Economic crisis hits poorest

Fr Joe Komakoma and Milimo Mwiba from Zambia march in London at the G20. Credits: Adrian White/CAFOD

Fr Joe Komakoma and Milimo Mwiba from Zambia march in London at the G20. Credits: Adrian White/CAFOD

Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to halve poverty by 2015, is under threat because of the global crisis. Through its advocacy work, Caritas Internationalis sought to keep poverty on the agenda of world leaders.

Caritas Internationalis delegation at the UN in NewYork coordinates the MDG Convening Group, building links between NGOs, faith-based groups, and experts. Caritas works closely with the Millennium Campaign’s Global and European programme.

Caritas representatives went to theWorld Economic Forum in Davos and theWorld Social Forum in Belém, Brazil, to G20 and G8 meetings in the UK and Italy, and a UN food summit in Rome to lobby for action.

Caritas Zambia’s Milimo Mwiba joined supporters from CAFOD (Caritas England andWales) and other Caritas members in London in April for the G20 Summit of developed and emerging economies. Zambia was hit hard by the global recession. The copper town of Luanshya lost more than 3,000 jobs when the local mine closed. The town’s 60,000 residents were dependent on the mine. They now face extreme poverty with no social welfare system to cushion them.

“I’d like to think that my voice and those of billions of other Africans penetrated that secure room where the G20 leaders were trying to sort out the mess their greed had created,” said Milimo.

The G20 meeting ended with more commitments to uphold past promises on aid, but few concrete proposals. Caritas hoped for firmer plans at the G8 meeting of the world’s most industrialised countries in the earthquake-hit Italian town of L’Aquila in July.

Increased aid has led to an improvement in the lives of poor people. In the last decade, 33 million more children are in school in developing countries and four million fewer children are dying each year.

The G8 reaffirmed their commitment to the 2005 promise to double aid to Africa by 2010, but without saying how they would do it. Latest figures for 2009 showed they would deliver less than half the extra USD 50 billion (€40 billion) promised, leaving the poor in need and the reputation of the G8 badly tarnished.

Caritas Internationalis

President: Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle
Secretary General: Michel Roy

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