People, Poverty, Power (2006)

Each year the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) hosts our Intergenerational Spring Seminar. Below is the statement complied by attendees to represent Unitarian Universalist voices at the United Nations. Learn more about UU work on economic justice.

UU United Nations 2006 Seminar Statement

Whereas nearly half of the world’s population lives in poverty,

Whereas the United Nations Charter reaffirms “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,”

Whereas the Unitarian Universalist principles affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” and “justice, equity and compassion in human relations,”

Whereas people in both developed and developing countries remain trapped in poverty, and vast inequalities exist within our own countries and the world at large,

And noting with approval the United Nations Millennium Development Goals,

Recognizing the need for programs that combat the causes of poverty and enable economic independence while Remembering the need for immediate relief in cases of emergency,

Emphasizing the importance of peace and basic security as a foundation for economic growth and progress against poverty,

Declaring the right of all people to have the power to escape from poverty,

Be It Hereby Resolved That:

We call upon all developed nations to direct 0.7% of their GDP toward ending poverty, as set in the eighth Millennium Development Goal.

We call upon the United Nations, governments, and NGOs to empower individuals to rise out of poverty and to promote equality through community-based development.

We strongly encourage the peaceful resolution of conflicts through actions of the United Nations and its Member States in order to address a root cause of poverty.

We recommend that governments direct funds toward:

  1. Strengthening the health infrastructure of developing nations
  2. Bringing the opportunity of basic education to all people
  3. Sponsoring nonprofit microfinance organizations
  4. Providing all communities access to safe water sources

We call for pressuring politicians to adopt policies that thoroughly address the realistic needs of the working poor in North America by:

  1. Instituting a true “living wage” for all full-time workers
  2. Providing accessible welfare
  3. Creating and maintaining affordable housing through private sector incentives

We strongly encourage all individuals to support and participate in projects that address poverty and inequality within their own community.

We call upon all Unitarian Universalist congregations to educate those around them on the issues of domestic and global poverty and to provide a safe environment for at-risk LGBTQ individuals by becoming official “Welcoming Congregations.”

Therefore, as liberal religious people, guided by compassion, commitment to social justice, and the UU-UNO goal to promote sustainable development as a means to achieve peace, security and human rights, we call all peoples to urgent action to address global and local poverty, as we reaffirm our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and to the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Statement endorsed by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, May 4, 2006.