June 18, 2012

High hopes, low expectations for Rio+20

By |18 June 2012|

By Roeland Scholtalbers, CIDSE Media and Communication Officer (CIDSE is working with Caritas at the Rio Summit), from Rio de Janeiro. We have seen shy attempts by politicians to mend things, to address global challenges like poverty and climate change together. But our carbon-driven global economy has marched on in the meantime, increasing material well-being for some, but also fuelling economical, environmental and social inequalities. Climate change, which poses huge challenges to some of the world’s poorest communities experiencing increasingly extreme weather, is an obvious example. The exploitation of natural resources, which leaves the people of some of the world’s most resource-rich countries dirt poor, is another one.
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    Church hopes Rio +20 Summit will find path towards development

Church hopes Rio +20 Summit will find path towards development

By |18 June 2012|

With the planting of a tree, the Brazilian Episcopal Conference, with bishops and priests from the Latin American church, began Mass in the Cathedral of St. Sebastian in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The faithful prayed for a renewed commitment of world leaders to work for the elimination of poverty and the protection of nature at the UN Rio +20 conference beginning this week. Archbishop Orani João Tempest of Rio de Janerio and Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, president of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference held the evnt in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English as a sigh of communion between the countries. At the start of the Rio +20 Summit, Bishop Ulrich called on the conscience of world leaders and all people of good will to find an alternative development model based on ethics and responsibility for the environment and the human being, on justice, solidarity and the gospel values. [...]

Caritas at Rio + 20

By |12 June 2012|

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June is expected to represent a new stage in the political process that began back of 1972. Ever since the UN Stockholm Conference on Human Environment, political leaders have been discussing how to reconcile human development needs with environmental protection. The UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio in 1992, declared “Human beings are the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature”. Its programme of action, “Agenda 21” identified sustainable development as a strategy based on the integration of the economic, social and environmental pillars. Twenty years later, world leaders and tens of thousands of representatives of the private sector and civil society will gather again in Rio to rethink how to reduce poverty and achieve greater social equity and environmental protection. The [...]

December 12, 2011

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, [...]

November 30, 2011

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 [...]

July 7, 2011

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.

June 9, 2011

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 [...]

Promoting Action: Caritas HAART for Children Campaign

By |9 June 2011|

By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Delegation to the UN in Geneva and Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis Let’s begin with the good news -  of a child who gained access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART) at the Village of Hope, a programme in Tanzania that is assisted by the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù Hospital. However, there are other tragic experiences, too numerous to tell, of children who are diagnosed too late to benefit from such treatment. Despite World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations to test all infants with unknown HIV exposure and to start treatment for all HIV-infected infants under 12 months of age, access is still a grave problem in many parts of the world. For example, in Myanmar, ART is available to only 1/3 of adults who need it, and there are no reliable estimates of infected children, let alone of those who need ART.  In fact, in [...]

Caritas co-sponsored event at UN HIV meeting

By |8 June 2011|

Caritas Internationalis General Secretariat and Caritas member representatives are attending the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on HIV in New York this week, where they will be part of the launch a policy paper on the need for maintaining funding to tackle the pandemic in the wake the financial crisis. The meeting, which takes place from June 8th – 10th, will review progress against commitments made in 2001 and 2006. Although the global community has contributed more than US$32bn to achieve universal access to treatment for all those infected, these targets have not been met, particularly in the poorest countries. Finola Finnan, Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) Programme Leader for HIV and AIDS and Chair of the Catholic HIV and AIDS Network (CHAN), will stress the need for countries to fulfil commitments already made, while also calling on further long-term commitments to extend treatment and support to the most vulnerable. The CHAN paper [...]

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