Brussels, 16 October 2009 - This Saturday, Oct. 17th, is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. In 2000, at the UN Millenium Summit, the world agreed to complete the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Unfortunately, the last UN report on the matter clearly shows that the world is not going in the right direction. While the world richest have poured enormous amount of money (trillions of euro in the EU only) to bail out banks and other financial institutions, extreme poverty continues to trap more than 1 billion people, who live with less than 1 dollar a day.
Caritas’ values are human dignity, solidarity and the preferential option for the poor. Especially in this time of increased social and economic hardship, these values call for enhanced and shared responsibility on behalf of the public authorities, the political forces, the economic sector, the organised civil society and the people.
The world’s market economy must incorporate the principles of distributive and social justice, rather than continuing to act under the purely commercial logic as it has done up until now. Today, we are all suffering under the financial, enviromental and social meltdown that this logic has produced.
Achieving global social justice and development implies a human-centered approach, and ethics to properly guide the economy. The human being is “the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life”, says Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical letter “Caritas in Veritate”. Thus, global and national markets must enhance their social dimension and social responsibility, involving both producers and consumers.
We live in a time where the world has never been as rich nor produced as much food as today. In such a context, the condition of people dying of hunger or easily preventable disease, in fact, the very existence of poverty among us is completely unacceptable.
All people living in poverty are fully endowed with human dignity and potential. Thus, Caritas Europa joins its voice to the millions of people that strongly call on decision makers to show the necessary political will to end poverty in this rich world by 2015. The means are within arm’s reach, let’s use them!
Logo for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty