World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / What we do / Poverty, wealth and ecology

Poverty, wealth and ecology

This project brings churches and partners together to reflect on the connections between poverty, wealth and ecology; act against economic injustice; address just trade, ecological debt, decent work; and pursue work on "Alternative globalization addressing people and earth (AGAPE).
Poverty, wealth and ecology

Little boy in Guiyu, China. Electronic waste is routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones, where recycling is often done by hand in scrap yards, without adequate protection for workers and the environment.

Impact of economic globalization

Through economic globalization, the structures of trade and finance are increasingly widening the gap between the rich and the poor, posing threats to global peace and to the earth.

At the 2006 WCC assembly in Porto Alegre, it was evident that there are divergent ways of analyzing and acting on this reality; there is hope that the WCC may be able to develop a new paradigm that draws different positions on this question together.

This project encourages churches to explore and advocate for alternatives to economic globalization. It is an attempt to bring churches and ecumenical partners from North, South, East and West together to reflect and act together on finding new and creative ways to use global wealth to eradicate poverty. It encourages them to create new synergies between different standpoints on poverty, wealth, and ecology.

In the context of the AGAPE (Alternative to Economic Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth) process that began before 2006, the project will follow up work with ecumenical partners, focussing on issues such as just trade, debt cancellation, financial markets, tax evasion, public goods and services, livelihoods and decent jobs, life-giving agriculture, power and empire, and ecological debt.

While many studies have provided information on people in poverty, little is known about the rich. The churches will be challenged to develop a "consumption and greed line" alongside the "poverty line" as a guideline for Christians.

A case study and workshop methodology will bring together experiences of churches regionally and globally. Churches will be encouraged to bring  their stories and actions on how they deal with poverty and wealth to regional workshops. Seminars will be organized at the World Social Forum. Encounters raising issues of poverty, wealth and ecology will continue with the WB and the IMF.

Persons responsible for economic justice in the churches or those addressing issues of poverty and wealth will be identified so as to form a creative and active network, and a reference group will include representatives of those working on ecological debt, women, youth, Indigenous Peoples and people with disabilities.

Video: The cup of justice

Related Events

Ecumenical School on Governance, Economics and Management (GEM) for an Economy of Life

Ecumenical School on Governance, Economics and Management (GEM) for an Economy of Life

19 - 30 August 2019 Jakarta, Indonesia

In order to strengthen the voice of the churches with regards to global economics, a group of 20 current and future leaders representing the churches will have the opportunity to attend the Ecumenical School on Governance, Economics and Management (GEM) for an Economy of Life in Jakarta, Indonesia from 19-30 August 2019.

Related News

WCC journal focuses on theology perspectives to face ecological crisis

WCC journal focuses on theology perspectives to face ecological crisis

Theology can provide solutions for the sustainability issues that challenge the common home of humanity, according to the contributors to the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Sustainable resourcing for sustainable development

Sustainable resourcing for sustainable development

Bishop Ingeborg Midttømme, from the Church of Norway, serves at the diocese of Møre, in the northwestern part of the Scandinavian country. She is also a board member of Norwegian Church Aid. Over the past years, she has been an active participant in international events that focus on the global agenda on sustainable development, such as the United Nations annual climate conferences.

WCC co-sponsored event at the UN focuses on ethical financing for development

WCC co-sponsored event at the UN focuses on ethical financing for development

“Financing for sustainable development represents the expression of an ethic of solidarity and sharing, including with generations that come after us and who will inherit whatever good or evil we have wrought”, said Peter Prove, director of International Affairs at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a symposium at the United Nations headquarters, in New York, on 29 January.

Related Documents

World Trade Game

The World Trade Game was initially developed in the 1990s by Action Aid, the global anti-poverty development organization. Its strength is its simplicity. Six groups of players represent two rich, two middle-income and two poor countries and each group has different resources and technological potential. National resources are represented as paper whilst technology becomes scissors, pens, rulers, etc. They manufacture shapes from paper, trade the shapes for money through a commodity trader and may also trade amongst themselves in raw materials (paper), technology (scissors, ruler, etc), skills and labour.