Caritas is urging a special UN anti-poverty meeting to put justice for the poor at the heart of its development plans.
World leaders will attend a summit at the UN in New York on 20-22 September to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of targets that range from cutting child and maternal mortality to halving the number of people who go hungry.
Caritas Senegal Secretary General Abbé Ambroise Tine will be at the talks as the representative of Caritas Internationalis, the confederation of 165 national Catholic charities. He will be speaking at the UN on 22 September about how justice and not charity is key if the MDGs are to be meet.
Abbé Tine said, “If you ask a poor family in Senegal if they have heard of the Millennium Development Goals, they will almost certainly answer no. But they are working every day as hard as anyone to achieve them. They just know the MDGs by a different name. They call them survival.
“Our generation is the first with the knowledge and resources to help millions of people escape from poverty. All we need is the political will from world leaders to see through the promises their governments are already committed to. That political will must take the form of further debt cancellation, fair international trade rules and more aid, better spent.
“It is not simply a question of more money. We need political leaders to regard all people as human beings whose dignity, freedom and rights to a better living conditions are deemed sacred and inviolable. We need a new kind of MDG. We need Millennium Development Governments to overcome poverty on all continents.”
Progress has been made over the last decade since world leaders signed up to the Millennium Declaration in 2000. When school fees were abolished in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, seven million additional children started going to school. There has been a ten-fold increase in anti-retroviral treatment for HIV and AIDS in the last five years.
But with five years to go until the 2015 deadline, many poor countries will not come close to meeting the targets. One in seven children in Africa don’t live to see their fifth birth. Globally, 8.8 million children died in 2008. Four diseases pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and AIDS accounted for 43 percent of those deaths. Low cost solutions to cut deaths exist for them all.
Caritas is running an international campaign in support of the Millennium Development Goals. Further details of the campaign can be found at the ‘Caritas Voices Against Poverty’ website http://mdg2015.caritas.org.