Christians encouraged by Chancellor's trip to US
Christian campaigners will be heartened by the news that Chancellor Gordon Brown is to fly out to the US this week to press the Bush administration to act over climate change and global poverty, which he believes rich countries have an ìenlightened self-interestî in tackling.
In October a unique coalition was launched to fight climate change, and including several Christian agencies, warning that unless action is taken immediately, human development gains will go ëup in smokeí.
A report by the coalition also said that global warming threatens to make the international targets on halving global poverty by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) unattainable.
Mr Brown will hold talks with senior figures in Washington and New York on the need to address poverty, particularly in Africa.
The Government has pledged that it and climate change will be the key priorities of Britainís presidencies of the G8 and EU next year.
Last week the Chancellor told churches that 2005 would be a "make or break year for development".
Mr Brown will deliver speeches on development to the UN and Council for Foreign Relations in New York on Friday.
He will then move on to Washington for talks with US Treasury Secretary John Snow and representatives from the World Bank and IMF over the weekend.
Mr Brown will seek support for an International Finance Facility, which would double the cash available for debt relief to 100 billion.
He has said he is ìoptimisticî that the US will favour 100% debt relief for the worldís poorest nations.
Speaking ahead of the trip, Mr Brown said: ìWe are interested in working with the Americans to make our G8 presidency achieve results, both on international development and in climate change.
ìI will also be talking to the IMF and the World Bank because I think what they say in the next 18 months about what needs to happen on a worldwide basis is going to be important as well.î
The Chancellor told ITV1ís Jonathan Dimbleby programme that Britain would be pushing for more money to combat HIV/Aids and malaria and to boost education in developing countries.
This is something that churches and church agencies have also been pushing for.
Last week the Chancellor said poor nations would increase world trade if developed countries helped them out of poverty.
The Chancellor said rich countries also had a moral duty to help, because human dignity meant they could not ignore the plight of the poor.