The Department of International Political Economy introduced the Pope Francis Index Nov. 11 to highlight the importance of ending poverty

The international political economy and development department (IPED) at Fordham hosted an event on November 11 to recognize the world day of the poora Roman Catholic observance established by Pope Francis in 2016 that is celebrated annually on November 13. The event took place at the Church Center for the United Nations (UN) and was co-sponsored by the Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services.

Organizers of the event included Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN; Henry Schwalbenberg, director of IPED at Fordham; María Alejandra Hincapié, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ’22; and Bill O’Keefe, executive vice president of Catholic Relief Services and keynote speaker. Brianna Fitzpatrick, UN Liaison Officer for Caritas Internationalis, moderated the panel.

In honor of the World Day of the Poor, panelists highlighted the Pope’s call to nations to take concrete action to reduce poverty around the world.

“Too often we participate in the globalization of indifference,” O’Keefe said, reiterating the pope’s own words. “May we instead strive to live in global solidarity.”

On behalf of Fordham, Schwalbenberg and Hincapié first presented the Number 2022 of Pope Francis’ Global Poverty Index, an aggregate measure of multidimensional poverty. Schwalbenberg summarized the report’s findings, noting that “global extreme poverty is the worst it has been since 2016, when the index was first created.” He attributed these results to four existing categories that reflect the current problem: undernourishment, lack of jobs above subsistence level, gender inequality and restrictions on religious freedom.

“Based on the most recent data available, we found that serious gaps exist across all seven dimensions,” he said. “They range from a low of around 9% to a high of 59% of the world’s population. The global poverty score is currently 26.2%.

Following the analysis of this report, O’Keefe delivered the keynote address titled “Global Climate Crisis – Pathways for the Poor”. He stressed that the convergence of increased conflict, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the long-term climate crisis and high rates of inflation could “significantly aggravate human suffering, displacement, hunger and poverty. “.

At COP27, Biden announced funding for new initiatives to accelerate execution of the Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE), which aims to help more than half a billion people in countries. poor to adapt to the effects of climate change.

In his address, he also added that while we have made “steady progress” towards better living conditions, more needs to be done to ensure the leaders of the world’s most powerful nation can tackle up against climate change.

“I think there is an increased awareness. Even in our own country, which is the last country to come to terms with the reality of climate change, our own experiences are starting to make a difference,” O’Keefe said, referring to the renewed initiative of The administration of US President Joe Biden to combat climate change during the ongoing session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt.

At COP27, Biden announced funding new initiatives to accelerate the execution of the Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE), which aims to help more than half a billion people in poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change . The efforts include allocating $100 million to the Adaptation Fund (AF) and $150 million to the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AI).

According to O’Keefe, the first step to allocating $100 million to global adaptation to climate change requires increased funding for climate adaptation. Adaptation is the process of adjusting to current and future impacts of climate change, while mitigation involves addressing the root cause. O’Keefe said wealthy countries like the United States are “doing worse on adaptation than mitigation” and not doing enough to help the most vulnerable nations.

The second stage, which allocates $150 million for emergency disaster response in all African countries, requires governments to be accountable for their climate impacts and participate responsibly in addressing the problem of “losses”. and damages”. Public climate finance must be provided in the form of grants rather than non-concessional loans, and O’Keefe noted that the gap that already exists between core and peripheral countries in climate change decision-making must close.

Echoing Schwalbenberg’s statements, O’Keefe went on to point out that countries in the Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East are most affected by the impacts of climate change due to basic infrastructure and minimal humanitarian aid.

“I believe the story arc bends toward justice, but it demands people bend it.” Bill O’Keefe, executive vice president of Catholic Relief Services

O’Keefe also told stories of local people taking action on national issues in countries like Somalia, Afghanistan and the Philippines to inspire the public to take action on issues of climate change and poverty. He concluded his presentation by stating that it is “a moral and ethical imperative” for nations such as the United States to support those less responsible and capable of handling these problems.

“I believe the story arc bends toward justice, but people have to bend it,” O’Keefe said. “It all depends on the actions that individuals, families and communities take that will make a long-term difference. It’s up to us.”