G8 bishops challenge leaders on poverty

Recalling commitments made at the 2005 Gleneagles conference to spend an extra $60 billion on foreign aid, Catholic bishops from G8 countries have called for "bold action on global poverty".

Writing ahead of the G8 summit in Germany this week, the Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales have joined the French, Germans, Americans and Russians among others to call on their political leaders to honour the commitments made in Gleneagles in 2005, Ekklesia reports.

Those commitments are commended in the letter which was signed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and sent to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

However, the Cardinal reminded the G8 leaders of their "moral obligation" to fulfil their promises.

"We urge you to act out of the moral obligation that we all share for the well-being of every human person, but also because replacing despair with hope in Africa will lead to a more secure world for all nations," he said.

At the Gleneagles G8 Summit in 2005, the world's richest countries promised to spend an additional $60 billion per year on foreign assistance by 2010, with half that amount going to Africa.

However, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports foreign aid levels have remained stagnant through 2006 - despite the promises.

In a separate statement, Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot says that the Australian Government must also deliver on its side of the promise.

"The international community is looking to the G8 to meet the commitments they made which established such leadership on tackling poverty ... (and) the Australian government to have a more effective aid program that is poverty-focussed," he said.

Catholic bishops urge G8 to take 'bold action on global poverty' (Ekklesia, 4/6/07)
Caritas Media Release (5/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
G8 (Wikipedia)
Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor (Wikipedia)
Caritas Australia

Church leaders challege G8 on Africa (CathNews, 3/5/07)
Benedict calls on G8 to cancel debt (CathNews, 27/4/07)
British Caritas targets hypocrisy of G8 leaders (CathNews, 2/6/03)
Pope wants G8 leaders to 'hear the cry of the poor' (CathNews, 17/7/01)

5 Jun 2007