Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 11, 2007
Bishops want 'bold action' from G-8 leaders on global issues
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, advocating action on global poverty, climate change, AIDs prevention and peacekeeping, especially in Darfur.
The letter by CCCB President Andre Gaumond Sherbrooke to Harper came in advance of the G-8 Summit in Germany June 6-8.
Gaumond joined his counterparts from the bishops' conferences of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia in writing their respective leaders on these issues.
"Our concerns for these issues arise from our religious and moral commitment to promote human life, human dignity and care for God's creation," wrote Gaumond, in the May 31 letter.
He urged "bold action" on the part of the leaders of the world's wealthier nations.
More foreign aid
Though Gaumond commended the leaders' previous commitment to grant an additional $50 billion in foreign aid by 2010, with half of that going to Africa, he pointed out the bishops are concerned that foreign aid funding levels "remained stagnant in 2006."
"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," he wrote.
He highlighted the need for better HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, focusing especially on the need for better education and development opportunities for women and girls.
Gaumond wrote that climate change is of "particular concern" because its harmful impact will be experienced disproportionately by the poor.
"The costs of initiatives to prevent and mitigate the harmful consequences of climate change should be borne more by richer persons and nations who have benefited most from the harmful emissions that fueled development and should not be placed on the shoulders of the poor," he wrote. Gaumond called for good stewardship of the earth's resources.
The archbishop wrote the conflict in Darfur needs the G-8's "urgent attention."
"As each day goes by and more people are killed or made homeless, the international community's failure to take effective action is becoming morally unconscionable," he wrote.
Peacekeeping in Darfur
"The G8 must intensify efforts to secure the support of all members of the Security Council for full implementation of the UN mandate to strengthen the peacekeeping force in Darfur."
He encouraged the G-8 to not only strengthen peacekeeping efforts in Sudan, but also in other countries to support "peace building and reconstruction efforts in countries emerging from conflict."
The letter called for the prevention of the illegal exploitation of natural resources, especially in how this is linked to poverty in Africa, as well as the prevention of illegal arms trading, money laundering and the corruption of government officials in poorer countries.
Gaumond also called upon the G-8 to commit to bringing a quality education to every child in Africa.
The full text of the letter is available at www.cccb.ca.