Caritas: The World Can’t Wait for Aid

Launches Campaign to End Global Poverty

ROME, FEB. 9, 2007 ( The world’s 1 billion Catholics have been called to mobilize to press rich countries to fulfill their promises to eliminate poverty.

This is the objective of the worldwide campaign “Make Aid Work. The World Can’t Wait,” launched Thursday in Rome by the Caritas Internationalis network and the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE) alliance.

Caritas explained in a communiqué that the mass mobilization is aimed at urging the world’s most powerful leaders to not forget the promises they made at the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. The governments had said they would increase development aid and cancel of the debt of some of the world’s poorest countries.

Caritas and CIDSE launched the initiative to coincide with the meeting of the finance ministers of the seven most industrialized countries — not including Russia — being held today and Saturday in Essen, Germany. The meeting is a precursor for the 2007 G-8 Summit to be held in Heiligendamm in June.

The two Catholic aid and development networks say poverty in the developing world, especially Africa, must be their priority.

The Caritas secretary-general, Duncan MacLaren, said: “Our campaign hopes to engage Catholics throughout the world in speaking out against the injustice of global poverty.

“We want the world’s richest countries to listen to that chorus and live up to their promises to eliminate poverty in the poorest countries. Unless these pledges are backed with concrete action, the Millennium Development Goals aimed at cutting poverty by 2015 will be missed.”

Christiane Overkamp, secretary-general of CIDSE, said Thursday: “It is a scandal that 121 million girls and boys in developing countries do not have the chance to go to school.

“We need to see an increase in development aid, but also need to improve how we deliver that aid.

“Promises of debt relief that can finally allow Africa to invest in its own future instead of servicing unfair loans also need to be followed through.”

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