“We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women, and children, from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are now subjected.” – Kofi Annan The MDGs and Us Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Lazarus at our Gate: A Study of Global Poverty and Response • GLOBAL POVERTY - Facts & Trends • OUR CURRENT RESPONSE • EPISCOPALIANS FOR GLOBAL RECONCILIATION
GLOBAL POVERTY Luke 16: 19-31
Planet Earth houses 6 billion children of God. One billion of us live in extreme material poverty.
God’s children who live in poverty say: • “Poverty is like living in jail, living under bondage, waiting to be free” – Jamaica • For Brazilian parents, poverty is “to come home and see your children go hungry and not have anything to give them” • “This is a selfish land, with no place for the poor”. — India • “For a poor person everything is terrible – illness, humiliation, shame… We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of.” A blind woman from Moldova • A middle-aged woman in Bulgaria said: “A normal person has … some self-esteem, to take a holiday, read a book. While now – you work here or there all day in order to have something to eat, and at night you can’t even exchange a couple of words like normal persons, you drop off asleep as if you were dead. It’s as if you were dead while you were still alive.”
The World is trying to respond: The United Nations • In September 2000, the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and 189 governments pledged to accomplish a set of eight goals and thereby reduce human suffering across the globe by 2015. • They said, "We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women, and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are now subjected.“
The World is trying to respond: The Church • The Episcopal Church likewise passed a resolution in its General Convention which commits the Episcopal Church to endorsing the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to working for their achievement. • Other Churches are joining in. Why? The Micah Challenge, a group of Evangelical Churches, explains it this way: This is a unique moment in history, when the stated intentions of world leaders [to realize the MDGs] echo something of the mind of the Biblical prophets and the teachings of Jesus concerning the poor.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2. Achieve universal primary education 3. Promote gender equality and empower women 4. Reduce child mortality 5. Improve the health of mothers 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases 7. Ensure environmental sustainability 8. Develop a global partnership for development
The MDGs – A closer look 1 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. Specifically, the aim is, by 2015, to cut in half the proportion of people (starting at the 1990 proportion) whose income amounts to less than a dollar a day, and who suffer from hunger. About 1.1 billion people had less than $1 to spend today, and 840 million people were hungry.
The MDGs – A closer look 2 Achieve universal primary education. The aim: that all girls and boys complete primary school. Today 115 million school-aged children are not in school. The biggest number of these children live in South Asia – India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In Africa, only half of the school-aged children finish primary school. So far we are not making progress fast enough to achieve this goal of primary education by 2015.
Universal Primary Education – Three regions are on track to achieve the goal. But three regionsare in danger of falling short. Sub-Saharan Africa only 51% of children finish primary school. South Asia has nearly twice as many illiterate folk as Africa.
The MDGs – A Closer Look 3 Promote gender equality and empower women. How? Many ways – like making sure that as many girls and young women have the chance to go to grade school, high school, and college education as boys.
The MDGs – A Closer Look 4 Reduce child mortality. The goal is to decrease by two-thirds the number of children who die before their 5th birthday. At present one small life slips away every three seconds – 11 million children a year.
How are we doing so far on Under 5 Mortality? Not very well. One region is on track to achieve the goal by 2015, and three regions are close. But two regionsare not reducing children’s deaths very much. Children in South Asia and Africa live in risk.
The MDGs – A Closer Look 5 Improve maternal health. The target is to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters. We think mothers are safe. But 500,000 mothers die in childbirth a year. Many women are afraid as their little one grows inside, afraid as they do the cooking and hum a lullaby, afraid they will die as they bring forth life.
The MDGs – A Closer Look 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Reverse the spread of these dread diseases by 2015.
HIV AIDS and Africa:December 2003 • Approximately 42 million people are now living with HIV/AIDS (34-46m). • Of these, 95% live in developing countries. • 70% of all people with HIV/AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa • In Africa women between 15 and 24 years old are twice as likely to be infected as men. • About 30% of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide live in southern Africa, an area that is home to just 2% of the world’s population.
No Data <5% 5% - 25% 25% - 50% >50% Chances of Not Surviving to Age 40Females 2000 Source: Mortality: WHO 2000
MDGs – A Closer Look 7 Ensure environmental sustainability. How? Make drinking water safer – 1 in six of us drink water that may make us sick. Also, improve the lives of 100 million of the 924 million slum dwellers in our cities. And control gas emissions.
MDGs – A Closer Look 8 Develop a global partnership for development. Enable donors, governments, corporations, faith based groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals work together to achieve the MDGs.
The Bottom Line: Poverty is undeniably huge. But for the first time in history, it is solvable in our generation. Will we respond?
Of course meeting the MDGs doesn’t make all our problems go away. The MDGs do not stop war; they do not include all human rights. These things also deserve our utmost attention.
But even in war, far more people perish of poverty-related causes than die in battle. Nearly every year more mothers die in childbirth than people die in combat. Poverty is huge. And we could do prevent and halt some conflicts by reducing poverty. We could. The power is in our hands. That’s why the United Nation’s MDG slogan is: “No Excuses”
Still, Dadi Taja, who is absolutely poor, reminds us that the poor are as thoughtful and full of interest in life as we are. She said, I didn’t know how to make garlands, or to keep a rose garden. Now it feels easy. Suppose a woman is not feeling well, we can do each others work. We have done so many times, to help each other out. People in the village now respect me. In the early morning, I pick flowers. When I do this, I feel I have done sawab – holy work. Inner peace comes. People tell me that the fragrance of roses is always in my clothes.
A Prayer: Most loving God, As your desire for mercy for the poor is unrelenting, may we be unrelenting in our pursuit of mercy for all; As your compassion for the suffering of the poor knows no limit, may our hearts overflow with compassion for all; As you long for justice for the poor, may we strive for justice for all. Forgive us our meager faith that doubts your providence and bounty, and our abiding neglect of your Son in the poor and needy of the world; Open our eyes to the structures of oppression from which we benefit, and give us courage to accept our responsibility, wisdom to chart a sound course amid complexity, and perseverance to continue our work until it is finished. Breathe your life-giving Spirit afresh into your Church to free us from apathy and indifference, and so bless and direct our endeavors that we may be agents of your mercy, compassion, and justice, to the end that new life and hope may abound and your Name be praised in every place; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Income 0.7% $5 3½ cents $10 7 cents $50 35 cents $100 70 cents $1000 $7 $5,000 $35 $7,000 $49 $10,000 $70 $15,000 $105 $20,000 $140 $25,000 $175 $30,000 $210 $35,000 $245 $40,000 $280 $45,000 $315 $50,000 $350 $55,000 $385 $60,000 $420 $65,000 $455 $70,000 $490 $75,000 $525 $80,000 $560 $85,000 $595 $90,000 $630 $95,000 $665 $100,000 $700 $120,000 $840 $140,000 $980 $160,000 $1,120 $180,000 $1,260 $200,000 $1,400 $250,000 $1,750 $300,000 $2,100 $350,000 $2,450 $400,000 $2,800 $450,000 $3,150 $500,000 $3,500 $1,000,000 $7,000 How much is 0.7% of my income?