December 12, 2011
By Patrick Nicholson Thousands of civil society campaigners marched through Durban to protest at a failure of governments within the UN climate talks to make progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and providing financing for poor countries to adapt to the consequences of extreme weather conditions. Among them were Caritas staff from Africa, Europe and Latin America, who joined interfaith campaigners calling for a voice at the talks. “We are protagonists of our own future,” said Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga earlier to some of the marchers. They were participating at a meeting organised by German Catholic development agency Misereor and Catholic development network CIDSE.
By Patrick Nicholson African faith leaders sent a strong message to delegates at the UN climate change conference in Durban, urging political leaders to take the decisions necessary for the survival of humanity. “We demand that our political leaders honour previous commitments, and quickly move towards more humane, environmentally responsible policies and practises,” said Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM of Durban on behalf of the KwaZulu Natal Interfaith Community at a press conference at the climate summit. Delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in the South African city from 28 November to 9 December for major talks under the UNFCCC on a deal to cut greenhouse gas pollution and provide funding for poor countries to adapt to the consequences of climate change. “There is strong evidence that such steps will not be taken at COP-17,” said Cardinal Napier, urging religious and spiritual communities globally to do what political leaders have failed to do. “We [...]
By Patrick Nicholson Q. What’s God got to do with it? A. Everything “At the centre of creation is human beings,” said Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas Internationalis at an event during the Durban climate talks. “Our economic system and its search for money above all have dehumanized human beings. Religious groups have a duty to humanize them again.” Cardinal Rodriguez was part of a panel on ‘What’s God got to do with it’ during Climate Communications Day, a side event at the UNFCCC. Other panelists included Lic. Elias Crisostomo Abramides (World Council of Churches); Bishop Geoff Davies (Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute) and Rabbi Hillel Avidan. Lic. Abramides said if we destroy plants and animals, we destroy ourselves. Bishop Davies said all faith groups were united in saying to the politicians that this is not just an economic world but a beautiful world worth saving. He said science and [...]
By Patrick Nicholson An insurance policy covering loss and damage to your property if there is hurricane or flood isn’t an option if you are poor. But one of the smaller issues discussed at Durban is how to provide communities with just such coverage through a ‘loss and damages’ fund. Dr Anwara Shelly from Caritas Bangladesh is taking part in the UN conference in Durban wearing two hats, both as Caritas and on the official Government of Bangladesh delegation. On the details of negotiations in the conference centre, Caritas experience in the field can have a real impact. At a session on the loss and damage fund, Dr Shelly raised her hand to urge that fund not be targeted at the national level, but at the local or district level where it can be most effective. “My 24 years of experience with Caritas Bangladesh has shown me that in a disaster, [...]
November 30, 2011
By Patrick Nicholson Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Honduras met UN officials today as talks in Durban on climate change continued. The Cardinal is representing Caritas Internationalis at the UNFCCC meeting along with Caritas members from South Africa, Kenya, Bangladesh, and the British Isles. Some 25,000 government officials, lobbyists and scientists are expected to attend the two-week conference that is seeking a new deal to follow the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Cardinal Rodriguez met with UNFCCC Chief of Staff Daniele Violetti to discuss the impact of climate change on the world’s poor and the importance of faith leaders in mobilising support for action. Violletti stressed the importance of bottom-up pressure from civil society and faith groups in combating climate change. This Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI’s called for delegates at the climate talks to agree a responsible and credible deal to cut greenhouse gases. “I hope that all members of the international community agree on a responsible [...]
Joseph Kabiru of CAFOD talks about African perspectives on climate change at the We Have Faith rally (Durban, 28/11/2011)
Hundreds of people from all over Africa are joining a “Caravan of Hope”, which is covering more than 4,000 miles and 10 countries en route to the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. The coach convoy set off from the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, on 9 November, and is picking up people all along the journey’s 17-day route, passing through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. Follow Joseph Kabiru on the Caravan of Hope on the CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) blog
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and Caritas South Africa will be leading a delegation of representatives from the Caritas members to UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. [Read press release from 24 November 2011] The 20-strong Caritas delegation will be taking part in several events in Durban in focusing on the impact of climate change in Africa. [Read Caritas Internationalis statement to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)] Cardinal Rodriguez said, “Urgent action is necessary. Climate negotiators in Durban must not further delay agreeing to international legislation to curb the threat of climate change and set the world on a path to a more just and sustainable future.” Follow the Caritas delegation in Durban here.
March 7, 2011
Caritas says mothers living with HIV in poor countries face anguish. Caritas says the risks to the health of their children are massive and their lives may be painfully short. And yet, the suffering and deaths of these children are preventable. “Children and women need access to timely diagnosis of HIV and TB and to appropriate treatment and care. We appeal to governments, pharmaceutical companies, and all people of good will to make this possible,” said Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor for HIV and AIDS, Rev. Msgr. Fr Robert Vitillo. Over 370,000 infants were newly infected with HIV in 2009, mainly through mother-to-child transmission. Such infections can occur during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding. Access to a simple course of anti-retroviral medication could prevent these infections, yet 260,000 children died of AIDS-related illnesses that same year. Caritas’ “HAART* for Children” campaign was launched on International Women Day 8 March 2009. It urges governments and [...]
June 28, 2010
Caritas is hosting a Football Peace Cup in South Africa's poorest communities as the Football World Cup is being held in its stadiums. In a joint initiative with the Franciscan inter-faith Damietta Peace Initiative, Caritas is organising a 'Soccer Peace Tournament' in the township of Atteridgeville near Pretoria, bringing together people of different faiths, races and nationalities. “South Africa was torn apart by xenophobic violence and many people say it is still brewing under the surface. We thus seized the opportunity of the World Cup to drive home a message of tolerance,” said Lancelot Thomas, Country Coordinator for the Damietta Peace Initiative in South Africa. The event will kick off on 5 June and will be held in parallel to the FIFA World Cup. Players from 15 countries all over the world, mainly young adults, will compete for a whole month to enter the great final on 3 July. “Whereas the world cup [...]
When seven-year-old Mosipho was brought to the Thabang Society in Parys, South Africa, she was close to death. She had been diagnosed with HIV in January and was seriously ill. “She was suffering from pneumonia and had a swollen abdomen and swollen legs. She wasn’t far from death,” said paediatrician Dr Almud Pollmeier. Mosipho, who has lived with her grandmother since the death of both her parents, was discharged from hospital after three weeks. Her health had improved but she still wasn’t on antiretrovirals (ARVs) and once she came out of hospital she started to deteriorate. Mosipho was taken to a specialist paediatric unit in Johannesburg where extra-pulmonary TB was diagnosed. The Thabang Society receives antiretroviral medicines from Caritas, but treating a child with TB medication and ARVs at the same time is problematic. “It can cause a severe immune reaction and the child can suffer a lot,” explained Dr Pollmeier. “We [...]