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presented by AIC (International Association of Charities)

The International Association of Charities (Association Internationale des Charités or AIC) numbers 250,000 women volunteers in 50 countries, who stand by the poor to combat poverty in all its forms.
The field experience acquired by AIC makes no doubt: deep poverty, which is persisting in a globally richer world is an unacceptable infringement on the basic Human Rights.

It has become urgent to operate thorough changes both in mentalities and policies.

In this connection, AIC would like to draw attention to four points:

  1. The cumulative strength of a very wide partnership

Development centered on the Human Being requests in the first place that Governments adopt multisectoral policies to be implemented on the middle- and long-term, and beyond political-gain objectives. Those policies must also respect the subsidiarity principle and draw together the decision makers and the communities in order to meet the latter’s needs and aspirations in the best possible way.

The local authorities, private sector, Trade Unions, religious institutions are obvious partners, but partnership with NGOS is just as important. International NGOs in particular are practicing a specific multiculturalism through their exchange of grassroots experience and derived considerations; they know how to link local and worldwide realities, the unavoidable way to eliminate poverty today.

To see that basic social services are available is the responsibility of the States; to see that such services are actually accessible to the most needy is an important role that NGOs can fulfill. Clear cooperation between Public Authorities and NGOs, based on mutual understanding and respect, is assuredly indispensable when drawing up programs and evaluating them; periodical consultations at various levels are necessary for such cooperation.

  1. The essential participation of the destitute

AIC asserts that the destitute must fully partake in the life of society and not solely in those "decisions that concern them". They must also take part in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of anti-poverty programs. This implies a favourable environment and accompanying support.

  1. A favorable environment means that society must look at the poor differently : it must realize their resourcefulness and their will to pull out of misery. Indeed society needs all the potentialities that its members can contribute. This is why a combination of direct help and appropriate measures will be offered to help the destitute reach a certain level of autonomy and empowerment, without which he/she cannot but remain marginalized and permanently assisted. "Decent" work is the most efficient way of integration till now.

  2. An accompanying support of the poor means that their participation is not easy : it requires a personalized attention. Only strong emphasis on interpersonal, family and community ties, together with an adapted educational process can bring the victims of exclusion to find within themselves the proper ways to participate. Furthermore, all policies against poverty must foresee continuity to ensure social readjustment.

III. A worldwide culture of values

Strong moral values are basic to all lofty ideals, as testified by the Charter of this Organization. Time has come to rediscover the impetus that already once, in a world devastated by war, brought States together for dialogue and cooperation.

It is a matter of recognizing each human being’s absolute dignity, respecting, his/her rights to autonomy, initiative, difference, hope in the future and respecting his/her spiritual dimension.

It is a matter of recognizing each individual’s place in society, respecting one another, his/her familial and community appurtenance, in full solidarity, justice and research for peace.

Development taking into account at the same time "Man in his/her entirety and all Men" requires changes in priorities implying an innovative vision of common well-being, mutual help and good governance on the part of decision makers, from the international to the local level, as well as support from the media, in favor of a education-minded, generous and responsible society.

IV. The fourth aspect will serve as our conclusion.

As a women organization which has been active for 350 years in the combat against poverty, AIC bears witness to the ability of women to be, amongst other qualities, inventive, concrete and tenacious. AIC recommends that the international community recognizes the existence of such a generally under-employed wealth, the importance of which is essential to promote the objectives of the Social Summit.

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