A group of diverse religious leaders has issued a statement giving strong support and "moral consensus" to a World Bank-initiated effort to end extreme poverty in 15 years.

The statement, "Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative", was released today at a media teleconference featuring World Bank President Jim Young Kim and representatives of the religious groups which drafted it, including Bani Dugal, the Principal Representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

"Ending extreme poverty will require a comprehensive approach that tackles its root causes – including preventable illness, a lack of access to quality education, joblessness, corruption, violent conflicts, and discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and other groups," said the statement, whose authors included representatives of the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh faiths.


In addition to Ms. Dugal, today's media teleconference included the Reverend David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World; the Reverend Nicta Lubaale, General Secretary of the Organization of African Instituted Churches; Ms. Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America; and the Reverend Jim Wallis, President of the Sojourners.