The declaration highlights the gains made since 1990 in raising nearly a billion people out of poverty. It cites the evidence from the World Bank and elsewhere that the world now has the capacity to end the injustice of extreme poverty. The declaration says:
“In 2015, our governments will be deciding upon a new global sustainable development agenda that has the potential to build on our shared values to finish the urgent task of ending extreme poverty.
We in the faith community embrace this moral imperative because we share the belief that the moral test of our society is how the weakest and most vulnerable are faring.”
The declaration is also a call for collaboration within the faith communities and with others, stating:
“We commit to working together to end the scandal of extreme poverty. We will act, advocate, educate, and collaborate, both among ourselves and with broader initiatives. And we commit to holding all levels of leadership accountable—public and private, domestic and international.
Our approach to this staggering need must be holistic, rooted in the spiritual visions of our respective faiths, and built on a shared recognition of the intrinsic dignity and value of every life on Earth.”
The declaration, drafted by a multi-faith committee, was discussed and shaped at the roundtable convened by the World Bank Group in February 2015. This was the first high-level meeting between President Jim Kim and leaders from religious communities and global faith-based organisations. The Anglican Alliance was represented at this meeting by Co-Executive Director, Rachel Carnegie. Rachel said:
“The Anglican Alliance will give its best efforts to connect and strengthen the response of churches and agencies across the Anglican Communion in collaboration with others to fulfil this vision of ending extreme poverty. Our scriptures speak of God’s call for justice.
Recent years which have seen millions lifted out of poverty. We must complete this work, so no one is left behind. To God no one is invisible.
We must not allow the inequalities in our world to deepen and wound the very body of our common humanity and to undermine our best efforts to eradicate poverty and injustice. Our focus is on sustainable development, in which economic growth is balanced with the the needs of the environment, so that all humanity can flourish in harmony with the planet.”
The declaration reflects this theme:
“We must also state unequivocally that ending extreme poverty without mitigating climate change and combating inequality will be impossible. What is needed is a new paradigm of socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth.”
Responding to the faith declaration, World Bank Group President Jim Kim said:
“Faith leaders and the World Bank Group share a common goal – to realize a world free of extreme poverty in just 15 years. The moral imperative can help drive the movement to end poverty by 2030 by inspiring large communities to act now and to advocate for governments to do the same. These commitments from religious leaders come at just the right time – their actions can help hundreds of millions of people lift themselves out of poverty.”
To see more about this initiative, including statements from other faith groups, click here.
The text of the ‘Moral Imperative’ is set out below:
OUR COMMON UNDERSTANDING
As leaders from diverse religious traditions, we share a compelling vision to end extreme poverty by the year 2030. For the first time in human history, we can do more than simply envision a world free of extreme poverty; we can make it a reality. Accomplishing this goal will take two commitments: to act guided by the best evidence of what works and what doesn’t; and to use our voices to compel and challenge others to join us in this urgent cause inspired by our deepest spiritual values.
The world has achieved remarkable progress in the past two decades in cutting in half the number of people living in extreme poverty. We have ample evidence from the World Bank Group and others showing that we can now end extreme poverty within fifteen years. In 2015, our governments will be deciding upon a new global sustainable development agenda that has the potential to build on our shared values to finish the urgent task of ending extreme poverty.
We in the faith community embrace this moral imperative because we share the belief that the moral test of our society is how the weakest and most vulnerable are faring. Our sacred texts also call us to combat injustice and uplift the poorest in our midst. No one, regardless of sex, age, race, or belief, should be denied experiencing the fullness of life.
OUR SHARED MORAL CONSENSUS
This is why the continued existence of extreme poverty in a plentiful world offends us so deeply. Our faith is tested and our hearts are broken when, in an age of unprecedented wealth and scientific advancement, so many still live in degrading conditions. We know too well that extreme poverty thwarts human purpose, chokes human potential, and affronts human dignity. In our increasingly interconnected world, there is enough to ensure that no one has to fight for their daily survival.
Ending extreme poverty will require a comprehensive approach that tackles its underlying causes—including preventable illness, a lack of access to quality education, joblessness, corruption, violent conflicts, and discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and other groups. It will also necessitate a change in the habits that cause poverty—greed and waste, numbness to the pain of others, and exploitation of people and the natural world. It calls for a holistic and sustainable approach that transforms cultures and institutions, and hearts as well as minds.
In too many parts of the world, women and girls are consigned to second class status, denied access to education and employment, and victimized by violence, trafficking, and rape. Until each and every person is afforded the same basic rights, none of us can truly flourish.
We must also state unequivocally that ending extreme poverty without mitigating climate change and combating inequality will be impossible. Climate change is already disproportionately hurting people living in poverty. Extreme inequality, within and between countries, contradicts our shared religious values, exacerbates social and political divisions, and will impede progress. What is needed is a new paradigm of socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth.
OUR CALL TO ACTION
We believe that now is the time to end the scourge of extreme poverty—by restoring right relationships among people, affirming human dignity, and opening the door to the holistic development of all people. If we were more committed to living these common values there would be less poverty in the world.
Our shared convictions call us to empower and uplift— not denigrate—those living in poverty, so that they can become agents of their own transformation. We must abandon a politics that too often marginalizes their voices, blames them for their condition, and exacerbates extremes of inequality. Now is the time to turn fatigue into renewed commitment, indifference into compassion, cynicism into hope, and impotence into a greater sense of agency that we can and will end extreme poverty by 2030.
We commit to working together to end the scandal of extreme poverty. We will act, advocate, educate, and collaborate, both among ourselves and with broader initiatives. And we commit to holding all levels of leadership accountable—public and private, domestic and international.
Our approach to this staggering need must be holistic, rooted in the spiritual visions of our respective faiths, and built on a shared recognition of the intrinsic dignity and value of every life on Earth.
Realizing this shared goal will require a revolution in social and political will, as well as new innovations and greater collaboration across sectors. We call on international organizations, governments, corporations, civil society, and religious communities, to play their essential parts and join with us in this critical cause.
Poverty’s imprisonment of more than a billion men, women and children must end. Now is the time to boldly act to free the next generation from extreme poverty’s grip.
- Actalliance, General Secretary, Dr. John Nduna
- American Jewish Committee, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, Chief Rabbi David Rosen
- American Jewish World Service, President, Ms. Ruth Messinger
- Anglican Alliance, Joint Executive Director, Rev. Rachel Carnegie
- Bibliotheca Alexandria, Founding Director, Dr. Ismail Serageldin
- Baha’i International Community, Principle Representative to the United Nations, Ms. Bani Dugal
- Buddhist Global Relief, Chairperson, Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi
- Bread for the World, President, Rev. David Beckmann
- Caritas Internationalis, Secretary General, Mr. Michel Roy
- Catholic Relief Services, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Carolyn Woo
- Church World Service, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rev. John McCullough
- Community of Protestant Churches of Europe, President, Rev. Dr. Thomas Wipf
- EcoSikh, Board Member, Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli
- Forum for Peace in Islamic Societies, President, H.E. Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah
- Indigenous People Ancestral Spiritual Council, President, Priestess Beatriz Schulthess
- Islamic Relief International, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mohamed Ashmawey
- Islamic Society of North America, Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances Director, Dr. Sayyid Syeed
- Interfaith WASH Alliance, Co-Founder, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
- Joint Distribution Committee, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alan Gill
- Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue, Director, Rabbi Dr. Burt Visotzky
- Muhammadiyah, President, Dr. Din Syamsuddin
- Organization of African Instituted Churches, General Secretary, Rev. Nicta Lubaale
- Religions For Peace, Secretary General, Dr. William Vendley
- Rissho Kosei-Kai, President-Designate, Rev. Kosho Niwano
- Religious Action Center, Director, Rabbi Jonah Pesner
- Sojourners, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rev. Jim Wallis
- Salvation Army, General, General Andre Cox
- Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, General Secretary, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne
- World Council of Churches, General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit
- World Evangelical Alliance, Secretary General and CEO, Bishop Efraim Tendero
- World Relief, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Stephan Bauman
- World Vision International, President, Mr. Kevin Jenkins
- Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Grand Mufti, H.E. Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje
- Global Christian Forum, Founder, Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson
- Parliament of the World’s Religions, Executive Director, Dr. Mary Nelson
- Integrated Research Ltd; The Charitable Foundation;
- Institute for Economics and Peace, Founder & Executive Chairman, Mr. Steve Killelea
Photo credit: Anglican Alliance. Children in Kenya looking after rabbits in their community’s food security initiative.
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