Despite being a wealthy country at one time, Argentina has more recently faced recurring economic crises, persistent fiscal and current account deficits, high inflation, mounting external debt and capital flight.
The major downturn in Argentina’s economy was from 1999 to 2000, and is still causing a feeling of uncertainty among its citizens.
In the light of these challenges, a recently developed ecumenical statement about ethical principles for a new global economic system was presented to the Argentinean government officials on 27 October 2012 in Buenos Aires.
The 'Sao Paulo Statement: International Financial Transformation for the Economy of Life' was presented to officials by the delegates representing Latin American ecumenical organisations and international bodies.
The statement is a common effort produced by the participants of a conference promoted by the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Council of Churches and the Council for World Mission, held from 29 September to 5 October, in Guarulhos, Brazil.
The delegation was received by Ambassador Juan Landaburu, secretary for religious affairs in the ministry of external relations of Argentina, and Dr Andrea De Vita, director of the national record of religious organisations.
When handing the statement to the Ambassador, Dario Barolin, from the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Latin America (AIPRAL) and member of the drafting group of the statement, stressed the strategic importance of the conference in Guarulhos.
“Witten by theologians and economists, the statement mentions over-consumption and greed as key factors to consider in search for a fairer distribution of global resources,” said Barolin. He pointed out the need for governments to make decisions for a “global financial system that would serve life”.
"Learning more about your advocacy and development work comforts us," said Ambassador Landaburu, who expressed his commitment to share the document with other government sectors.
The meeting also served as an opportunity for representatives of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) and the WCC to speak about the themes and preparations of their upcoming assemblies.
CLAI’s president, Bishop Julio Murray from Panama, informed the national authorities about the process of dialogue about sexual and reproductive rights that is taking place in eleven countries and will be presented during the CLAI Assembly in February of 2013, in La Habana, Cuba, under the theme “Affirming ecumenism of concrete gestures”.
Dr Marcelo Schneider, WCC’s communications liaison for Latin America, praised the initiatives taking place in several regions, addressing the theme of the WCC’s 10th Assembly “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”.
For Schneider, the theme of the WCC Assembly, which will be held in Busan, Republic of Korea, 30 October to 8 November 2013, focuses on issues historically pertinent for the churches in Latin America.
“Although the Assembly will pay considerable attention to the political division in Koreas, we want to tell stories of people from all over the world, who are advocating for justice and peace,” he said.
Besides Barolin, Murray and Schneider, the delegation was formed by Joyce Torres, General Secretary of the Council of Methodist Churches of Latin America, Humberto Shikiya, executive director of ACT Alliance, member organisation of the Regional Ecumenical Centre for Assistance and Service (CREAS); Marcela Gabioud, Latin American coordinator of the World Association for Christian Communication, Gabriela Mulder, president of the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Latin America (AIPRAL); Daniel Favaro and Claudia Florentin, from the Latin American and Caribbean Agency of Communication (ALC).
This article written by Claudia Florentin for the Agencia Latinoamericana & Caribena de Comunicacion.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]