finance minister called it 'budget support'.
The MDGs are to achieve 'outcomes'; for example, halving the number of deaths in childbirth. The achievement of many of the outcomes will depend on the provision of infrastructure. It will be difficult to halve deaths in childbirth without water and sanitation, electricity and roads.
Gordon Brown is fi nding the money. Are civil engineers up to the challenge of spending some on the infrastructure needed to achieve the MDGs by 2015?
Rod Bridle, rodney.bridle@damsafety. co. uk