As Christians, in accordance with the Scripture, we are called to care for the poor and the vulnerable and to uphold human dignity. As well, seeking to imitate the life of Christ, we are called to stand with the widow and orphan, the marginalized and disadvantaged of the world.
Today, in the midst of unprecedented global wealth, over 1 billion people live in abject poverty on less than $1 a day, and 3 billion (half the global population) live on less than $2 a day. 50,000 people die each day from preventable, poverty-related diseases. Such poverty is a major threat to life, security, and sustainable development, and it is unnecessary; global resources are more than adequate to end extreme poverty.
Canada's Commitment to the Poor
In December 2000, countries around the world, including Canada, signed the Millennium Declaration, committing themselves to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of targets aimed at cutting abject poverty in half by 2015. In order to fulfil its commitments to the MDG’s - and ultimately to the world’s poor - Canada must make global poverty reduction a high priority in its international policy.
Making global poverty a high priority means meeting the 0.7% GNI goal for Official Development Assistance, developing agricultural trade rules and practices that benefit the poor, and committing to debt relief for poor countries. These aims are achievable, but the current pace of action is much too slow. If we hold the present course, we will fail to meet these important targets. And the poor will pay the price.
Why Aid, Debt and Trade?
More and better aid, debt relief and trade justice are the pillars of global poverty reduction. When we follow through in these areas, we create the necessary conditions for poor communities to fight disease, grow more food, start small businesses, and escape the relentless cycle of poverty.