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2005: The Year in Development

I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Development Report.

Two thousand five was a year with several important developments in the world of development. Among them were the decisions made in July at the Group of Eight meeting in Scotland.

Leaders of the G-Eight nations agreed to increase development aid. They also agreed to cancel debts owed to international lenders by some of the world's poorest nations. Others could have their debts forgiven in the future.

Two thousand five was also a year for dealing with the effects of nature at its most unforgiving. In October, an earthquake killed more than eighty thousand in Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. And December marked one year since the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than two hundred thousand people.

In both cases, the world looked to the United Nations for help. The United Nations celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in two thousand five. Secretary General Kofi Annan presented a major reform plan in March. He proposed a bigger Security Council. But he called for a smaller and more effective group to replace the U.N. human rights commission.

The plan also included ideas for dealing with terrorism and for establishing new rules on when to use military force. World leaders discussed the proposals when they met in New York in September.

At the same time, Bill Clinton held his own conference in New York. The former president raised more than one thousand million dollars to fight poverty and other world problems.

Finally, in December, the World Trade Organization reached a compromise agreement in Hong Kong. Ministers from the one hundred forty-nine member group argued over farm protections. Outside, protesters fought with police.

Wealthy countries agreed on two thousand thirteen as the end date for export assistance to their farmers. They also agreed on other steps to increase trade with the world's poorest nations.

Critics, however, said the results in Hong Kong left much to be desired. The World Trade Organization aims to complete negotiations on a wider agreement in two thousand six.

The World Bank has been among those pushing for free trade as a way to pull millions of people out of poverty. But a new study by economists at the bank says trade reforms would help some countries more quickly than others.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. And it can be found online at I’m Steve Ember.