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from issue no. 08 - 2004

Uganda. Poverty and globalization

The rich countries should respect the commitments made

«Human dignity and freedom are the objectives of development», but this «cannot be reached while the resources to guarantee real progress in health care, in education and in the infrastructures are lacking». This is one of the more characteristic passages from the closing Declaration of the international seminar on “Poverty and globalization”, held on 9 July last in Rome on the initiative of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Spokesmen from many governments, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations attended the conference and discussed the subject of the financing of poor countries. In the closing document, the participants confirmed the need for rich countries to respect their commitment to contribute 0.7% of their gross national product for the progress of developing countries. In this context, support for new initiatives such as the International Finance Facility was expressed, spoken of during the conference by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. At the end of the conference the president of the Pontifical Council, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, told Vatican Radio:«There was unanimous agreement about confronting the need and urgency to find other sums so as to achieve the goals the international community set itself for 2015. If these funds are not found the developing world will indeed have to wait centuries, according to the predictions made by Chancellor Gordon Brown. Therefore it is extremely urgent that the funds be found. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace will collate these conclusions and make a summary of the conference discussions, which it will circulate both through the Episcopal Conferences as well as through the normal channels of communication and all the interested bodies».

John Paul II sent a message to the convention in which he affirmed that the Catholic Church «committed to a “preferential option for the poor” … energetically backs the millennium goal of halving the number of people who live in poverty by 2015».

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