Durban talks: Climate justice and food security

By |12 December 2011|

By Martina Liebsch, Director of Poverty and Advocacy at Caritas Internationalis Representatives from different faiths gathered at a ‘Climate Justice and Food Security: Moral, ethical and spiritual imperatives’ side event 7 December at the Durban climate change talks. The event was sponsored by Caritas Internationalis and World Council of Churches. The panel was chaired by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban and included Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim representatives. Reverend Mardi Tendal, of the United Church of Canada, said we should work towards transforming cultures of consumption to cultures of responsibility. She said there is a moral imperative for action and solidarity in reducing the adverse effects of climate change. Rabbi Hillel Avidan from Durban said God maintains the creation, but gives us the responsibility to care for it. We have failed to do so and we have recognised it. “Change does not happen through treaties and conventions, but by bringing in compassion and [...]

Durban climate talks: What’s God got to do with it?

By |1 December 2011|

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 [...]

Advocacy in action at Durban climate talks

By |1 December 2011|

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, [...]

Cardinal Rodriguez at Durban climate talks

By |30 November 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 [...]

Video from the climate change rally in South Africa

By |28 November 2011|

Joseph Kabiru of CAFOD talks about African perspectives on climate change at the We Have Faith rally (Durban, 28/11/2011)

Durban climate conference: Caravan of Hope

By |24 November 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

CAFOD response to Final G20 communique

By |4 November 2011|

CAFOD response to Final G20 communique CAFOD's lead economics analyst Christina Weller said: The kindest interpretation of the results of the Cannes summit is that it’s a work in progress; a more realistic one is that when it came to critical global issues the richest nations on Earth decided to decide later. The communiqué is short on substance, ideas and commitments – saved, in part, only by the ambitious agenda of the French presidency which meant some critical issues at least got an airing at the G20 table. As a result the G20 discussed two important reports on innovative financing – the World Bank and International Monetary Fund report on climate finance and the Gates’ report on innovative finance, but the only real commitment is to return to them again later. We are thankful that the door on these issues is still ajar, and perhaps pushed a little wider open, but it isn’t the [...]

CAFOD calls on G20 to reform financial system

By |3 November 2011|

CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) has called on the G20 leaders meeting in Cannes to reform the financial system. CAFOD says G20 leaders must ensure: The G20 continues to prioritise development and pays greater attention to the development impact of its core agenda, particularly in relation to sovereign debt and monetary system, tackling commodity speculation and improving financial transparency and accountability of transnational corporations (TNCs); The G20 redirects its development action plan to tackle the constraints thwarting the untapped potential of the majority of economic actors in developing countries – small businesses and farmers; It supports progress on identifying and mobilizing sources of innovative financing so that sufficient funds can be made available by 2020 to meet the target agreed for climate action at the UN and global commitments to tackle poverty and achieve the millennium development goals. See CAFOD's Economist, Tina Weller's briefing document . Read Tina's blog on the G20. Read Pascale Palmer's [...]

Slum fire in Kenya puts focus on social injustice

By |15 September 2011|

Caritas Kenya is supporting survivors of a huge fire that devastated the Sinai slums in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on 12 September. Over a hundred people were killed and a hundred more injured after a pipeline burst and leaked fuel into the Ngong river, which passes through this slum area. Kenya Pipeline Company  managing director Selest Kilinda blamed a faulty valve. People from the densely populated shanties had already started siphoning the fuel when the fire started. People cooking close to the pipeline may have sparked off the inferno. A group of Caritas staff members and church leaders visited the site of the disaster and met with survivors in a temporary camp and those with serious burn injuries in the hospital. The camp hosts about 200 men, women and children. Caritas Kenya jointly with Caritas Nairobi donated food items, blankets and mosquito on 14 September in the camp. Rt. Rev. Martin Kivuva, Bishop Chairman [...]

One human family in Taiwan

By |28 July 2011|

Thanks to Caritas Taiwan for translating the short film One Human Family Zero Poverty

Changing lives in Bangladesh

By |20 July 2011|

By Caritas Bangladesh staff  Fishing for crabs in the vast mangrove forest of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh is a dangerous way to make a living. A local poem says you always have a ‘shiver of fear’ as you travel the complex network of waterways, mudflats and small islands because the Royal Bengal Tiger does not work to a ‘timetable’. The Sundarbans, or “beautiful jungle”, is the single largest swathe of mangroves in the world. The coastal mangroves and seasonally-flooded fresh water inland swamp covers 10,000 sq.km. of the Bay of Bengal, half of which are in Bangladesh. They are one of the wonders of nature, home to a diverse eco-system of flora and fauna. They are a source of livelihood for the local people, who catch fish, collect wood, crabs, tiny shrimps and honey there. In the dark forest and canals, however, tigers find it easy to stalk and attack men and [...]

Voices against poverty

By |7 July 2011|

The eight Millennium Development Goals represent the basic human dignities which everyone of us should have. They seek to reduce hunger and poverty in Senegal and everywhere else in the world. Caritas members are working hard towards the targets. Backing up their work on the ground with advocacy, Caritas Internationalis launched its web-based campaign "Voices Against Poverty" in Australia in September.

Poverty in Europe

By |7 July 2011|

Caritas believes it is scandalous that eighty million people live below the poverty line in Europe, a quarter of them children. So, while the MDGs are stepping stones, striving to halve poverty in the developing world, Caritas Europa launched the “Zero Poverty” campaign to end poverty full stop as a starting point for all humanity. I t is an urgent demand. Across Europe, Caritas members said more people were asking for their services. On St Valentine’s Day, Pope Benedict XVI visited Caritas Rome’s Don Luigi di Liegro shelter, describing it as “something concrete that allows the light of God to enter the lives of the whole community.” Don Luigi was the founder of both Caritas Rome and the shelter, and he believed that handing out food and clothes wasn’t enough: society must look into itself to see where it had failed people. This philosophy is very much in line with the [...]

Advocacy: Calling for a better world

By |7 July 2011|

When Caritas speaks, its voice is heard. It is heard by governments, policy and lawmakers, drug companies, the United Nations, other humanitarian organisations. It is a powerful voice, created fromhundreds of thousands of voices around the world.  Caritas speaks on behalf of the poor and the marginalised, calling for a moral way of living for us all, refusing to accept that it is business as usual with continued economic upheaval and record food prices. In 2010, Caritas urged action to stop the chance of a lifetime from slipping through our fingers. This chance is enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals, which seek to cut poverty by half by 2015. But without more help to developing countries, we are in danger of not keeping our promises to the poor. Caritas also campaigned internationally on climate change at the Cancun summit, and Caritas Canada (Development and Peace) pressed world leaders at the G8 [...]

Looking back and moving forward on HIV and AIDS

By |9 June 2011|

By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis, at the High Level Meeting on AIDS, UN Headquarters It was not so difficult to wake up early in New York City since the streets there live up to their reputation of “never sleeping” – so I found myself out of my hotel and waiting outside the chain-locked gates of UN headquarters before 7am on 08 June 2011. I wanted to get a “head start” on the cue to register for the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS. Thus I was among the first people processed that day and, with my badge securely fastened around my neck, I proceeded to the section for non-governmental organisation observers, having obtained my ticket for a seat in this section even before 7AM! Then once again, I had to wait for the programme to start at 9AM. As one who enjoys “people watching”, especially in international [...]

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