More than 30 leaders from major world religions and heads of global faith-based organisations, including Caritas Internationalis, launched a call to action to end extreme poverty by 2030, a goal shared by the World Bank Group.
Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative notes that remarkable progress has been made in reducing extreme poverty. In the last 25 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined from nearly 2 billion people to fewer than 1 billion. Now, for the first time in human history the capacity and moral responsibility exists so no one has to live in extreme poverty’s grip.
“We have ample evidence from the World Bank Group and others showing that we can now end extreme poverty within fifteen years,” the Moral Imperative statement notes. “In 2015, our governments will be deciding upon a new global sustainable development agenda that has the potential to build on our shared values to finish the urgent task of ending extreme poverty.”
“We in the faith community embrace this moral imperative because we share the belief that the moral test of our society is how the weakest and most vulnerable are faring. Our sacred texts also call us to combat injustice and uplift the poorest in our midst.”
The Moral Imperative statement seeks to generate the necessary social and political will and inspire greater commitments from others to join in this cause. It taps into shared convictions and beliefs that unify the world’s major religions around the call and responsibility to combat poverty.
The statement arose from the World Bank’s “Faith Based and Religious Leaders Roundtable” held on February 18, the first high-level meeting between World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and faith leaders.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “There is a real opportunity for faith communities at the grassroots to work together with the World Bank to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.”
Caritas member organisation Catholic Relief Services also signed up to the initiative.
Bill O’Keefe, Vice President for Advocacy and Government Relations at Catholic Relief Services, said “We believe that ending extreme poverty is practically possible and morally imperative. We are proud to join in this comprehensive effort to end extreme poverty.”