CJN Current Newsletters
Big Aspirations at World Bank/International Monetary Fund Meetings: “End Extreme Poverty by 2030.” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s closing statement at the meetings in Washington called for poverty reduction by 2030, supporting the idea of “shared prosperity.” He vowed to examine whether the income of a country’s poorest 40 percent has developed over the years, or whether this group has profited from economic growth at all. According to World Bank standards, poverty will be considered eradicated when less than 3 percent of the world’s population is “extremely poor;” that is, living off less than $1.25 a day. Find out more. What is the progress on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals? Read the 2013 Global Monitoring Report: Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals, just out, here.
The Papacy of Francis I: Justice and Peace, Integrity of Creation. With Pope Francis, “living simply” has become the new “chic.” Preferring “Francis,” or even “Bergoglio,” he has quickly cast aside many of the trappings of the papacy. He’ll live in the Vatican hotel, and already initiated a weekly mass for youth in prison. On Holy Thursday, he washed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center in Rome. He urges all religions to work for peace and justice. Clearly, the new pope has a heart for the poor, for all living things and the environment. Read more. Resources: An Inside Look at Pope Francis, here; Building Bridges, here; The Church of the Poor and the Green Church, here.
Standing Strong for a Robust Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), with or without consensus. In spite of setbacks, the hard work is paying off for ATT advocates who never gave up the struggle. By the final night of the U.N. conference (March 28), 90 nations had backed a resolution to vote on the ATT at the U.N. General Assembly, as early as April 2. Eighty of these nations are co-sponsors, so they will definitely vote “in favor of the resolution.”
No Arms for Human Rights Abuses; No Arms for War Crimes; No Arms that keep People in Poverty. Will the U.S. support the new Arms Trade Treaty and say YES to global regulation of the arms trade? The U.N. Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty resumes at U.N. headquarters (New York City), beginning March 18. Its goal is to set reasonable limits on commerce in weapons and all transfers of arms across national boundaries.
According to John Converset, mccj, Director for the Justice and Peace, Integrity of Creation Office of the Comboni Missionaries/North America, “It’s absolutely critical to have support for the ATT in the U.S. and set the record straight about the falsehoods promoted by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and U.S.-based gun manufacturers. They’ve tried to convince Americans that the ATT would take away their guns when it has nothing to do with U.S. domestic policies and laws. The agreement must move beyond the ‘commercial criteria’ to include the direct relationship of the arms trade to “gender-based violence (ex. DR-Congo).”
Black History 2013: At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: February is Black History month, a time to focus on issues of diversity and especially to reflect on the accomplishments of Black Americans.
U.S. Debate Stirred Again on Climate Change: After two decades of world summits, President Obama has officially reaffirmed his commitment to the climate and to the future of clean energy in America. In his recent Inaugural Address, he said that “the path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”
The U.S. at the Tipping Point: Gun Violence and Mental Illness: The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre (12/14/12), perpetrated by a mentally ill gunman in Newtown, Connecticut, left 28 dead, including 20 innocent children and 6 teachers. In the aftermath, the Obama Administration has assigned a task force led by the Vice-President to review and recommend reforms within one month. It will specifically focus on banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, in conjunction with reforming mental health policy. Can the nation’s anguish catalyze a movement towards a “nonviolent culture?” In this case, violent video games may have also played a role.