August 16, 2008

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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 [...]

G8 guilty of all the good they didn’t do

By |1 July 2008|

Caritas Internationalis says that the G8 leaders must use their summit in Japan to salvage their reputation on aid and help millions out of poverty.  Leaders of Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US meet 7-9 July in Hokkaido, Japan with progress on development and climate change on the agenda. In the case of the international community as a whole, total aid fell by 8.4% in 2007 in comparison with 2006, after a fall of 5.1% between 2005 and 2006. Aid is having an impact, but a predicted short fall of $27bn will put a potential 5 million lives at risk. The 2008 G8 is at the halfway point to the deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals with the anti-poverty targets way off target. Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation for 162 national Catholic charities, fears that a failure to see through previous G8 aid pledges will [...]

June 17, 2008

Caritas President: Poverty targets missed unless G8 act

By |17 June 2008|

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga says it will be a scandal if we fail the poor in developing countries due to lack of financing from rich countries. Leaders of G8 countries will meet from 7-9 July in Hokkaido, Japan to discuss development, among other issues. The G8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the United States. Caritas is urging them to live up to past commitments on aid quantity and quality to ensure there is financing for a series of anti-poverty targets called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In the case of the international community as a whole total aid fell by 8.4% in 2007 in comparison with 2006, after a fall of 5.1% between 2005 and 2006. In a joint statement by Caritas and CIDSE (the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity) and signed by Cardinal Rodriguez, the Caritas Internationalis President said, “We regret that [...]

Caritas Japan leads global campaigning on G8

By |17 June 2008|

“We want them to hear all voices, not just in eight countries, but all voices.” As leaders from the world’s most powerful nations prepare to gather for  the G8 summit in Japan, Caritas Japan is gearing up to send them a message on behalf of the poor people in the world. Fr. Daisuke Narui, Executive Director of Caritas Japan, says Caritas wants to bring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and climate change to the attention of the summit’s leaders. “These are global issues.  We want them to hear all voices on these issues, not just those from eight countries, but all voices,” said Daisuke. Caritas Japan has produced 80,000 postcards bearing a message to encourage rich countries to provide justice and not charity on aid. The postcards have been given to people in parishes, schools and Catholic hospitals across Japan and people are urged to sign them and send them to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo [...]

Caritas President keeps pressure on G8

By |17 June 2008|

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga is keeping up the pressure on G8 countries with a call to live up to their promises on aid. After meeting with world leaders in the run up to previous G8’s, Cardinal Rodriguez is urging this year’s summit in Hokkaido, Japan 7-9 July to not let anti-poverty targets be missed due to lack of money. Cardinal Rodriguez said, “Aid can make a real difference to people. I have seen how it can transform societies, for example in my own country Honduras. It would be a scandal if poor people are not given the chance to change their own lives through lack of the right support from rich countries.” The G8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the United States. Leaders of G8 countries will meet to discuss development among other issues. World leaders set 2015 as the target date for the achievement [...]

April 17, 2008

Our messages to the G8 in Japan

By |17 April 2008|

Aid works. Much of the work on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is still to be done. Missing the MDGs through lack of financing is unforgivable. 2008 is the key to finding missing funding. The gap between Africa and other regions of the developing world is large and challenging but it does not have to be discouraging.  There are success stories. Most importantly, the success stories show that the combination of resources and commitment on the part of African governments and African people, can make a huge difference.  We need both the commitment from Africa and the political will on the part of donor governments to provide the resources.  Regrettably the figures for last year show that they are faltering in their commitment. They must have the courage, especially now at a time of slowing economic growth in their own economies, to put their aid budgets back on track to meet their [...]

Davos 2008 Final Day

By |17 April 2008|

On my final day at Davos I am invited to participate in the Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders (IGWEL), a private meeting of heads of state and government, senior government ministers, heads of international and regional organisations and select private sector representatives. It is an “off the record” discussion on ‘The Responsibility to Protect: Human Security and International Action’ and centres on the importance of international action against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. We talk about what the international community has learned from gross human rights abuses and humanitarian crises in places such as Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo and what capacities are lacking in the international system to respond effectively to them. I also attend a session entitled ‘Death, Disease and Dirty Water’ which focuses on the links between water and diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and cholera. A panel made up of scientists [...]

Davos Day Three

By |17 April 2008|

Day Three at Davos and there is much talk of the Millennium Development Goals at various sessions, culminating in a joint statement in which world leaders vow to make 2008 a turning point in the fight against poverty. Promises are made and worthy sentiments expressed, but these will need to be translated into real action on the ground. The role of faith-based and other civil society groups in helping to deliver the MDGs is at last being acknowledged. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that the international community has to recognize that social and economic problems in many poorer developing countries are creating an emergency that has to be faced. At current rates of progress, the developing world is far from achieving the MDGs by 2015. Governments should join with the private sector, NGOs and faith groups to forge a common approach to issues such as water [...]

Davos Day Two

By |14 April 2008|

Poverty, climate change, water and faith were the themes that dominated my second day at Davos. The day begins early with a breakfast session with former US Vice-President Al Gore and rock star/poverty activist Bono discussing how to combine solutions to extreme poverty and climate change. Al Gore said: ““The Millennium Development Goals can only be met if the climate crisis is taken into the fold of that effort. If the world warms up by two degrees all of the good work done in development will be undone.” I was pleased to see Bono taking up this theme, so central to CI's advocacy strategy, saying that the G8 nations were not making good on their commitments to the MDGs . “It looks like they are not going to happen, and that is a scandal. If we can’t keep to these commitments, who are we?” he said. He called for governments to [...]