July 26, 2012
Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy for Caritas Internationalis, traveled to Brazil in June to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. She also visited a Caritas project in the region and reports back on Caritas’ efforts to help flood survivors. “In my 67 years I have not seen something like this,” says a woman in Brazil whose house was destroyed during powerful floods in January 2011. She now lives in a modest house with her sister, who takes care of her. The deadly mixture of heavy rains filling the rivers and fatal landslides damaged the city of Nova Friburgo and fertile land nearby. Worst hit was San Jose do vale do Rio Preto, where some of the houses are literally standing in the river. Today those houses that still stand are damaged and inhabitable, though the rivers that caused the damage now look very small and innocent. Although the disaster happened [...]
June 23, 2012
By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Director of Policy and Advocacy It has become a tradition that faith based organisations host a side event together at major global conferences, like at the UN conferences on climate change in Cancun and Durban. Over 120 people gathered in one of the last of the side events at the Rio+20 conference, which, in spite of the general frustration about the outcome of the summit, gave some hope. The title of the event was “Ethical and Religious Insights on the Future we Want” sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, Religions for Peace and Caritas Internationalis.
By James Stella On entering the Rio+20 Conference centre, the participants are instantly greeted by an enormous blue coloured digital billboard displaying the extensive list of side events scheduled for the day. Listed on the board one will find the name, location and time of the event. With events scheduled around the clock, from 9:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening, there are approximately 55 side events everyday with each having a duration of one and half hours. Some of the wide array of topics include, ‘Glaciers and Sustainability in the Anthropocen’ by CEDHA, ‘Motorcycle Safety al Rio+20’ by Ecuadorian Motorcyclists Association; ‘The Forest Green Economy and South-South Cooperation’ by WWF International and an event presented by a Palestinian organisation that focused on sustainable development under the Israel occupation.
Espanol Solidarity can be the currency of an alternative economy agreed Caritas representatives at a panel event during Rio+20 Summit, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in the Brazilian capital. Caritas Brazil, France, Peru and Costa Rica and other staff of the Catholic confederation of aid agencies reflected on how to democratize economics so that it works for all humanity and for a greener planet. Humberto Ortiz from the Church in Peru presented an overview on the impact extractives industries such as logging and mining were having on the Amazon basin. He urged for an economic model for Latin America that promotes solidarity and a green economy through dialogue between the public, private and civil society sectors and that policies must work on all levels.
By James Stella On Sunday, 19 June, Caritas members attending the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development enjoyed a memorable day when they participated in a Holy Mass with Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro. Dedicated to the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro, St. Sebastian, the conical shaped Cathedral is located in downtown Rio. Over 60 Caritas Members filled the Cathedral and their presence was noticeably visible as one could see them proudly displaying their Caritas Rio+20 bandanas. After the mass a delegation of church and civil societies leaders held a press conference to outline their positions for the much anticipated Rio+20 summit. The delegation emphasised that despite the significant strides made since the advent of Conference 20 years ago, much still remains to be done for governments to embrace the green economy approach and to ensure individuals economic and social […]
Caritas hosted a side event on the 18 June on ‘Achieving Sustainable Development through Solidarity Economy: Outstanding Issues and Perspectives of “Converting” Economy into Ecology’.
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.
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. [...]
January 28, 2011
Caritas is appealing for €1.2 million ($1.65 million) to support 5,000 families who are victims of floods and mudslides in South East Brazil. The recent floods and mudslides were the worst natural disaster Brazil has experienced in the last 40 years. More than 800 people died and around 25,000 people were left homeless. “There are thousands of people at the doors of our churches asking for immediate help. The funds raised will be used to help them”, said Dom Dimas Lara Barbosa, Secretary General of the Brazilian National Bishops Conference (CNBB), which is working with Caritas Brazil on this emergency. “We also need to think about the future. Now all of Brazil and many countries are mobilized to help those affected. But we also need to be there when the flood is no longer news to help people in the most critical phase of reconstruction. We need to have an emergency plan, [...]
Floods and landslides caused by torrential rains have left more than 500 people in Brazil dead and left more than 13,000 homeless. It is being described as the worst natural disaster the country has experienced in the last 40 years. Entire neighbourhoods have been carried away by the mudslides. Rescue and aid operations are difficult as access to the affected mountainous areas around 100 kilometres north of Rio remains limited. “Many telephone lines have been cut and roads can’t be used,” said Maria Cristina dos Anjos, Secretary General of Caritas Brazil. “The Bishop of Petropolis told me there is total chaos where he is. People urgently need drinking water, food and hygiene articles. Many have lost their homes.” As help has not reached all affected areas yet, the death toll is expected to rise more. Caritas Brazil together with the Brazilian Bishop’s Conference is calling for donations and setting up emergency relief operations for the [...]
October 13, 2010
By Carlos García Paret, a climate activist from the Brazilian Amazon The situation in Brazil regarding climate change is quite different from that in industrialised nations with higher emissions, such as China, the USA and the EU. As the world's fourth highest producer of greenhouse gases, 50 percent of Brazil's emissions derive from deforestation and forest and savannah fires. No other country is losing forest on the same scale as Brazil, which accounts for one in every two trees fallen in the world. This has resulted in the destruction of 700,000 km2 of rainforest in the last 30 years, and of 120,000 km2 of savannah in the last seven years. The primary explanation for this phenomenon lies in the role Brazil plays in globalisation as an exporter of agricultural commodities. Forest is cut down to obtain timber and to extend the boundaries of land used for grazing and farming (soy beans, [...]
September 8, 2010
By Angela Page Brazil marked Independence day on 7 September. It was a public holiday, a day for celebration. But for many Brazilians it seems that little has changed since colonial times. Some landowners still own farms the size of a small country and continue to wield great power. “With such huge estates it is difficult to monitor what goes on there”, says Jose Francisco of Caritas Brazil. That’s why he’s spent this week campaigning for a Limit to Land Ownership. It is estimated that there are 25,000 people living in slave-like conditions on large farms in Brazil. Facts about land justice in Brazil “Such huge areas of land are difficult to monitor – people can go on the land and do what they like there” says Jose.“Limiting land ownership will also help prevent the loggers and people burning down trees indiscriminately.” Throughout Brazil urns have been filling up with hundreds of signatures a day. More than [...]
June 23, 2010
One hundred and fifty Caritas representatives from 14 countries attended theWorld Social Forum (WSF) in Belém, Brazil. TheWSF is seen as a vital opportunity for social movements, NGOs and civil society networks to discuss the issues of poverty and the effects of globalisation. “For Caritas, theWorld Social Forum is an opportunity for the globalisation of solidarity, something which is crucial in the construction of another world,” says Cristina dos Anjos, National Director of Caritas Brazil. Latin America has some of the greatest disparities between rich and poor. A quarter of the 500 million population live on less than a dollar a day, while the world’s richest man, a Mexican, is worth USD 53 billion (€42 billion) . Caritas Latin America and the Caribbean hosted a workshop on a solidarity-based model of sustainable development. “We believe that the power of theWord and the Spirit can convince the whole of society that promoting development [...]