London, England, Jun 11, 2021 / 03:30 am (CNA).
On the eve of the G7 summit in Cornwall, Catholic bishops across Britain called on leaders to work for a “just” and “sustainable” future.
In a letter to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the bishops appealed for economic support in the wake of the pandemic, increased help for developing nations, and greater urgency in meeting environmental targets.
“We now have a responsibility — especially as more wealthy nations — to respond quickly to financially support actions for the benefit of our whole human family and the planet, whether this be our own communities, or those separated from us by distance but intimately connected to us by our dependence on the biodiversity of our common home,” the bishops wrote in the letter dated June 7 and released June 9.
The letter was signed by Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton, Bishop John Arnold of Salford, and Bishop William Nolan of Galloway.
The U.K. has the presidency of the G7 in 2021 and is hosting G7 leaders — from the U.S., Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and Italy — in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, on June 11-13.
The bishops urged leaders to “provide economic support towards a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, and to move quickly to halt the biodiversity loss the planet is facing.”
They also asked them to “act to support developing nations, ensuring that they are not left behind in decision making, and have fair access to vaccines.”
Finally, they called on them “to meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement and move as quickly as possible towards a zero-carbon economy, so that we do not exceed the 1.5°C [2.7°F] temperature rise, beyond which life on our planet will face dire consequences.”
“Our future must be sustainable, and it must also be just,” the bishops concluded.
Caritas Internationalis, an umbrella body for 164 national Catholic aid and development agencies, also issued an appeal to the group of seven wealthy industrialized nations ahead of the summit.
The organization called for steps to “encourage private creditors to participate in debt relief and restructuring initiatives,” as well as increased funding for pandemic recovery.
It also highlighted the role of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bolster member countries’ official reserves.
Caritas Internationalis encouraged G7 countries to “explore options to utilize their SDRs to support countries in the global south, including middle-income countries, in ways that do not increase debt and conditionality.”
Aloysius John, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, said: “COVID-19 put the rampant social injustices in today’s world under a magnifying glass. The only way to rebuild the future must be by eliminating such injustices.”
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