AMERICA/HONDURAS - President of Caritas International asks G-20 leaders not to let the economic

Tegucigalpa (Agenzia Fides) – Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras) and President of Caritas International, is calling on G20 leaders, who are meeting in London on 2 April, to put the poor at the heart of their reform package. The Cardinal says the economic crisis will impact on poor people the most. At least 53 million people will be driven into poverty in developing countries as a result. This is on top of the 135 - 150 million people driven into poverty by the increases in food and fuel prices last year. The Cardinal explained, in the letter, that “the global economic crisis happened because ethics were marginalised in the pursuit of greater wealth by the powerful few.” “We can meet this crisis by patching up the failed globalisation of greed or see it as an opportunity to create a globalisation based on solidarity, justice and peace,” the text said.He also mentioned that the poor - those least responsible for the economic crisis - “will have the greatest difficulty coping with its impact.” “When trillions of dollars were found to rescue the banking system,” the Cardinal denounced, “it is morally unjustifiable that some rich countries have cut aid budgets. The economic crisis must not sidetrack rich countries from their obligations on aid to developing countries.”The Cardinal considers the importance in that “wealthy nations do not ignore their obligations to help developing nations.” In light of this, the Cardinal – in representation of Caritas – calls for a reform of the UN, IMF and the World Bank, to ensure greater participation of poor countries in decision making. “Caritas is calling on the G20 to strongly support the UN high-level conference on the crisis impact on development that will take place on 1-4 June. Financial resources for development are needed more than ever.” He also calls for the donor countries “to deliver on long-standing promises to dedicate 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) for international aid. Caritas wants policies to create just trade, debt relief and measures to mobilize domestic financial resources in developing countries.” On behalf of Caritas, he calls for “a new international participative system for wealth redistribution set up through the creation of international taxes to fund global public goods and the implementation of adequate fiscal policies at national level” and that “the G-20 must commit to sanctions against tax havens and their users, support the adoption of the code of conduct for cooperation in the fight against capital flight and tax evasion.”Caritas International also calls for a “greater transparency of the payments and taxes paid by companies to governments through reforming international accounting standards, requiring companies to publish this information on a country by country basis. “This is necessary for creating a more positive impact on poor communities and their local environment,” the Cardinal emphasized in his appeal to the G-20 leaders. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 2/4/2009)

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