This week marks the 60th birthday of the United Nations – and a three-day UN summit gets underway Wednesday. One hundred seventy presidents and prime ministers are expected to attend – and approve a new document about UN goals, as well as a package of reforms. Watching the summit will be more than 30 Christian leaders from around the world who’ve come to a conference of their own in Washington, DC. It’s called “a consultation of religious leaders on global poverty,” and it’s being held at the National Cathedral. Participants are finalizing a communiqué on global poverty that they’ll send to world leaders tomorrow (Tuesday). They’ll also meet with UN officials during the summit this week to press their ideas for fighting poverty.
The Anglican bishop of Botswana, Mosonda Trevor Selywn Mwamba, told reporter William Eagle the communiqué will encourage institutions and governments to live up to their commitment to cut poverty in half within 10 years. He says the clergy visiting Washington this week agree that a set percentage of each industrialized country’s gross domestic product should be committed to development assistance.
Some critics say that many developing countries lack the infrastructure to absorb massive aid increases. However, Bishop Mwamba disagrees – and says African churches have the ability to establish and monitor development projects with assistance from international donors. The Anglican clergyman also challenges the business community to see invest in health care and other sectors that are both profitable and socially beneficial.