Why this Issue is Important: From July 6 to July 8, Heads of State of the seven major industrialized countries plus Russia (the G8) will hold a Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland to discuss pressing economic and political issues that include: global poverty, international trade, climate change, and the arms trade. The 2005 G8 summit will place special emphasis on Africa and its challenges to lift people out of crushing poverty. The summit will act on a recent G8 proposal of new multilateral debt cancellation for poor countries. While we commend this agreement, much more must be done to support development and peace. The G8 Summit is a critical opportunity for leaders to establish concrete initiatives in several key areas.
USCCB/CRS Position: As part of our role to preach the Gospel in our modern world, USCCB and CRS work to promote public policies that foster justice within and between nations. Based on our respect for human life and dignity, we believe the United States should take the occasion of the G8 Summit to advance the universal common good by adopting concrete measures on global poverty, international trade, climate change, and the arms trade. USCCB and CRS are deeply engaged with the Catholic Church and people of Africa and welcome the Summits special focus on Africa. Standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the poorest parts of the world, we call upon leaders at the G8 Summit to collaborate in promoting poverty reduction, just trade, environmental stewardship, and international peace.
USCCB and CRS urge President Bush to help the G8 to take bold action on the following priorities:
- Global Poverty: Supplement the recent agreement on new debt cancellation with more generous foreign aid to support peacekeeping, reconstruction after conflict, basic education and development in poor countries, especially in Africa.
- Trade: Substantially increase market access and effective special and differential treatment for developing countries, in accordance with the Doha development agenda, and take concrete steps toward eliminating trade-distorting agricultural subsidies and instead target farm support to small and medium-sized farmers.
- Climate Change: Give priority to further research on the possible harmful effects of climate change on the poor, and establish programs to help the poor adapt and mitigate its worst effects.
- Arms Trade: Lead the effort to enact strong, life-saving, legally binding measures to control international trade in conventional arms based on human rights and humanitarian law.
- Call the Office of the President (202) 456-1414, or the White House comment line (202) 456-1111 to leave a message for the President.
- Forward this action alert to your family, friends, and fellow parishioners by visiting www.catholicrelief.org/actioncenter.cfm and clicking on TELL-A-FRIEND!
- Visit CRS Africa Rising: Hope and Healing web page to read more about issues that impact Africa: www.crs.org/get_involved/advocacy/africa_campaign/index.cfm
- Get involved in the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty (www.usccb.org/globalpoverty), a joint effort by USCCB and CRS that encourages Catholics in the United States to learn about the issues of aid, trade and debt, how they affect our brothers and sisters living in poverty, and what you can do to advocate for U.S. policies that promote economic and social development.
Tina Rodousakis, Legislative Network Specialist, 1-800-235-2772 x 7462; firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Andrew Small, OMI, Policy Advisor, USCCB, 202-541-3153, email@example.com