Campaign Aims to Stir Efforts Against World Poverty

Caritas-Italy Looks to Harness Work of Catholic Agencies

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ROME, JAN. 19, 2005 ( A campaign promoted by Caritas-Italy aims to prod governments to honor their international commitments to halve world poverty by 2015.

The Campaign for Millennium Development Goals, presented Monday in Rome by Caritas-Italy and Volunteers of the World-FOCSIV, implies the «mobilization of several agencies of the Catholic world to reaffirm a unitary commitment in the promotion and defense of the dignity of every human being,» explained a Caritas statement.

According to the Catholic aid organization, «The tragic emergency caused by the tsunami has put the world’s spotlights on the structural needs and vulnerability of populations that are common victims of poverty and injustice.»

However, «an even more tragic catastrophe hits daily the south of the world: More than 1 billion human beings live in conditions of abject poverty,» the group said.

Given this figure, Caritas-Italy said that «sporadic humanitarian generosity is not sufficient.» Instead, «long-term solutions must be adopted that entail more consistent commitment by the international community and a new momentum of public aid to development.»

«In the light of all that has happened in Southeast Asia, civil society, organizations and associations are called to mobilize to stress to states the need for the achievement of those objectives, considered priorities in the struggle against poverty,» it exhorted.

According to Caritas-Italy, today more than ever, it is seen clearly «that the real instrument to build peace, security and development, is an appropriate policy of cooperation and solidarity which guarantees equal rights and opportunities for those who live in conditions of poverty and misery.»

Cutting world poverty by half will cost at least $135 billion annually, up to 2015, according to the U.N. study «Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals» presented Monday by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

According to U.N. data, more than 850 million people suffer from chronic hunger, and more than 5 million children die every year from ailments related directly with nutrition.

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