Vatican backs British PM call on poverty

Saying that the "time for simple promises has passed", the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has supported a call from new British PM Gordon Brown to mobilise governments, business and faith-based organisations in a bid to cut poverty.

Catholic News Service reports that Mr Brown called on Tuesday for an international United Nations summit in 2008 to pressure governments to meet their commitments for reducing poverty and promoting development.

When most nations of the world signed on to the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, "it was believed that 15 years would give governments sufficient time to mobilise efforts" to meet the goals, the statement said.

"Some progress has been made in some areas, which should be applauded," it said. "However, even with limited progress, governments must continue striving for more."

The goals focused on eradicating hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting equality between men and women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating AIDS and malaria, protecting the environment and developing a global partnership for development.

The Vatican statement said governments repeatedly have pledged to dedicate the equivalent of 0.7 per cent of their GNP to development assistance.

"If that pledged target amount was achieved, a total of US$192 billion would be made available annually" instead of "the US$78.6 billion presently being made available," it said.

"A new starting point, built upon renewed political will, the mobilisation of efforts and resources and the shaping of a true, recognisable and viable global partnership for development should be welcomed and fostered by everyone," the Vatican statement said.

Vatican office supports British prime minister's push to cut poverty (Catholic News, 1/8/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
UN Millennium Development Goals
Make Poverty History Australia

Beer slab donation not enough to make poverty history (CathNews, 21/6/06)
Vatican says more aid needed to achieve Millennium Goals (CathNews, 25/11/04)

We are winning the war on world poverty but our government can do more (The Age, 2/8/07)

2 Aug 2007