Arch­bishop calls for MDG ac­tion

The Church of England - - NEWS -

WRIT­ING IN A LET­TER to the Fi­nan­cial Times, Arch­bishop Justin Welby and a num­ber of re­li­gious lead­ers have called on Heads of Government in the G8 to take steps to ful­fil the Mil­len­nium Devel­op­ment Goals by the 2015 dead­line.

They ap­peal for Gov­ern­ments of the G8 to take three steps. First of all they want them ‘to ful­fil ex­ist­ing com­mit­ments to spend 0.7 per cent of in­come on aid.’

Sec­ond, the want them to ‘launch a G8 con­ven­tion on tax trans­parency that com­mits sig­na­tory coun­tries to prevent­ing in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies from hid­ing wealth so that it is un­trace­able.’

Third, they ask the lead­ers of the G8 ‘to press for greater fi­nan­cial trans­parency from gov­ern­ments of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries so that the ci­ti­zens of th­ese coun­tries can hold their gov­ern­ments to ac­count for the money they spend’.

The re­li­gious lead­ers claim that ‘devel­op­ment is work­ing but chal­lenges re­main’. They claim one in eight peo­ple in the world still go to bed hun­gry ev­ery night and more than 2m die of mal­nu­tri­tion ev­ery year.

The UK is ful­fill­ing it com­mit­ment to spend 0.7 per cent of its na­tional in­come on aid but at a time of aus­ter­ity many gov­ern­ments are re­duc­ing their do­na­tions.

This year the pres­i­dency of the G8 rests with the UK and the re­li­gious lead­ers ar­gue there is the po­ten­tial ‘to ad­vance the MDG agenda in ways that strike at the un­der­ly­ing causes of poverty, in par­tic­u­lar by en­sur­ing that wealth cre­ated by de­vel­op­ing coun­tries is not lost through un­fair tax prac­tices, a lack of trans­parency or a fail­ure to se­cure the ben­e­fits of trade for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries’.

In ad­di­tion to Arch­bishop Welby, the let­ter is signed by Arch­bishop Vin­cent Ni­chols, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ec­u­meni­cal Pa­tri­ar­chate, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of other Chris­tian Churches, as well as Mus­lim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Bud­dhist or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“Meet­ing the re­main­ing tar­gets, while chal­leng­ing, is pos­si­ble – but only if gov­ern­ments do not wa­ver from the mo­ral and po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ments made over a decade ago,” the let­ter warns.

Coming soon af­ter his in­au­gu­ra­tion the let­ter is a strik­ing in­di­ca­tion of Arch­bishop Welby’s emer­gence as a world fig­ure among re­li­gious lead­ers. It demon­strates both his con­cern to im­prove the con­di­tion of the poor­est peo­ple and his de­ter­mi­na­tion to se­cure greater fi­nan­cial accountability from in­ter­na­tional firms and gov­ern­ments.

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