UN seeks aid money from oil
21 May 2014, 08:25
Geneva - A senior United Nations official says the UN is talking to oil-producing African countries about levying 10c on every barrel produced to provide funds to help the poorest nations improve public health.
The proposed funding mechanism would follow two other schemes to raise money for development in unconventional ways - a levy on airline tickets in more than 90 countries and a tax planned by 11 European nations on share transactions.
The UN under-secretary general for innovative finance for development, Philippe Douste-Blazy, said he hoped the new arrangement would be cemented by early 2015.
"In 2014 I will be working with African leaders for a tax on natural resource extraction, a very important development which we will soon be able to announce," said Douste-Blazy, a former French minister of health and foreign affairs.
Asked who would pay the oil levy, he said it would come via state budgets and "unfortunately" not from the oil companies, who he suggested were not so receptive to the idea.
The levy could also be imposed on gas and mining production, he said, without elaborating.
Douste-Blazy is the chairperson of Unitaid, a body hosted by the World Health Organisation that provides long-term funding for the treatment of HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis in developing nations.
It was launched in 2006 by the governments of Britain, Brazil, Chile, France and Norway and about 75% of its $300m budget is now funded by the levy on air tickets.
Douste-Blazy said 94 countries had introduced the air ticket levy. Morocco was the latest to sign up and he hoped Japan would follow soon.
He said he wanted to tackle chronic malnutrition, key to the Millennium Development Goals, a set of UN-sponsored targets to reduce global poverty and improve health by 2015, but said aid budgets were shrinking just as needs were growing.