Wednesday, September 3, 2008

UN Leader Invites Cardinal to Meeting on Poverty

Caritas President to Urge Better Cooperation

NEW YORK, SEPT. 3, 2008 ( ).- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited the president of Caritatis Internationalis to attend a high-level meeting on how to better overcome the global scourge of poverty.
Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga will attend the Sept. 25 High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals as a representative of civil society.

The development goals aim to significantly reduce global poverty, but progress on them is increasingly off schedule for the target year of 2015.

Caritas reported that at the halfway point in 2008, with current projections, targets will be missed in some countries by over 100 years.

"I welcome the U.N.'s initiative to put the Millennium Development Goals back on track," Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga said. "The MDGs are a useful catalyst in ending the scandal of poverty but currently risk becoming victims of inaction. Failure to meet these targets in a world of such wealth is unthinkable, yet will happen unless we take the right steps now."

The U.N. event will be a forum for world leaders to review progress, identify gaps, and commit to concrete efforts, resources and mechanisms.

According to the cardinal, action from the United Nations cannot come fast enough.

"Eleven million children die each year in poverty from preventable causes," he said. "That's 77 million children who will die over the next seven years from now to 2015 because of our failure to act today."

Part of the problem, according to Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, is lack of cooperation with faith-based organizations.

"We need to bridge the gap between those with the financial assets and those with the physical and human resources on the ground," the prelate said. "Churches and faith-based organizations like Caritas are overlooked as a way to deliver development.

"A third of all children under five in developing countries are severely stunted because of hunger, and world leaders are committed to doing something about it. The Church runs over 60,000 schools for 5.8 million infants and 90,000 primary schools for 28 million pupils. They could help feed the hungry with the right support. That is the partnership needed to save lives."

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