U.N. Summit a Disappointment, Says Caritas

And a "Missed Opportunity" to End Poverty

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 16, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Rancor and political maneuverings transformed the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations into a "missed opportunity of staggering proportions," said Caritas Internationalis.



The Vatican aid organization, in a statement released Thursday, said the three-day summit did not give priority to strengthening the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- a plan to halve world poverty by 2015, which they committed to five years ago.

"Disappointment does not nearly contain the depth of anguish," said the secretary-general of Caritas, Duncan MacLaren, who signed the communiqué.

"We believe an awesome opportunity has been forfeited," he said. "Several countries -- led by the United States -- lobbied successfully to marginalize discussion of the goals."

"While the MDGs were acknowledged in the 35-page final declaration -- which is to be solemnly ratified on Friday -- the United States ensured that any reference to specific financial commitment by developed countries was eliminated from the document," wrote MacLaren.

Unacceptable poverty

"The hope for achievements targeted for 2015 was daunting, but politically perfectly possible in a world with the wealth and the technology to dent dehumanizing poverty," he said.

"This was a global initiative to collectively and urgently address the gravest situations of need and sustained desperation in a rich world of excess and indulgence," the Caritas official added.

"What message are we giving to the millions of poor in every corner of the world who placed revived hope in this gathering?" MacLaren asked in the statement. "What effect will this laissez faire attitude have on the dispossessed who now have extra grievances to unleash violence in a world that doesn't care?"

"Caritas Internationalis calls on all its member organizations to continue the struggle to force governments to honor their commitments to the MDGs," he stated. "No more excuses such poverty is humanly unacceptable -- we must move to make poverty history."