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UN Millennium Development Goals

To: Religious Congregations
From: Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of
the Unions of Superiors General (UISG/USG), Rome
JPIC Promoters, Rome
Caritas International
Re: An invitation to participate in
the Global Call to Action Against Poverty

We would like to invite you and your congregation to participate in the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. This year, 2005, three important events will take place that have the potential to make poverty history:

  • The G-8 Summit will take place July 6-8 in Edinburgh, Scotland, where leaders of the world’s wealthiest countries will meet to discuss global economic challenges;
  • On September 14-16 at a special high-level session of the United Nations General Assembly, heads of states and governments will evaluate progress toward meeting the goals set forth in the Millennium Declaration;
  • The Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will meet in Hong Kong December 13-18 to discuss international trade regulations and standards.

Citizens around the world are working together to make sure that government leaders listen to our common voice calling for an end to poverty. We believe that this can happen through:

  • Trade justice,
  • Debt cancellation,
  • A major increase in the quantity and quality of aid,
  • National efforts to eliminate poverty and achieve the MDGs that are sustainable and implemented in a way that is democratic, transparent, and accountable to citizens.

It is highly significant for us that these events take place during this Eucharistic Year. In his apostolic letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine, John Paul II said:

Can we not make this Year of the Eucharist an occasion for diocesan and parish communities to commit themselves in a particular way to responding with fraternal solicitude to one of the many forms of poverty present in our world? I think for example of the tragedy of hunger which plagues hundreds of millions of human beings, the diseases which afflict the developing countries, the loneliness of the elderly, the hardships faced by the unemployed, the struggles of immigrants. These are evils which are present—albeit to a different degree—even in areas of immense wealth. We cannot delude ourselves: by our mutual love, and in particular, by our concern for those in need we will be recognized as true followers of Christ. This will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations is judged. (#28)

As an act of solidarity and a sign of our own commitment to eradicate poverty we invite you to join a world wide day of prayer and fasting on July 1. Fasting and prayer are ancient traditions in our church to combat evil and to bring about good. This symbolic gesture is an appropriate way for us to be part of this global call.

Furthermore, we appeal to all of you to:

May God bless us in our efforts to “to become promotors of communion, peace, and solidarity in every situation” (Mane Nobiscum Domine #27)

FACT SHEET
UN Millennium Goals

In 2000 the UN Millennium Declaration, adopted at the largest-ever gathering of heads of state, committed countries – rich and poor – to doing all they can to eradicate poverty, promote human dignity and equality and achieve peace, democracy and environmental sustainability. World leaders promised to work together to meet concrete targets for advancing development and reducing poverty by 2015 or earlier.

Goals

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
  2. Achieve universal primary education.
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
  4. Reduce child mortality.
  5. Improve maternal health.
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability.
  8. Develop a global partnership for development.

The first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The targets established were to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people with incomes less than $1 a day, and secondly to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

WFP believe that if child hunger can be eradicated by 2015, then the second target of halving the world’s hungry will be reached.

Current Situation

  • 800 million people are hungry and 18,000 children die every day from hunger and hunger related diseases. That means that one child dies every 5 seconds.
  • The more than 800 million chronically hungry people in the world today are mainly women, children, the sick and the old.
  • An estimated 17 million babies born every year are underweight, inheriting hunger from their mothers who are themselves undernourished. If they live long enough, their children will be hungry too. The world’s poor simply pass their hunger from generation to generation.
  • Today, 300 million children are chronically hungry. They are not eating enough to ensure healthy growth. Hunger and the vitamin and mineral deficiencies it causes can even leave them blind, mentally retarded, and physically handicapped. Their immune systems are weakened, and ordinary diseases like measles and diarrhea can kill them.

Fight Hunger Event

  • WFP in a growing coalition with dozens of NGOs and international institutions, seeks to raise awareness around the issue of child hunger through Fight Hunger: Walk the World.
  • Walk the World seeks to become the world’s largest event as we begin to pressure governments to realize the hunger MDG.
  • Visit our website to learn more at www.fighthunger.org