Beliefnet News

WASHINGTON (RNS) Faith-based organizations are warning finance ministers from the world’s 20 richest economies they will not meet the majority of their own goals to help the world’s poorest nations.
The Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of 75 faith-based and human rights organizations, issued a report Wednesday (Sept. 16) outlining progress on the 13 goals the so-called “G-20” set for itself last April.
According to the report, the G-20 is “on track to meet five of these goals, is failing to meet four and is unlikely to meet four without major attention.”
Neil Watkins, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, said the G-20 proposals have mainly focused on granting new loans to the poorest countries, which will create more debt and divert resources from development and education to paying off debts and interest.
“This is something that the faith community has been really concerned with,” Watkins said.
For nearly a decade, the Jubilee USA Network had advocated the biblical concept of the jubilee year in which debts are canceled. They hope the G-20, which will meet at a summit hosted by President Obama next week (Sept. 24-25) in Pittsburg will consider expanded debt cancellation to poor countries whose debt level prevents them from meeting the basic needs of their people.
There will also be a Faith Leaders Summit preceding the G-20 Summit organized by the Christian anti-hunger group Bread for the World, the Alliance to End Hunger and other supporters including more than 25 national religious leaders.
“The most important indicator of economic recovery should be what happens to hungry and poor people — the many families who are struggling in our own country and the tens of millions who have been driven into hunger around the world,” the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said in a press release.
— Angela Abbamonte
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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