February 7, 2011

Worldwide solidarity at the World Social Forum

By |7 February 2011|

An African proverb that would best sum up the global movement that is the World Social Forum would be: “Many small people in many small places will do many small things to change the world”. An estimated 70,000 participants from across the world attended the 11th WSF at the University Campus Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal. Participants included people from the business sector, trade unions and government, however the largest demographic was composed of non-governmental actors and civil society organizations. In the weeks leading up to the forum, several caravans drove across Africa in an attempt to raise awareness about this social justice movement. The caravans joined thousands of activists who walked the streets of Dakar during the official opening march with the message ‘another world is possible’. While the forum is loosely governed, an impressive number of platforms for dialogue were created throughout the campus. From 6 to 11 February, hundreds [...]

January 19, 2011

Soaring food costs hitting poor from Algeria to India

By |19 January 2011|

Millions of people around the world are struggling to cope with rising food prices say Caritas staff. “The price rises in India usually affect the poorest people, but they are now so steep that the middle class is hit hard as well,” said Sunil Simon, in charge of natural resource management at Caritas India. The FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) food price index has surpassed the level it reached during the major food riots of 2008. After a year of steady increases, the index reached 214,7 points in December, compared to 206 points in November. What worries Caritas experts is that the index exceeded the level it had attained in 2008, a year of severe food crises and food riots in many developing countries. As one out of six people in the world already suffer from hunger, rising food prices make it even more difficult for poor people to buy [...]

October 28, 2010

Zero Poverty in Europe Campaign

By |28 October 2010|

Caritas is calling for an end to poverty in Europe with the launch of its Zero Poverty Campaign. “Poverty is a scandal. What else can it be when just over 40 years after man first walked on the moon, there are still humans unable to provide for their most basic needs, like food, shelter, warmth,” said Caritas Europa President Fr Erny Gillen. Zero Poverty campaign coincides with the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion at the European Parliament in Brussels. Caritas has launched a new paper “Poverty Among Us” that outlines steps to a poverty free Europe. The paper calls for the strengthening of the labour market, the welfare state, and the family. “If the fight against poverty and social exclusion is to be sustained, more emphasis must be placed on what policies can do to prevent the spiral of poverty from taking place, particularly in the early stages of [...]

September 8, 2010

Facts about land justice in Brazil

By |8 September 2010|

The Caritas Brazilian Bazaar project is also supporting the campaign with urns at each of its businesses – artisans and small, family-based farmers among others.

August 16, 2010

Stamping out corruption

By |16 August 2010|

Caritas is joining other faith-based aid agencies and religious leaders in calling for action on stamping out global corruption. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, over 50 faith leaders and agency directors say corruption is a major cause of poverty in developing countries and a major barrier to overcoming it. They say both rich and poor countries have a responsibility to overcome it. Read the full text:  In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly signed the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). It was the first global treaty ever that provides a framework to harmonise anti-corruption efforts worldwide. This week the UNCAC Working Group on a Review Mechanism meet in Vienna, Austria to look at progress so far ahead of a summit in Doha in November. Over 50 religious leaders and heads of faith-based organisations including Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight called on delegates working on the review to turn UNCAC from [...]

June 23, 2010

1 in 6 go hungry

By |23 June 2010|

World hunger reached an historic high in 2009 with over a billion people going without enough food every day. Malnutrition increased by 13 percent in Asia, 8 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 6 percent in Africa.

Economic justice: Putting people first

By |23 June 2010|

Caritas seeks to challenge unjust systems and promote the common good, addressing the structural causes of poverty. Caritas believes that economic structures should put people before profit; we support fairer trade, further debt cancellation and increased aid,more wisely spent. The fallout from the 2008/2009 global economic crisis pushed more vulnerable communities into extreme poverty. The poor in Asia were badly hit. Caritas Cambodia said that the garment industry, construction, tourism and agriculture had all been affected. As factories closed and unemployment rose, more people were in need of their services, while aid levels dropped. An increasing number of people in Europe and North America faced poverty in 2009 due to the global economic crisis. Thirteen percent of Italy’s 58 million people were considered poor, according to Caritas Italy, with a rising number just above the poverty line. The situation was similar in the rest of Europe. Children, the elderly, unemployed and disabled [...]

Poverty in Europe is a scandal

By |8 June 2010|

The global recession of 2008/2009 has increased the number of people living in poverty across Europe to 85 million and also the number of those living on the breadline. Delegates from 35 Caritas members in Europe were in Madrid last weekend for the “European Congress on Poverty and Social Exclusion” to press for action alleviating the suffering. They were joined by Caritas members from Ethiopia, Brazil, Singapore, and the United States, as well as European politicians, statisticians, journalists and representatives of civil society groups. Spain currently holds the rotating Presidency of the European Union, and Caritas pressed home the need for social justice and the fight against poverty to be key objectives of social action. As part of the 2010 European Year of Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, Caritas members across the continent have launched the Zero Poverty campaign. Delegates in Madrid urged European decision-makers to adopt the proposed Europe 2020 strategy during the [...]

January 16, 2010

Caritas at Davos 2010

By |16 January 2010|

Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos 27 to 31 January, urging for a reshaping of global institutions and structures to put ethics, values and respect for the human person into international financial systems.

August 17, 2009

Small steps to big changes in Africa

By |17 August 2009|

Rural communities in northern Ethiopia weren’t sure they could trust what they were hearing. How could anyone benefit by setting aside the equivalent of a few pennies each month? Come visit the Weini savings and lending group a year and a half later, and they are singing a new tune. At first, saving was slow. But month after month, the individual savings of the 25 members grew to the point that the group decided to invest in some poultry. Assigned members now care for six chickens, sharing half of the profits received from selling eggs or breeding chicks with the group. Take Brikti. With a loan of $30, she bought small amounts of food, like salt, sugar and peas. She now sells items each day from her tabletop store, using the profits to pay back her loan with interest and purchase basic supplies for her own family. Now the group is considering [...]

Be a Fairtrade pilgrim to Eternal City this Lent

By |16 August 2009|

Millions of people come to Rome every year – 2.2 million went to Papal audiences last year alone. Lent and Easter are particularly important times for people to make a pilgrimage to the Eternal City. Many would use fair-trade products at home but travelling in a foreign country it’s not so easy. Now there is a solution to that problem. The Economic Justice Group of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is working group of Unions of Superiors General (USG/USIG). It’s a group of people from religious congregations based in Rome and also includes Caritas Internationalis. They’ve just published a booklet “Empowering the poor in the developing world” which contains a rundown of shops in Rome they’ve found selling fair-traded goods. The guide explains both what religious congregations are doing around the world and how they can make a difference starting with many of their headquarters here in Rome. But it’s [...]

Aid and climate justice key to G8 in Italy

By |16 August 2009|

Caritas is urging leaders of G8 countries meeting in the Italian town of L’Aquila to return to promises on aid and revitalize climate change negotiations. Caritas says that increased aid flows from G8 countries in the past has led to an improvement in the lives of people living in developing countries. The economic crisis means more people have been driven into poverty and need support of the world’s rich. But the poor are facing betrayal as G8 donors cut aid spending. Climate change negotiations that will see a new deal in Copenhagen in December need fresh impetuous if the world is to get a desperately needed cuts in emissions and extra support for poor countries to adapt to extreme weather. Caritas is being represented in L’Aquila by CAFOD, one of its members in the UK. Joanne Green, Head of Policy and Pascale Palmer, Communications Officer from CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) can be [...]

Caritas imagines globalisation based on solidarity

By |16 August 2009|

The last months of 2008 saw the global economic system suffer its worst meltdown since the 1930s, one that would push millions into greater poverty. 2008 was also the halfway point to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of anti-poverty targets signed in 2000 by almost every country and aimed at raising millions of people out of poverty in fifteen years. Halfway to 2015, increased aid commitments and historic debt relief have lifted millions out of poverty. But some countries are not headed in the right directions. The number of people going hungry is increasing. Caritas and its supporters called for concrete commitments on reversing cuts in aid from some of the world’s richest countries and improving the way aid is spent. Millions of people don’t want to see billions of people living in poverty. They want to see action from world leaders. Caritas attended a series of high level events to [...]

February 24, 2009

Fora for change: Caritas at Davos and the WSF

By |24 February 2009|

Caritas representatives will be talking part in both the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland and the World Social Forum (WSF) in Belem, Brazil this January. In a world divided between the “Haves” and “Have-nots”, Caritas believes the global system must be reformed to give all of society the opportunity to succeed. The Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight will be meeting political and business leaders in Davos encouraging them to remember the poor and vulnerable as they seek to tackle the worst economic crisis in 80 years. She hopes to inspire the rich and powerful to aspire not to have more but to be more. While in Belem, Brazil, one hundred and fifty Caritas representatives from 14 countries will attend the World Social Forum (WSF) and show their support for a world based on justice. The WSF is seen as a vital opportunity for social movements, NGOs and civil society networks [...]

October 16, 2008

Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: One world

By |16 October 2008|

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 [...]