|Welcome to the first edition of Developing Issues, Bishops’
Appeal’s new regular look at the world of development and global issues
- providing you with background information on stories and issues in the
news. In this issue we preview two important conferences, the United
Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS to be held in New
York on June 25th-27th; and the meeting in Genoa, Italy, of the G8, the
group of the world’s richest nations, on July 19th -23rd. We focus on
AIDS and debt. Also, a regular resource will be intercessions on
development themes as used in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. We thank
the Dean for permission to reproduce these.
Cheaper medicines for poorer countries: Leading drugs companies have
bowed to pressure to provide patented medicines at cheaper prices for
poorer countries. At a meeting in Norway in April, representatives of the
pharmaceutical industry, the World Health Organisation, the World Trade
Organisation and the European Union agreed a scheme whereby countries will
pay a sliding scale of prices according to their income.
The agreement should ensure greater availability of drugs to treat
diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and pneumonia which between them
kill more than ten million people annually.
Critics point out that the pharmaceutical companies see the agreement
as an alternative to having their patents weakened and as a means of
preventing poor countries manufacturing their own cheaper copies of
treatments. The agreement follows a court case in South Africa where 39
drugs companies attempted to block a law which will allow the SA
Government to import cheaper alternatives to patented drugs. SA will use
the law to import cheap generic drugs to treat tuberculosis and other
diseases rather than anti retro-viral drugs to treat the country’s 4.7
million AIDS sufferers. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/campaigns.html
FOCUS ON HIV/AIDS:
A special session of the United Nations General Assembly meets on June
25th- 27th to study the problem of HIV/AIDS. The UN Secretary General,
Kofi Annan, has called for a fund of $7-10 billion a year to prevent and
treat HIV/AIDS in the developing world but there are fears that the fund
will only raise $1 billion and that much of this will be money already
earmarked for HIV/AIDS but diverted from other projects, such as the UK’s
The emphasis of the new fund is likely to be on prevention, research on
an anti- HIV vaccine, public education about unsafe sex and drug abuse and
more effective public health provision. But emphasis also needs to be on
human rights, especially in relation to the rights and status of women
(gender equity). Ireland Aid the official development programme of the
Irish Government, is stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of
HIV/AIDS. It increased its contribution to UNAIDS from £50,000 in 1999 to
£250,000 in 2000.
In the three years of delay caused by the court case in South Africa
(see above), more than 400,000 South Africans have died of AIDS-related
illnesses. According to Christian Aid, AIDS treatment costs at least £250
per person per year while the average health spending per person in
sub-Saharan Africa is just £7.
Although the majority of cases worldwide are in sub-Saharan Africa,
India has the highest number of cases after South Africa, high infection
rates in the Caribbean are causing concern, China with 1/5 of the world’s
population is an increasing risk area, and the epidemic is growing in
Eastern Europe. In 2000, Bishops’ Appeal gave Stg£7,793 to an AIDS
awareness programme in Sudan (via CMSI) and Stg£11,000 to a similar
project in India (via Tearfund). To date in 2001 the Committee has
approved: IR£24,000 for AIDS education in Uganda (via Christian Aid), Stg£6000
in South Africa (via Tearfund) and IR£3000 for a project in Brazil.
Grim Reaper on AIDS:
- Every 15 minutes, 15 children and 60 adults die because of AIDS.
- AIDS is now the biggest fatal disease worldwide.
- At the end of 2000, 34.7 million adults and 1.4 million children
were living with AIDS. 70% of these were in sub-Saharan Africa, which
has only 10% of the world’s population.
- In Zambia, 23% of all children have lost one or both parents to
- AIDS killed twice as many people in 1998 as it did in 1996.
- Life expectancy in Kenya has dropped from 66 years to 48. In
Botswana it has dropped from 60 to 42.
- In Africa, AIDS kills ten times more people than conflict does.
- There is no cure.
(mostly from USPG’s ‘Chance of a Lifetime’.)
Resources on AIDS:
USPG’s pack ‘Chance of a Lifetime’ contains sermon notes,
theological reflections, teaching notes, children’s activities, fund
raising ideas and photos. Contact USPG at PO Box 1701, Dublin 17, tel. 01
832 3387; or 157 Waterloo road, London SE1 8XA, tel. 020 7928 8681.
A harrowing new report from Christian Aid, ‘No Excuses: Facing up to
sub- Saharan Africa’s AIDS Orphans Crisis’, is available from CA
offices (Belfast 9038 1204 or Dublin 496 6184) or on-line at http://www.christian-aid.org.uk.
Also ‘AIDS and the African Churches: Facing the Challenge’ and a
prayer guide ‘One Body: Your Churches and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa’,
both from CA.
RESOURCES ON SUDAN:
A new free pack, ‘Exploring Sudanese Christianity’, has been
produced by CMS in London, with a bibliography of resources on Sudan. Both
available from The Marketing Department, 157 Waterloo Road, London, SE1
8BR. Tel. 020 7928 8681. Surf the web, save lives:
- Visit http://www.thehungersite.com. This is an American
advertising site. But, by clicking on to each of six different pages,
you can donate food, vitamins and medical care to the poor, AIDS and
landmine victims, as well as buying a few square feet of rainforest.
This socially responsible site is paid for entirely by its advertisers
who donate according to the number of ‘hits’ the site receives.
You don’t have to buy anything! You can only make one visit per day.
So add the site to your Favourites and visit regularly.
- Check out Christian Aid’s new free Internet Service Provider http://www.fish.co.uk.
You pay just a local call rate and profits from the service go to CA.
For more information ring 0845 078 2888 or visit the website. The
internet service is only available in UK but the Fish homepage, which
contains Bible readings, news on development and campaigning issues, links
to ethical shopping and much more, can be accessed from anywhere.
RESOURCES FOR HARVEST:
A pack from Tearfund, ‘All You Can Eat’, looks at the work of a
Tearfund partner organisation in increasing food production in Burkina
Faso. It includes a leader’s guide with sermon notes, prayers,
activities, a simple drama and ideas for a Harvest meal. There is also a
13-minute video, overhead projector acetate set with script on tape,
material for children’s activities and for the meal including
photocopiable placemat, napkins, leaflets and collecting envelopes: Stg£9.95
from Tearfund, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE. Tel. 0845 355 8355.
Harvest sermon available from Bishops’ Appeal at beginning of
DEBT CAMPAIGN GOES TO GENOA:
When the leaders of the G8 meet in Genoa from July 19th-23rd, they will
be lobbied by thousands supporting the international campaign against poor
countries’ unpayable debt. The Pope, Luciano Pavarotti and even the two
Milan football clubs have all participated in the campaign in Italy so
far. Mr. Berkeley Vincent, BA Rep. in Glendalough, will represent Bishops’
The Jubilee 2000 campaign achieved great success but there is still
more to do: average annual debt payments by the 22 countries which have
received some debt relief (the HIPC - Heavily Indebted Poor Countries -
initiative) have been reduced by only a quarter; these 22 countries still
spend more on debt repayments than on health care; the G7 countries have
agreed to write off virtually all debts owed to them but the IMF and World
Bank have written off less than half.
Research by an independent firm of accountants claims that the IMF and
World Bank could cancel 100% of the debts owed to them by HIPCs without
jeopardising their ability to carry out their overall functions.
Funds released by debt cancellation are helping the poor: in Uganda,
primary school enrolment has doubled; half a million children in
Mozambique have been vaccinated; and three extra years schooling are being
provided in Honduras. The cancellation of debt could fund the fight
against HIV/AIDS. The 17 countries in Africa which have received debt
relief still spend $1.3 billion. p.a. on debt payments. This is virtually
identical to UNAIDS’ estimate of what they need to fight HIV/AIDS.
Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole spends $13.5 billion. p.a. on debt payments,
almost equivalent to what the region needs to fight HIV/AIDS. (http://www.dropthedebt.org)
RESOURCES ON DEBT:
‘Life or Debt’ produced by Jubilee Ireland, the Debt and
Development Coalition, tel. Dublin 857 1828.
BISHOP'S APPEAL - LATEST NEWS:
At its meeting in June the Bishops’ Appeal Committee approved the
- Brazil, Bem-Me-Quer AIDS project, raising awareness of AIDS in
schools and communities in Sao Paulo, and providing care and therapy
for HIV-positive patients - IR£3,000
- Ethiopia, Asra Hawariat School - Stg£5,000. (This award-winning
project, which BA has supported for several years, was recently
featured in the C. of I. Gazette.)
- Tanzania, St. Francis Hospital, Kwamkono, treatment, education and
vocational training for children severely disabled by polio -
Stg£6,000 (via USPG) (Worldwide, 110,000 children are still crippled
by polio every year. In some countries, only 50% of children are
- Chile, Diocese of Temuco, self-build housing project among the
Pehuenche, an indigenous group living high in the Andes, driven from
their land by the local hydro-electric company and suffering from
poverty and lack of education - Stg£12,000 (via USPG)
- Sudan, Diocese of Mundri, adult literacy and AIDS awareness
programme among displaced people - Stg£2,300 (via Feed The Minds)
- Afghanistan, Mazari-i-Sharif, rebuilding community after decades of
war: training in basic health care among women covering malnutrition,
childbirth, childcare, vaccinations, sanitation and safe water use;
literacy for adults and education for children; upgrading irrigation,
water supply and sanitation - Stg£23,250 (via Tearfund)
- Sudan: £22,050 for Partnership Across Southern Sudan, assisting
urgent needs in the areas of community development, education and
health. (via CMSI)
- India: Neyyoor Hospital Stg£5,000 for a primary health care
PRAYING FOR THE POOR:
(Intercessions on development themes from Christ Church Cathedral,
Dublin; used with permission)
Lord, we pray for your world, for our stewardship of it and our
responsibility to it.
We pray for those regions of our world which are afflicted by drought
and famine, remembering especially the peoples of Afghanistan and the Horn
Instil in us, O Lord, a spirit of compassion, that we may recognise
your image in our fellow beings and reach out to them in a spirit of
generosity and love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
After twenty years of struggle against the HIV/AIDS virus, we thank you
for the advances in medicine and the generosity of those who share their
knowledge with the developing countries. Sustain, Lord, all at home and
abroad who seek to alleviate the consequences of poverty and disease.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
We pray for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and for all who are
subjected to conflict and injustice; grant to their leaders, O Lord, the
wisdom and discernment to choose the path that leads to peace and justice
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Lord, we pray for those nations where poverty, disease and debt shorten
lives and deny aspirations. Give eloquence, Lord, to those who plead their
cause, especially in the fora of the nations, so that all deprived people
may obtain the necessities of life.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
WORLD BANK DEVELOPMENT GOALS:
- Poverty: The proportion of people living in extreme poverty
in developing countries and the proportion of malnourished children
should be reduced by at least one-half between 1990 and 2015.
- Education: There should be universal primary education in all
countries by 2015.
- Gender Equality: Progress towards gender equality and the
empowerment of women should be demonstrated by eliminating gender
disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005.
- Infant and Child Mortality: The death rates for infants and
children under the age of five years should be reduced in each
developing country by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.
- Maternal Mortality: The rate of maternal mortality should be
reduced by three- quarters between 1990 and 2015.
- Reproductive Health: Access should be available through the
primary health care system to reproductive health services for all
individuals of the appropriate ages; and the spread of HIV/AIDS should
have begun to be reversed no later than the year 2015.
- Environment: There should be a current national strategy for
sustainable development ... in every country by 2005 so as to ensure
that current trends in the loss of environmental resources are
effectively reversed at both global and national levels by 2015. The
proportion of the population without access to an improved water
source should be reduced by at least one-half between 1990 and 2015.
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