Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cardinal Rodríguez calls on world leaders for action on poverty

23 September 2008

Caritas Internationalis President, Cardinal Oscar Rodr í guez Maradiaga, will tell heads of state that there has been a failure of political leadership in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Due to speak at a high-level event on the MDGs at the UN in New York on 25 September, Cardinal Rodr í guez will urge world leaders to make courageous decisions and live up to past promises in order to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

“We need to imagine a world in which the needless deaths of nearly 10 million children a year are an abomination that cannot be tolerated,” says the Cardinal.

Cardinal Rodr í guez says that failing to achieve the MDGs is not just about money, aid effectiveness, debt relief and fair trade.

“We need to be able to imagine ourselves not in the “Third World” and a “First World” but in one world in which our duties to the poor are shared,” he says.

The Cardinal is one of six civil society leaders invited by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to take part in roundtable discussions at the UN. Environmental sustainability is the subject of the Cardinal’s roundtable.

He says climate change is undoing much of the progress made in developing countries, and urges industrialised nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change means that poor people will need increased financial support on top of existing pledges, he says.

“We’re witnessing a world being created where the greediness of a few is leaving the majority on the margin of history,” says the Cardinal.

A native of Honduras, the Cardinal says he has seen the damage greed has caused in his own country, where mining companies have exploited land and left it poisoned for the people.

Cardinal Rodríguez will urge heads of state to work towards the MDGs in partnership with civil society and grass roots faith based organisations.

In the year 2000, 189 governments signed up to the Millennium Declaration as their promise to tackle unjustifiable poverty in developing countries.

Caritas Internationalis has supported the MDGs through initiatives such as the Jubilee Debt Campaign, Make Poverty History, and at the World Economic Forum, World Social Forum, the G8 and the Accra Aid Effectiveness meeting.

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