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The Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland
News Briefing


DEVELOPING ISSUES

No.1 June 2001

The quarterly newsletter of the Church of Ireland Bishops' Appeal

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.

NEWS:

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 £75 million.

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.
  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 September.

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’ Appeal.

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 following grants:

  • 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 immunised.)
  • 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 programme

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 of Africa.

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 for all.

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.

Part or all of this publication may be copied for distribution as long as acknowledgement is given.

Notification and comments appreciated.

© Bishops’ Appeal,
Church House,
Church Avenue,
Rathmines,
Dublin 6.

Tel: 01-497 8422
Email: Bishops' Appeal

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