Caritas President: Poverty targets missed unless G8 act

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas Internationalils. Credits: Caritas/Carofei

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas Internationalils. Credits: Caritas/Carofei

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 we have to write once again in 2008 to remind donor governments of the promises that remain unfulfilled.

“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 concern.”

World leaders set 2015 as the target date for the achievement of the eight MDGs as an unambiguous challenge to political commitment.

Cardinal Rodriguez said, “Now seven and a half years after the Millennium Declaration we are half way towards the target year of 2015 and it is clear that too many countries will fail to achieve the goals. In some cases, at present rates of progress, they may have to wait more than a hundred years before the goals are reached.

“For G8 states the challenge of recovering momentum towards their 2010 targets is enormous. Aid can make a real difference to the lives of the poor and is an essential component in any strategy to achieve the MDGs. We celebrate the progress that is being made in so many countries because they have governments which are genuinely committed to poverty reduction and have shown that they can make good use of the resources at their disposal.”

G8 leaders will also discuss climate change. The Cardinal said, “Climate change is being felt hardest by the poor in developing countries – those who are least responsible for the emissions which are causing it. Humanitarian assistance is taking a larger share of donor aid. The danger is that inadequate resources pledged to development will be diverted to climate change. We urge governments to ensure that assistance to developing countries on climate change will be additional to resources for poverty reduction.”

Caritas members around the world are urging their supporters to tell G8 leaders to live up to promises on aid. Caritas Japan has given 80,000 protest postcards to its supporters to mail to the Japanese government. Caritas will be represented at the G8 by Caritas Japan and by Joseph Donnelly, the Head of the Caritas International Delegation at the UN in New York.

For more information, please contact Caritas International Head of Communications Patrick Nicholson on 0039 06 698 79725 or 0039 334 3590700 or

Editors notes:

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. By 2004 overall aid had increased to $75 billion a year, an improvement over previous years. In 2005 the European Union pledged to achieve a collective target of 0.56% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2010 and 0.7% by 2015. The G8 Gleneagles summit reiterated these European commitments. Four years later, however, several of the biggest EU donors are very seriously off track. Their development assistance in 2007 was US$62,095 million (0.40% of GNI), including US$6,949 million in debt relief grants. Their total aid, net of debt relief (US$55,146 million), represents 0.36% of GNI.

Caritas Internationalis Head of Communication Patrick Nicholson on 0039 06 69879725 or 0039 3343590700 or

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CIDSE is an alliance of 16 Catholic development organisations from Europe and North America.

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Caritas Internationalis is the umbrella organisation for 162 national Catholic charities providing humanitarian assistance, social services and integral human development.

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