With the global economy in crisis, President George W. Bush urged countries in the developed world to honor their commitments to programs—including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—that provide foreign assistance to fight disease and counteract poverty around the world, The Associated Press reports.

Bush held a daylong summit on international development aid on October 21; attendees included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and musician and activist Bob Geldof.

“Given the recent economic downturn, where there is concern that developing countries and their citizens will be more vulnerable, it’s more important than ever that we and other developed countries keep our commitments and continue to fund development assistance programs, as well as work to increase trade,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

According to the AP, the summit unites 500 representatives of nations that receive U.S. aid along with faith-based organizations and non-governmental, private and public leaders from the United States and developing countries.