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Bishop John H. Ricard, July 11, 2005
At a time of sadness, fear and determination following the terror attacks on the people of London, the G8 leaders have offered a vision of solidarity and commitments of hope and promise. They launched a new partnership in pursuit of a more just, secure and peaceful world. They committed the most powerful nations on earth to work together to protect the lives and dignity of the world’s poorest people. In their promises of additional assistance, debt relief and more equitable trade, they offer essential alternatives to desperation and deprivation.
We welcome the commitment to increase aid to developing nations, particularly to double aid to Africa. Steps need to be taken now to reach this goal by 2010. We are also encouraged by the focus on increasing capacity, good governance and transparency as well as strengthening peacekeeping and peace-building in Africa. Peace is an essential condition of authentic development. We welcome the G8 commitment to cancel the oppressive debt owed to multilateral institutions, but we renew our call to extend debt relief to all poor countries in need of a fresh start. We urge G8 leaders to sharpen their focus and to act on global trade inequalities, particularly agricultural subsidies, so that poor countries will have a chance to compete fairly.
The acknowledgement of the need to address climate change is an important development. We encourage G8 leaders to continue their pursuit of measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change, including real steps for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and examining the impact of climate change on the poor.
We also welcome the support for a possible increase in economic aid to the Palestinians. We hope that this critical step in the effort to achieve greater peace and security in the Middle East will be realized quickly and concretely.
Clearly, one meeting will not overcome poverty and despair. However, through sustained implementation of promising commitments, our world can become more just and more peaceful. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has worked for so many years on these priorities, welcomes this essential leadership and will work with the Bush Administration and Congress to ensure that these commitments are kept and resources are found to realize their promise for hungry and suffering people.
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