The Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, Lesley-Anne Knight, has announced that at the upcoming World Economic Forum, she plans to obtain a renewed commitment from the world’s political and economic leaders to respond to the plight of the poor.
As she attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland this next week, Ms. Knight says that reviving the momentum behind the Millennium Development Goals will be her main objective.
The Millennium Development Goals are a series of anti-poverty targets that UN member states agreed to meet by 2015. Caritas reports the targets will be mostly missed, partly due to broken promises on funding by some of the world’s richest nations.
The annual WEF brings together business leaders, politicians and heads of state, with artists, academics, religious leaders, and other civil society representatives.
Caritas believes that the meeting must go beyond merely talking and leave behind its reputation as a “talk shop”. Among the issues that Ms. Knight plans to raise are: climate change, poverty and development, global governance, migration, inter-faith dialogue and peace-building.
“This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that the world’s poor are not forgotten when business and political leaders plan our futures. The World Economic Forum aims to ‘improve the state of the world’, but the question I shall be asking is: ‘whose world?’ The world of the rich has certainly improved over the 30-plus years that the WEF has been in existence, but that of many of the poorest people has not improved at all,” Ms. Knight said.
She also expressed her hope that “a genuine desire among participants to tackle inequality” is present at the forum.
Even though this year will be the first time that a Caritas Internationalis Secretary General has attended the WEF, Ms. Knight says that she will call on nations of the world to keep their promises. “I will take every opportunity to call on world leaders, in particular those from the richest nations, to honor the commitments they made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” she emphasized.
Caritas member organizations are also taking part in various worldwide events for the World Social Forum, which provides a space for discussion on alternative paths to sustainable development.