August 17, 2008

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    Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight reports from the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland…

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight reports from the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland…

By |17 August 2008|

Day One at Davos and I am not surprised that many participants are preoccupied by the possibility of recession in the USA – this is after all an economic forum. I am, however, pleasantly surprised to find that issues more relevant to CI, such as poverty reduction and climate change have not entirely slipped off the agenda. The day begins with a series of ‘update’ sessions and I choose to attend one entitled ‘Africa’s Governance Dividend’. Panel members presented an upbeat, optimistic view of Africa’s development and governance progress, which was attributed in part to the ability of African countries to learn from past failures. Contributors from the floor raised some challenging questions including the issue of inequality and the need to move developing countries further up the value chain. Later in the day came the opening ceremony for the Forum, which featured opening remarks by the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, [...]
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    Caritas to stress delivering for the poor at World Economic Forum in Davos

Caritas to stress delivering for the poor at World Economic Forum in Davos

By |17 August 2008|

Vatican City, 17 January - Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight will call for a renewed commitment to tackling poverty from the world’s most powerful political and economic leaders as she attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. The Secretary General of the Caritas Confederation’s 162 national Catholic charities says that reviving momentum behind the Millennium Development Goals will be her main objective at the Davos meeting, which begins Wednesday, 23 January. The Millennium Development Goals are a series of anti-poverty targets that UN member states agreed to meet by 2015. Caritas says the targets will be mostly missed, partly due to broken promises on funding by some of the world’s richest nations. The annual WEF brings together business leaders, politicians and heads of state, with artists, academics, religious leaders, and other civil society representatives. It will be the first time a Caritas Internationalis Secretary General has attended the WEF. The [...]

Solidarity is key – Cardinal Rodríguez

By |17 August 2008|

“This is one of the most gratifying experiences, looking at the amount of good that can be done through solidarity among peoples.” Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga has said that solidarity with the poor is vital to the work of Caritas as he marks the first anniversary of his election as president of the network of 162 national charities. “This is a long road that has been made by doing good around the world. And this is one of the most gratifying experiences, looking at the amount of good that can be done through solidarity among peoples,” said the Cardinal. Cardinal Maradiaga saw the importance of solidarity on the ground when he visited Peru following a massive earthquake last year. “I was really amazed when I arrived at the warehouse of Caritas and I saw the amount of young men and women who were devoting their time just to help – this was really, [...]

MDG Call to action

By |17 August 2008|

One year ago British Prime Minister Gordon Brown travelled to UN headquarters in New York to meet with Secretary-general Ban ki-Moon to urgently challenge Member States and the UN to pursue the Millennium Development Goals with much greater urgency. He offered a compelling "Call to Action" to confront the looming lethargy and inaction. Sanctioned by UN leadership this initiative was incorporated into the ongoing MDG Campaign with its timeline to 2015. When the 63rd Annual General Assembly unfolds at UN next month, Member States will also address the Call to Action on September 25, 2008. In 2000 Member States (189 countries) signed the Millennium Declaration they wrote together at the United Nations. Concern for expanded and integrated development led world leaders to make a bold commitment to work for the eradication of poverty. The declaration was the springboard for the Millennium Development Goals, eight highly focused targets to be implemented and achieved [...]

African Church calls for better aid

By |17 August 2008|

Church leaders in Africa say development aid to the poorest must not just be measured in quantity but also in the extent it transforms the lives of the poor. In a ecumenical statement released ahead of a key aid effectiveness summit in Accra, Ghana, 2 – 4 September, the AACC (All Africa Conference of Churches) and SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conference in Africa and Madagascar) say the levels of poverty in Africa are unacceptable. With a 600 million membership, Church leaders are urging for change in the way aid money is spent. They want to see a greater decision making role on how aid is delivered given to the local communities it is supposed to help. The African Churches and Caritas will be at the negotiating table in Accra. They will attempt to influence the aid donor and recipient government officials and international organizations. The African Church is a major provider of health, [...]

Make aid work at Accra summit

By |17 August 2008|

About 29,000 children under the age of five die every day, that’s 21 each minute, mainly from preventable causes. Caritas has joined African Churches and international faith based organisations to say that we can do something about this by using aid as a hand up rather than a hand out. The power to do that partly lies with over 800 representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors, developing country governments, and civil society organisations who will be attending a key meeting on how aid is spent in Accra, Ghana from 2 to 4 September. Delegates arriving in Accra need look no further than their doorstep to see how aid can change lives if used wisely. Ghana is successfully implementing a national school feeding programme using locally produced foods. The Caritas Internationalis Delegation to the Accra High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness is being headed by René Grotenhuis, Director of Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) and includes Caritas [...]

Millennium Development Goals Reloaded

By |17 August 2008|

A hundred and eighty nine governments signed up to the Millennium Declaration in the Year 2000 as their promise to tackle unjustifiable poverty in developing countries. It’s a promise Caritas will not let them dodge. The declaration was the springboard for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight highly focused targets to be implemented and achieved by 2015. In September, Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga brought to world leaders a message from the poor that needs to be listened to urgently or the MDGs will be missed. The Cardinal was among a select group of civil society representatives at the High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals in New York on 25 September 2008. Read his speech here. Halfway to 2015, increased aid commitments and historic debt relief have provided schools meals in Ghana, free primary school education in Tanzania, and free basic health care in Zambia. Aid works. We know this. [...]

Monterrey to Doha: Poverty in the spotlight

By |17 August 2008|

Government ministers and aid officials are meeting in Doha, Qatar 29 November – 2 December to discuss progress on poverty eradication since the Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Monterrey, Mexico 18-22 March 2002. Read: - Caritas Internationalis statement on Doha - Doha development summit must address failures - Caritas blog from Caritas Internationalis Representative Michel Roy in Doha. - Doha summit ends without urgency or commitment Here’s our top ten snapshot of the last six years. Winners The Commitments: Rich countries meeting at the G8 in Gleneagles in 2005 promised $50 billion in overseas aid which will make a real difference Schools in: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and many other countries have abolished fees for primary schools resulting in dramatic increases in enrolment during the space of a few years thanks to debt relief. Flight plan: Innovative ideas have worked such as a low tax on flights in France which raised 200 million Euros for medicine for the [...]
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    Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: View from the summit

Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: View from the summit

By |16 August 2008|

In January, Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight found common ground at the World Economic Forum in Davos as business and political leaders highlighted the importance of faith-based organisations in achieving the MDGs. In April, Pope Benedict XVI visited the UN in New York. “Questions of security, development goals, reduction of local and global inequalities, protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law, and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet,” he said. Cardinal Rodríguez wrote to G8 countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the United States: “There is now a real danger that the Millennium Development Goals will be remembered as empty words. This can only fuel the cynicism with which so many people in developing countries already regard rich countries’ expressions of [...]

Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: Micro-finance in Africa

By |16 August 2008|

Caritas Africa and its partners held a forum in September in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on how micro-finance programmes can create livelihoods to lift millions of people out of poverty. Caritas in Africa is running many micro-finance programmes to provide access to small amounts of capital to help people set up businesses. The programmes allow families to save up money and over time repay the loans. Caritas targets those who have little access to formal credit or savings services, especially women. Studies show women are more likely to use their loans and profits to benefit their families by investing in their businesses and using additional income to meet household needs such as purchasing more food, improving family housing and health care, paying children’s school fees, and saving for the future. Caritas Uganda started its micro-finance activities as an emergency relief fund to war widows and people who lost their homes because [...]

Imagine globalisation based on solidarity: World Youth Day

By |16 August 2008|

The golden lion of the Sri Lankan flag fluttered in the icy breeze at a bus stop crowded with pilgrims attending Sydney’s World Youth Day in Australia. Beside the Sri Lankan colours, pilgrims waved a pennant displaying the Indian tricolour. Toward the back of the group, Pakistan’s green and white flag billowed. This small vignette from Sydney’s 2008 World Youth Day in which a group of sixty or so pilgrims from the restless Indian sub-continent came together in peace and harmony, was a clear indication of the power of such festivities. They joined 500,000 other young pilgrims from all around the world who had come to take part in a series of events in July with Pope Benedict XVI. Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga also travelled to Sydney. For WYD 2008, Caritas Australia hosted a broad programme under the banner: ‘Witness, Aspire, Act’. Calling on people to engage with issues [...]

Hunger and HIV

By |16 August 2008|

"People know that HIV will kill them within months, but hunger might kill them by the end of the week," said Dr John Mundi Amolo as he makes his tour of the HIV and AIDS patients admitted to Mutomo Hospital in Kenya. "If someone has only 50 bob [35 pence], then they would rather buy food than get drugs for their HIV. They have no choice." Mutomo Hospital is in the Kitui district, which has been hit hard by years of drought. Rivers have dried up, crops destroyed, and the people worn down by hunger. Among the most affected have been those with HIV and AIDS. Although life-saving drugs are cheap and available, the small food and medical costs necessary to be able to take them are often too much. "The anti-AIDS drugs don't work well without good nutrition," said the doctor. "People have not been eating day after day. Taking [...]
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    Access to Medicines for Children Living with HIV: Prescription for Life

Access to Medicines for Children Living with HIV: Prescription for Life

By |15 August 2008|

According to the UNAIDS Epidemic Update, about 290,000 children under the age of 15 died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2007. Many of these children were poorly diagnosed or received no - or inadequate - treatment.

Halftime but not halfway: MDGS and HIV

By |15 August 2008|

  The Millennium Development Goals form a plan agreed by world leaders to help millions of people out of poverty by 2015. Caritas is a supporter of Stand Up, a global mobilisation to end poverty and inequality and for the MDGs. This year, we are asking people to Stand Up and Take Action on October 17-19, to ensure governments worldwide hear our demands to end poverty and inequality. To add to the debate, Head of the Caritas Delegation at the UN in Geneva, Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitilllo, takes a look at MDGs and HIV. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger The poor are not necessarily more likely to become infected with HIV, but the impact of HIV infection can be magnified by poverty. In India, the financial burden associated with HIV represents 82% of annual income for the poorest households, while the comparable burden for the wealthiest families is around 20%. HIV also poses a threat to accomplishing [...]

July 9, 2008

G8 delivers false dawn in land of the rising sun

By |9 July 2008|

Caritas says that the G8 Summit in Japan has delivered a plan of inaction on Africa, aid and climate change. Caritas Representative at the G8, Joseph Donnelly said, “The outcomes of the 2008 G8 are stalemate on climate change and a broken record on aid for Africa. The world was looking for fresh leadership, but instead got Groundhog Day.” The Japan G8 promised to uphold previous pledges made at the 2005 G8 summit on increased levels of aid, but contained no detail on how they were going to do that or how they were going to reverse the reality that aid levels are in decline. Three years into the G8’s five year plan on increasing overseas aid to $50 billion a year, only a fifth of the money has been delivered. The Japan G8 failed to address the $27bn shortfall in aid that is putting a potential 5 million lives at risk. [...]

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