Malaria response may hold lessons for other crises, church told

By staff writers
July 1, 2009

A United Nations’ chief policy officer has told the board and friends of a United Church of Christ organisation that both he and the Secretary General “saw fear in the eyes” of world leaders as they met recently on the economic crisis.

Robert Orr spoke at the Wider Church Ministries dinner during the 27th General Synod. He said he is convinced that the crisis must be seen not only as a problem of banking institutions in New York, London and other financial capitals, but as one that is affecting millions of people in rural and isolated areas as well.

The problem “screams out for global solidarity” , Orr declared, predicting that normal responses on a country-by-country basis will only exacerbate the problem.

“This is a moment to seize,” he said, “as a human family.”

One model, he suggested, is the fight against malaria. “We have started to turn the corner because we are working on multiple fronts. By 2012 or 2015 malaria may be eradicated. We need to leverage that approach to other issues.”

Orr believes the way governments, NGOs and even commercial firms are beginning to work together on HIV-AID is also a sign of hope.

“We have a long way to go on this global health problem,” he said, “but we have made progress. And we can’t solve HIV-AIDS without tackling other problems as well.”

Mr Orr is a member of a United Church of Christ congregation and says he is proud of the work of his denomination. He credits the religious organization with helping him see that climate change is affecting all of creation.

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