Vatican City (Fides Service) – Four years of hard work lie before Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 154 national Catholic aid agencies operating in 198 countries all over the world. During its recent General Meeting in Rome Caritas Internationalis took stock of the activity of the past four years and looked to the future, adopting a plan for 2003-2007.
“The plan is ambitious and will require much effort, human capacity and resources” Duncan MacLaren, Caritas Internationalis CI Secretary General tells Fides Service. The plan is based on CI’s main strategies: putting the last first; combining global and local work; making sure that all work is based on the spirit of the Social Teaching of the Church and that local Caritas offices work within the lines adopted by the General Meeting.
The Meeting confirmed as CI President Archbishop Fouad El-hage of Tripoli (Lebanon) and as Secretary General. Duncan MacLaren, The CI Council is formed of Claudette Habesch (for the Middle East and North Africa); Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez (Latin America); Denis Vienot (Europe); Hilton Deakin (Oceania); Geraldine Sicola (North America); Bishop Jacob Bosco Ntep (Africa); Bishop Lawrence Thienchai Semanchit of Chanthaburi, Thailand(Asia).
CI aims for five major objectives in the coming four years First of all to increase awareness and trust within the confederation itself, which is divided in regional forums, with regard to efforts to promote: peace and reconciliation, concern for the “least” ones, AIDS, human rights, intercultural communication. CI also intends to boost its regional forums to increase operative capacity and effectiveness
The second objective is to upgrade the quality of its intervention geared always to help the most vulnerable sectors of society, children young people, families and women.
The third objective is to promote economic justice, eliminated poverty and work for peace. CI will do this by continuing to launch appeals with regard to serious problems such as poverty and hunger to global organisations such as the World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fun, World Bank, FAO and other United Nations bodies.
Working with the criteria of transparency and good management the CI has as its fourth objective: facilitate cooperation, working in partnership with the civil society, other humanitarian organisations and the local Churches. The fifth objective is to balance CI internal organisation strengthening its weaker members in view of better service.
During the previous four year period 1999-2003 Caritas Internationalis provided relief aid in various parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, America Latina, Middle East, Oceania. In these years CI distributed aid as follows: 1999, 83.9 million dollars; 2000, 66.8 million dollars, 2001, 66 million dollars; 2002, 40 million. The main interventions for 2003 concern Eritrea, Congo, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Palestine, Sierra Leone. In the last decade Caritas Internationalis also helped North Korea, where the Catholic aid agency was the first humanitarian organisation to cross the 38th parallel when Pyongyang opened its borders in the early 1990s. (Fides Service 14/7/2003 Lines 52 words 538)