WCC United Nations liaison office
Work on economic justice
In light of current economic globalization, which transforms trade and finance in favour of powerful global actors, the dominance of already strong actors increases while the power of weak states to defend their sovereignty and national interests is eroded. Principles of justice and fairness in international relations give way to the demands of profit-seekers, which generates hostility and destroys solidarity between individuals and states.
Public and social goods are downplayed and private ones are enhanced. Economic globalization reveals a profound moral, ethical and even spiritual breakdown in society.
For years, the international ecumenical movement has criticised the lack of economic democracy, flagrant international inequality in the distribution of income, knowledge, power and wealth. It and has underscored the importance of distributing power within the international financial institutions following the ideals of democracy.
WCC co-president Federico Pagura shares insights from his experience as a committed Christian. With Geneviève Jacques, WCC director of programmes at the third World Social Forum in 2003.
If another world is possible, so too is an alternative demonstration! Fourth World Social Forum, Mumbai, India, January 2004
SEE ALSO: WCC/Justice, Peace & Creation work on economic justice
Justice is at the heart of the matter: all people and communities should participate in the economic, social and political decisions that affect them, and the aim of economic life should be to develop sustainable, just and participatory communities. What is needed is the globalization of solidarity, i.e. the affirmation of our common destiny as co-inhabitants of the Earth, for which we all share responsibility and from which we should benefit equitably.
WCC actions to date
In 2001 the action plan "Alternative Globalization Addressing People and Earth" (AGAPE) was launched with a view to offering analysis aimed at a clear understanding of the global system and critique of the neo-liberal market ideology that is the engine of rapid globalization. The plan consists oflooking into alternatives to economic globalization in terms of the neo-liberal paradigm, trade, finance and ecology.
The UNLO work on economic justice focuses on monitoring the implimentation of agreements made at the Monterey Conference on Financing for Development in 2002, and on holding governments to account for their commitments to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).
The MDGs are one method the WCC recognizes in its broader action plan to end poverty and create global economic justice. September, 2005, the UN hosted a Millennium+5 Summit to evaluate the progress towards the MDGs adopted by over 150 Heads of State at the UN Millenium Summit in September 2000. These eight goals include halving the proportion of people living in poverty and hunger by 2015, ensuring primary schooling for all children, and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases. Since 2000, however, many governments have not acted on their promises, and the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.
MDG 8 (Goal 8) calls on governments to develop a global partnership for development, and addresses injustice in aid, trade, and debt issues. MDG 8 is a key focus for WCC work. The other goals, which range from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger (Goal 1) to ensuring environmental stability (Goal 7), reflect some of Christianity’s most profound teachings. As people of faith, we can be vocal proponents who remind our elected officials of their promise to help transform the world. As members of a global church, we can use the MDGs to learn about the situations facing our sisters and brothers around the world and about ways to engage in the global community.
The WCC and its member churches are also participating in the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, a new and broadly ecumenical network for international cooperation in advocacy on global trade and HIV/AIDS which was launched in 2000, and is designed to strengthen the impact of ecumenical witness on the crucial social, political and economic issues of today.
WCC UN Liaison Office aims
- contribute to the follow-up process to the International Conference on Financing for Development
- encourage States to implement agreements and commitments reached at the International Conference on Financing for Development
- promote issues such as poverty eradication, just international trade, debt cancellation
- provide an ecumenical platform to respond to the consequences of economic globalization.
- monitor and report from activities in relation to the Financing for Development process, focusing on equitable trade systems, debt cancellation and food security.
Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) on trade.