Faith leaders urge David Cameron to keep his promises to people in poverty

By agency reporter
September 21, 2015

Christian, Islamic and Jewish leaders gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on 18 September to urge the Prime Minister to ensure the UK plays its part in achieving new international goals to tackle poverty and inequality and protect the environment in every country.

The event took place one week before Heads of State gather at the United Nations in New York, to approve Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years. Pope Francis will also visit the UN just before the Goals Summit meeting.

“We are here to ask Prime Minister David Cameron to use his power at home and internationally, to keep his promises and ensure that these new Goals change the lives of millions of people for the better,’ said Dr Husna Ahmad, CEO of Global One.

"The Goals have tremendous potential to do good but it will only be realised if leaders such as Mr Cameron put serious resources and determination behind them, as well as making plans for how they will implement them within their own countries.”

Dr Ahmad was joined at St Paul’s by Reverend Steve Wild, President of the Methodist Conference; Dr Jill Barber, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference; Ibrahim Mogra, Imam and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain; Remona Aly, media consultant and former deputy editor of Emel magazine; Major Heather Poxon, Director of International Development, Salvation Army; Phillip Clarke, General Secretary of Congregational Federation and the Very Rev Michael Persson, Vice Chairman Lutheran Council of Churches and Rector of the Swedish Church in London.

The St Paul’s gathering was organised by Christian Aid.

Dionne Gravesande, Head of Church Advocacy at the charity, added: “One of the most important aspects of the new Sustainable Development Goals is their insistence on ‘leave no-one behind’. In other words, no Goal should be considered met unless it is achieved across all groups in a society.

“In a world so stricken with inequality and discrimination, that is a precious promise and I hope all faith communities will help to hold world leaders to it.”

Helen Dennis, Senior Adviser on Poverty and Inequality at Christian Aid, said: “There is a pressing moral imperative to address the global crises of poverty, inequality and climate change.

“We hope the Sustainable Development Goals will translate into meaningful action for the communities with which Christian Aid works around the world, and we are delighted to see faith leaders fully backing the new Goals.”

The Sustainable Development Goals will replace the existing Millennium Development Goals from the start of 2016. Around 130 Heads of State will attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York from 25th – 27th September, to finally approve the new goals.

People of faith may be interested in the Prayer For Everyone action, which takes place from 24th September until 1st October and involves praying for the Sustainable Development Goals.

* Prayer for everyone http://www.prayerforeveryone.org/

* Christian Aid http://www.christianaid.org.uk/index.aspx

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