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 [...]

September 23, 2008

The Millennium Development Goals are a wonderful tool

By |23 September 2008|

The Millennium Development Goals are a wonderful tool. They’re a catalyst for action, a benchmark to measure governments words against their deeds, and a reminder of the suffering of millions of people who live in extreme poverty. Of course, for the majority of us, we don’t need the MDGs 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. This is because climate change is undoing much of the progress made in developing countries. Ten years ago this October, Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America destroying 50 years of progress in Honduras alone. Mitch was at the time the fourth most intense storm in the Atlantic [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

G8 falls short on Climate Change

By |8 July 2008|

Caritas says the G8 Summit in Japan has not gone far enough on cutting the necessary carbon emissions to stem global warming. G8 leaders announced plans to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Caritas Internationalis says that figure falls short of what is needed to save the planet. Caritas Internationalis Representative Joseph Cornelius Donnelly is at the G8 in Japan, representing the 162 member organisations of the Catholic charity network. Mr. Donnelly said, “The G8 has a track record of producing glass is half full, glass is half empty statements. But now they’re playing heads or tails with the future of our planet in a decision that will affect generations to come long after this G8 is forgotten. "Caritas welcomes the improvement in strengthening commitments from last year. If this is the base starting point of negotiations then we’re in business. If it is the hoped for goal then it represents a huge failure in leadership.” The G8 said [...]

Churches warn G8: A billion people may face hunger

By |7 July 2008|

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged G8 leaders to take measures to fight poverty and hunger at a time of soaring food and oil prices. More than 850 million people were already living without enough to eat before the food crisis that began as prices shot up in the early months of 2008. The current food crisis will put at least another 100 million people into the same situation. "Their vulnerability has increased today because of financial speculation and turbulence, with a perverse effect on food and energy prices," Pope Benedict said. "I call for generosity and farsightedness to help take decisions that would relaunch an equitable development process." Noting that some have actually profited from the food crisis, Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, urged G8 leaders to support the creation of competition rules that would regulate international trade, particularly including trade in food. “Trade in food is dominated by a [...]

G8 Summit in Japan

By |1 July 2008|

The G8 Summit in Hokkaido brought together leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the United States.  Caritas campaigned for the G8 to live up to past commitments on aid quantity and to bridge the gap between development and climate change. But in the Land of the Rising Sun, the G8 promised a false dawn on climate change and aid. News Final Communiqué: Ground Hog Day G8 falls short on climate change Pope Benedict XVI message Caritas goes to the G8 Our campaign Caritas at the G8 Read the blog of Joseph Donnelly, the Caritas representative at the G8 Day Three: Next stop Rome 2009 Day Two: Climate change Day One: A stormy start Features Questions and answers with Caritas Japan Postcard to G8 Tanebata campaign Thanks to all the people who took part in our G8 Tanabata action. On the first day of the Summit, over one million messages demanding the G8 honour their promises to tackle poverty were [...]

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