Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Statement on the recent ACT Alliance General Assembly


"Poverty is wrong: we must make our voices heard,” says ACT Alliance leader

ACT Alliance pledges to speak out on global injustice 

GENEVA, October 26, 2010

The head of one of the world’s largest faith-based humanitarian and development alliances has vowed to take a bolder and more vocal stance on the worst inequalities of our age. 

"We have a duty to be brave in standing up against oppression,” ACT Alliance General Secretary John Nduna said on the final day of ACT Alliance’s four-yearly assembly in Arusha, Tanzania.

ACT Alliance’s 105 church and church-related members employ 33,000 staff and volunteers in 140 countries and have an income of US $1.6 billion a year. With decades of experience, most ACT Alliance members are from globally poor countries, working at grass roots level and immersed in the culture of the places they are based.   

Nduna promised that the alliance would be outspoken on injustice and poverty as never before, hinting at the kinds of campaigns the world could expect to see from ACT Alliance. "In today’s world, a billion people are going to bed hungry, only 30% of children in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa have access to anti-malarial drugs and climate change is devastating the world poorest people. We know this is wrong. We know we must make our voices heard against all these gross injustices.

“We are powerful, we are committed, and we mean business. We are fired up and motivated to challenge political figures, big business and the vested interests of the world's richest nations,” Nduna said.

The assembly affirmed that ending poverty and inequality was not just a goal but an obligation.

Leaders of the alliance’s organisations set the alliance’s strategy for the next four years, emphasising the importance of improving the lives of the world's poor. Even as the assembly was meeting, ACT Alliance staff were responding to the floods in Pakistan and the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, healthcare in Palestine, education in India, land rights in Brazil and HIV prevention in southern Africa.

In other agreements made at the assembly, ACT Alliance committed itself to improving the speed and strength of co-ordination between member organisations so as to respond more effectively to support communities in crisis. It also pledged to prioritise preventative measures in all its work and ensure continuity of care and recovery after an emergency.

The meeting ensured that ACT Alliance's uniquely democratic 'forum' structure - in which major decisions on strategy, financial resources and campaigns are taken at a country level rather than at the Alliance's headquarters in Geneva - was strengthened. The alliance acknowledged the importance of its national members, with delegates agreeing to make these country-level forums stronger and better resourced.

About ACT Alliance

ACT Alliance is second only to Caritas in size as a faith-based humanitarian, development and advocacy alliance. Member organisations operate from an egalitarian belief in treating all people with dignity, and an absolute commitment to serving people of all faiths and none. ACT Alliance is a signatory to The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief which stipulates, among others, that aid will not be used to further political or religious standpoints. 

ACT Alliance's website is at www.actalliance.org

For general enquiries about the ACT Alliance and interviews with John Nduna, ACT Alliance General Secretary, please contact:

Sandra Cox, Communications Officer on +41 22 791 6711 or +41 79 681 1868

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