Extract from Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez’s speech at the High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals at the UN in New York, 25 September 2008
“Of course, for the majority of us, we don’t need the Millennium Development Goals to know what poverty is. In Honduras, where I come from, we experience its limitations daily.
“We do need the MDGs though to galvanise governments into urgent action by living up to past promises on development. For many of us, the M in MDGs should stand for minimum. We want to see our governments go further, especially on environmental sustainability.
“Ten years ago this October, Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America destroying 50 years of progress in Honduras alone. Mitch was then the fourth most intense storm in the Atlantic in recorded history. But the storm to end all storms was more like a beginning. Mitch has already dropped to seventh place in a few scant years. “Although climate change is a global problem that affects us all, the poor suffer disproportionally more than the rich. The paradox is that they bear least responsibility for the pollution causing global warming.
“The damage we’ve done to our planet and the damage it’s now doing to us should be a warning sign that the pursuit of greed without consequences is not just wrong, it’s unsustainable.
“We are witnessing a world being created where the greediness of a few is leaving the majority on the margin of history. I have seen that greed in my own country where international mining companies extract from the land its riches, leaving it poisoned and the people who live there worse off.
“Failing to achieve the MDGs is not just about a lack of finance, or improvements in the way aid is spent, or deeper debt relief, or a more just trading system.
“What we are suffering from is an acute poverty of imagination. We need to be able to imagine ourselves not in a ‘Third World’ and a ‘First World’ but in “One World” in which our duties to the poor are shared.”