The strategies embodied in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be the focus of a March 7-14 international conference titled "Towards Effective Anglican Mission" (TEAM) at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
Hosted by the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, under the leadership of Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, the conference will bring together key representatives from the worldwide Anglican Communion, including as keynote speaker the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.
In an interview with the Episcopal News Service, Ndungane speaks about the importance of the TEAM conference in focusing the Anglican Communion on the issues represented by the MDGs, in particular the fight against global poverty and HIV/AIDS.
Video and audio streams of Ndungane's interview are available here.
Seven years after the Millennium Declaration, the TEAM conference is a follow up on the first Pan-African Anglican Consultation on HIV and AIDS (Boksburg 1), which was held in August 2001.
The eight MDGs, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV and AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, form a blueprint agreed to by the world's nations and leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest. The MDGs embody the multidimensional nature of development. They cut across income and non-income dimensions of development, which are also interlinked. In turn the policy agenda implied by the goals is broad and multi-sectoral.
The seven objectives of the TEAM conference include the sharing of the African experience with others in the Anglican Communion, critically reviewing the response of the Anglican Communion to the MDGs, and encouraging opportunities for learning and transformation through dialogue.
"Let us create a world where every human being can fulfill their potential as God created them to be. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophet Isaiah speaks of an end to infant mortality; health care for all and a dignified old age; secure housing and economic stability, where everyone may safely enjoy the fruit of their labors, in peace and joy," said Ndungane, TEAM convener.
"In all its ramifications and consequences, poverty mars the image of God within humanity and our shared faith requires us to participate in God's work in the world. We are required to bear witness to the work of God in partnership with others -- both within and outside the Christian Church -- to make our communities, our society and our world a place that is closer to God's vision of shalom."
Ndungane was entrusted with the responsibility of moving the Anglican Communion forward by addressing the vital social issues of poverty, trade, debt and HIV and AIDS, at a March 2001 meeting of Anglican Primates.
"Africa is not just the responsibility of those who live in Africa. Africa is the responsibility of all children of God," said the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Burundi and Bishop of Mantana, who will attend the conference. "Let this conference inspire and encourage us to get involved in realizing our joint dream of eradicating poverty and disease not just in Africa but all over the world."
The focus of the eight-day conference will be to review the response of the Anglican Communion to the MDGs and analyze the impact of the goals on women and children; assess Boksburg 1 and share the African experience with the Anglican Communion; encourage opportunities for learning and transformation through dialogue among people with diverse experiences and perspectives; and encourage a prophetic articulation for an Anglican theology which supports witness and action for social justice.
The conference will also include an exposition of the Biblical principles and Gospel imperatives on the mission of the church.
Among the high level speakers expected to participate in the conference is United Nations director of the Millennium Development Goals Campaign, Shalil Shetty, whose illustrious career spans from his period with the United Nations in October 2003 as director of the Millennium Campaign from Action Aid, a leading international development NGO firmly committed to poverty eradication. He is also a governor of the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, council member of the Overseas Development Institute, a member of the Advisory Council of the American-Indian Foundation, New York, and trustee of the Board of Italy's largest secular international development NGO, Azione Aiuto.
"It is often said that global targets are easily set but seldom met and for each success story there have been some setbacks. If we all stand strong we will be able to come out victorious against poverty and disease," said Delene Mark, chief executive officer of Hope Africa and coordinator of TEAM. "The conference is Africa's chance to stand strong in dialogue and effectively explore strategies to eradicate all social ills and disease."
For more information on the conference, contact:
Delene Mark or Jeanette Dick
Tel: +27 (0) 21 461 4640
Fax: +27 (0) 21 462 0387
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Or visit the TEAM conference website at http://www.team2007.org/