Caritas has joined other development agencies work for an end to poverty in the New Zealand response to the global campaign Make Poverty History.
The coalition campaign includes encouraging people to wear white armbands as a protest against poverty. The four key issues in the campaign are:
• Drop the debt
• More and better aid
• Fair trade
• End child poverty in NZ
Members are planning to launch the campaign on 1 July, when the G8 Summit in Edinburgh starts. The international campaign intends to put pressure on world leaders to consider what they can do to reduce poverty caused by unfair debt burdens on poor countries and unfair trade rules.
Caritas and Christian World Service are holding a joint seminar at the Mercy Centre in Wellington on 1 July from 9.30 to 12.30 for any people interested in becoming part of this campaign.
The seminar will include speeches by Peter Zwart of Caritas on debt, and Gillian Southey of Christian World Service on trade.
Peter Zwart says many New Zealanders can relate to the burden of unpayable debt on third world countries, because of the high levels of student and household debt in New Zealand.
The burden of meeting debt payments means many countries do not have enough funds to meet health and education costs.
Some debt relief was provided in 2000 and Peter says this resulted in a perception among many people that debt issues had been resolved. ‘But for many of the poorest countries, very little has changed.’
He says the cost of debt cancellation is low compared to world spending on defence. ‘It is manageable. If there is to be any chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals to end extreme poverty there must be debt cancellation.’