Overcoming Poverty in an Unequal World
Poverty must no longer be with us
Dr Haruhisa Handa
The poverty symposium is presented with the generous support of Dr Haruhisa Handa, the Asian Faiths Development Dialogue, the International Shinto Foundation and the World Faiths Development Dialogue.
The poverty symposium explored how faith communities are meeting the many dimensions of contemporary poverty. The year 2000 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) offer a framework for global action, setting priority goals and targets, but the experience and reflections of faith communities are not fully part of the MDG process. A central Parliament objective is to jolt this situation with new insights and ideas. The challenging agenda of the poverty symposium’s 20 sessions explored the historic shifts from charity and compassion to respect, rights, and equity as drivers of social justice; practical approaches from education and health to finance to healing the earth; provocations and answers to conflict; women as leading partners for successful modern communities; and seizing the opportunity for change in times of crisis. The common thread linking poverty symposium sessions was the search for ideas and paths towards action by faith communities and new forms of partnership, both interfaith and among social actors inspired by faith and the core values of human rights.
A sampling of confirmed programs includes:
Engaging FBOs (Faith-Based Organisations) for the MDGs - Comparative UN Experiences
In 2001, the United Nations agreed to achieve eight development goals – from ending extreme poverty, to promoting gender equality, and attaining environmental sustainability. In this program, representatives from six UN organizations discussed the successes and challenges involved in their outreach to Faith-Based Organizations as they work to achieve these ambitious goals. This session was an opportunity for religious communities to build bridges with multi-lateral organizations in their efforts to bring economic justice to the developing world.
Caritas Australia - Community Development in a multifaith and multicultural environment
Caritas Australia is an official aid and development agency of the Roman Catholic Church. In cooperation with Caritas International, the agency’s mission is to alleviate poverty and to bring justice to the oppressed. This workshop put forward the guiding vision of Caritas Australia, presented a case study of its work in Indonesia, and discussed its ongoing efforts to raise awareness of global injustice within its home country.
Stop the Traffic, People are Not for Sale: Human Trafficking and Slavery in the World Today
Human trafficking is a global phenomenon. Underlying this modern form of slavery are systemic issues of inequality, poverty, and gender discrimination. Through sharing stories and multimedia presentations, representatives from Stop the Traffic, a worldwide anti-slavery movement, encouraged participants to take action to abolish slavery once and for all.
Danielle Strickland, Director of Social Justice, Salvation Army, Australia
Peace-Build as a Strategy to Promote Social Cohesion Among Communities of Various Faiths in a Situation of Armed Conflict
On the troubled Philippines island of Mindanao, the Habitat for Humanity has served the cause of peace by building homes for both Muslims and Christians. These projects – dubbed "Peace Builds" – contribute to the improvement of interfaith relations and strengthen existing structures for peace and development. This session presented the Peace Build as a case study of a strategy to promote social cohesion in a divided community.
Habitat for Humanity
UN Millennium Development Goals, Challenges and Opportunities for Global Stability
The MDGs are people-centric and measurable, and are intended to transform communities from the bottom up. They range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary education by the target date of 2015. These goals are backed by a consensus of governments throughout the world. This session discussed the MDGs, the progress that has been made toward achieving them, and the challenges that remain. The aim was to assist the participant in understanding the nature of the systems that have sustained the status quo and the nature of the systems that will be required to support systemic change.
Almaz Negash, Brad Reddersen, Bruce Duncan
Imagine a world without poverty. Now help make it a reality.
While many have escaped the blight of disease and poverty, too many people have not. It is hoped that by 2015 extreme poverty will be halved, as outlined in the Millenium Development Goals establsihed by the United Nations. To attain this goal, we will learn how religious and spiritual communities throughout the world are implementing practical answers to poverty that work — and how we can adapt these programs to our own communities.