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  Northern and Southern Christian Religious Leaders Present Communiqué on Poverty Reduction Action to United Nations Leaders

Multi-Denominational Consultation of Religious Leaders on Global Poverty

On September 13, religious leaders representing one-third of the world’s population presented the outcome Communiqué of their “Consultation of Religious Leaders on Global Poverty” to Mme. Louise Fréchette, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Co-Chair of the United Nations’ 2005 World Summit, H.E. Jean Ping.

The consensus document calls for a stepped-up role of the religious sector in alleviating extreme poverty by affirming the Millennium Development Goals and through greater collaboration between the Christian traditions, governments and civil society. It was negotiated in closed consultation at Washington National Cathedral September 11-12, 2005.

"You have offered us a good gift," said United Nations' Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette, of the consensus communiqué. “I applaud your commitment to scaling up the work done by your religious institutions against poverty, and I encourage your determination to establish stronger partnerships with governments, civil society and the broader international community, especially at the country.”

According to Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, The Most Rev. Njongonkulu W. H. Ndungane of South Africa, convener of the Consultation, "Leaders from both Southern and Northern countries have produced a Communiqué which I anticipate will build on such campaigns as Make Poverty History. It will reaffirm the unfinished work on trade, debt relief and aid, and call for urgent and escalated collaboration between Christian churches of the south and north, worldwide interfaith partners, NGOs, the private sector and others.”

“It has become most urgent for religious leaders to articulate their caring ministries for poverty in all its forms in God’s world and the Millennium Development Goals are the most practical bench-marks for assessing stewardship to heal God’s creation,” said Archdeacon Tai Tuatagaloa-Matalavea, Anglican Observer of the United Nations. It is a real privilege to share the decisions made by the Anglican Communion with regards to the full implementation of the Millennium Declaration and to share the anxieties of the UN Ecumenical Working Group on such issues,"

The Consultation, the inaugural event of the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation at Washington National Cathedral, is an international, multi-denominational meeting convened by the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, The Most Rev. Njongonkulu W. H. Ndungane of South Africa. His Roman Catholic counterpart from Nairobi, The Most Rev. Raphael Ndingi Mwana’a Nzeki also participated along with 30 plus high-ranking faith leaders from the Northern and Southern hemispheres representing Anglican, Roman Catholic, Reformed, Methodist, Evangelical, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, and Seventh-day Adventist denominations.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Nzeki said, “Beneficiaries of any kind of assistance, whatever their status, appreciate help more if their benefactors walk with them along the path marked for assistance. The point I am making is that the best deployment of the infrastructure and resources of Christian churches against global poverty must incorporate the active involvement of the poor – even if that entails long and painful waiting. It is important that the churches resources be deployed in a manner that enables the poor to see that their views, opinions and wishes are appreciated.”

The Communiqué is available online at the Washington National Cathedral’s online media center: http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/news/050911index.shtml

Interviews with Consultation participants are available. For a list of Consultation Participants see: http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/news/050911index.shtml

Published by the Anglican Communion Office ©2002 Anglican Consultative Council