Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the world’s leading industrial countries have written to the Group of 8 leaders to urge them to take “bold action on global poverty” ahead of the G8 summit in Germany next week (Rostock, 6-8 June).
The Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales have joined the French, Germans, Americans and Russians among others to call on their political leaders to honor the commitments they made in Gleneagles in 2005.
Those commitments are commended in the letter which was signed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair in England. However, the Cardinal reminded the G8 leaders of their ‘moral obligation’ to fulfill 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.”
At the Gleneagles G8 Summit in 2005, the world’s richest countries promised to spend an additional $50 billion per year on foreign assistance by 2010, with half that amount going to Africa. However, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports foreign aid levels have remained stagnant through 2006 – despite the promises.
The Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of the G8 countries concluded by recognizing the historic importance of the summit:
“The G8 Summit will explore many issues of critical importance to human life and dignity. We pray that your meeting will be blessed by a spirit of collaboration that enables the G8 leaders to advance the global common good by adopting concrete measures on global poverty, health care, climate change and peace and security.”