WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bread for the World, Church World Service, the World Bank, and leaders of 30 faith groups and organizations issued a call this month to end hunger and extreme poverty by 2030.

‘It has become clear that it is feasible to end extreme poverty.’

"Now that it has become clear that it is feasible to end extreme poverty, faith communities are committing ourselves to ramp up our advocacy,” said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We are building a movement that will translate this possibility into political commitment.”

Global humanitarian agency Church World Service (CWS) joined communities of faith around the world to call for a bolder commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, as part of the World Bank’s “Moral & Spiritual Imperative.”

“In the Christian tradition, we are called to place the poor and the displaced at the center of our worldly effort,” CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John McCullough, a United Methodist, said. “We yearn for the day when the pursuit of power includes justice for those who are marginalized by race, gender, politics or social concern.”

‘Moral & Spiritual Imperative’

McCullough said CWS endorse the World Bank’s “Moral & Spiritual Imperative” as an important first step in calling on the powerful to help the powerless, establishing a collective will to break the cycles of poverty that have been allowed to continue far too long.

‘We need the prophetic voices of religious leaders to bring faith-based movements and economic development together.’

“We need the prophetic voices of religious leaders to bring faith-based movements and economic development together,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

The global effort, connected around #Faith2EndPoverty, brings together leaders of different faiths to embolden the call on global leaders to put into place evidence-based approaches in addressing poverty, and for renewed commitment of resources to ending extreme poverty.

“The Moral Imperative is an important acknowledgement of the imbalance of power and the responsibilities of wealth to address it,” said McCullough. “The Imperative is a call to end extreme poverty by 2030, and a galvanizing point of consensus around which people of faith can say ‘the world is not as it should be, and we choose to act.’”

Unprecedented progress

Since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty of $1.25 a day has been halved to less than one billion, according to Beckmann. “This unprecedented progress in ending hunger and extreme poverty is an example of our loving God moving through time, transforming our world,” he said.

Research conducted by Bread for the World and the World Bank shows that ending hunger and extreme poverty is no longer a dream, but a possibility in 15 years.

“Poverty's imprisonment of more than a billion men, women and children must end. Now is the time to boldly act to free the next generation from extreme poverty’s grip,” the #Faith2EndPoverty partners said in a document, “Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral & Spiritual Imperative.”

Many countries, like Bangladesh, Brazil and the United Kingdom have made huge strides in cutting hunger and poverty. Hunger and poverty has increased, however, in the United States. Today, 49 million Americans, including 15 million children, regularly go to bed hungry, according to the #Faith2EndPoverty partners.

Coalition of faith groups

Still, powerful forces in the U.S. Congress have been pushing for deep cuts in anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs. The cuts to these programs have so far been minimal thanks in part to a coalition of faith groups working to ending hunger.

“Now is the time for the United States to step up to the plate and make ending hunger and poverty a priority,” Beckmann said. “As Christians, we believe the moral measure of a country is based on how the most poor and vulnerable people fare.”

The #Faith2endPoverty partnership is a result of the first high-level meeting between faith leaders and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral & Spiritual Imperative” was released as part of the organization’s spring meeting.

Editor's note: Learn more about #Faith2EndPoverty and its endorsers.

  • Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging U.S. decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
  • Church World Service understands that policies and prejudices keep the world’s poor and vulnerable in a cycle of injustice and poverty, so it advocates for changes in policy. CWS was created as a response to an emergency. CWS recognizes the world’s poor are most vulnerable to disaster, and works both to prevent and to respond to calamities.
  • The World Bank Group has two ambitious goals: end extreme poverty within a generation, and boost shared prosperity.

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