Tuesday 22. October 2019
Bishops ask G8 Summit for new mobilisation for Africa

G8 Summit: Bishops demand new mobilisation for Africa

Press Release - 29 May 2003 Bishop Josef Homeyer, President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), and Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, President of the Symposium of Bishops' Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), send a joint letter to the G8 Summit in Evian, France on 1-3 June 2003.

The Bishops met in Berlin on 29 May 2003, in the margins of the "Ökumenischer Kirchentag". Bishop Adrianus van Luyn, Vice-President of COMECE, and Mgr Noel Treanor, Secretary General of COMECE, were also present. The Presidents of COMECE and SECAM wrote to President Jacques Chirac of France, who will host the Evian Summit on 1-3 June, calling on the G8 to give practical support to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) by increasing development aid and reducing the debt of developing countries. They also asked the G8 to help African countries meet their obligations under NEPAD to improve their internal governance. The Bishops welcomed the initiative of the French Presidency to invite the leaders of several developing countries and international organisations to take part in a joint session with the G8, which they said would be a step towards the sort of "Global Governance Group" - advocated in a report to the Bishops of COMECE in October 2001 - which is needed to make globalisation an opportunity for all and not just the wealthiest. In their letter, the Bishops also called on the European Union and the G8 countries to overcome the current impasse on negotiations within the World Trade Organisation on agricultural trade and access to medications, which are issues of the greatest importance for Africa. This would be a sign of their determination to build a better system of global governance based on justice and solidarity. During their meeting the Presidents of COMECE and SECAM approved the conclusions of a joint seminar in Lisbon on 27-28 February 2003 on "Africa and the European Union: Partners in Solidarity - Contribution of the Church". They expressed their hope that the Africa-Europe Summit would take place at the earliest appropriate opportunity. The Summit, which was due to take place in Lisbon in April 2003, was postponed indefinitely due to the situation in Zimbabwe. The Bishops expressed their support for the efforts of the local Church to promote peace, justice and solidarity in this country, and recalled the recent words of Pope John Paul II: "The Catholic Church pledges her full support for all efforts to construct a culture of dialogue rather than confrontation, of reconciliation rather than conflict" (Speech to the new Ambassador of Zimbabwe to the Holy See, 15 May 2003). Archbishop Monsengwo, who is the Archbishop of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reported on the crisis currently affecting the region of Ituri. The Bishops called on the international community, and particularly the countries of the European Union, to do everything in their power to prevent a further escalation of the violence and to avert the risk of genocide. ENDS Download the letter to President Chirac Link: SECAM

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