P R E S S R E L E A S E
From 26 June to 6 July 2000 the Administrative Councils of the "John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel" and the "Populorum Progressio Foundation" are meeting at the Vatican.
On the occasion of this Jubilee Year, the Councils of Administration of the "John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel" and the "Populorum Progressio Foundation" decided to hold their respective annual meetings at the Vatican in Domus Sanctæ Marthæ to confirm their fidelity to and solidarity with Pope John Paul II. The Holy Father wanted their establishment to manifest his sincere closeness to the population of the Sahel, afflicted by persistent drought and desertification, and to the poor indigenous farming populations of Central American, Latin America and the Caribbean Region.
The two meetings are held under the guidance of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", presided over by His Excellency, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, who also holds the title of the Legal Representative for the Sahel Foundation and is the President and Legal Representative of the "Populorum Progressio Foundation".
The Council of Administration of the "John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel" will be meeting from 26 June to 3 July, under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Bishop Séraphin Rouamba, Bishop of Koupela (Burkina Faso), successor to His Excellency Bishop Guy Romano. Members of the Council include Their Excellencies The Most Reverends Maixent Coly (Senegal), Paulino Evora (Cape Verde), Michael Cleary (The Gambia), José Camnate (Guinea Bissau), Jean-Baptiste Tiama (Mali), Guy Romano (Niger), Martin Happe (Mauritania) and Miguel Sebastien (Chad), all representing the Local Churches. Monsignor Karel Kasteel, Secretary of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" will be present at the meeting as an Observer of the Holy See. The Council, after having taken account of the activity which has occurred, will proceed to examine 200 projects to decide on their eventual financing. Half of the projects pertain to the formation of specialized personnel in the battle against drought and desertification while the other half pertains to concrete work in the area of agriculture and health. From 1984 to the present, the "John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel" has financed projects amounting to some US $13,000,000.
The Council of Administration of the "Populorum Progressio Foundation" will meet from 3-6 July 2000, under the presidency of His Excellency Archbishop Fabio Betancur Tirado, Archbishop of Manizales (Colombia). Members of the Council include Their Excellencies The Most Reverends Alberto Taveira Corrêa (Brazil); Gerardo Flores Reyes (Guatemala); Miguel Irizar Campos (Perú); Hector González Martinez (Mexico); Eduardo Abastoflor Montero (Bolivia) and Msgr. Francisco Azcona representing the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum". More than 200 projects will be examined pertaining to: the integral human promotion of poor indigenous farming populations, agriculture development, health education, productive activity and the commercialization. From 1992 to the present the "Populorum Progressio Foundation" has financed projects totalling around nine million US dollars.
It is foreseen that one session will be held where both of the Foundations will be in attendance for the opportunity to exchange experiences and methodologies of work.
The members of the two Foundations will confirm their fidelity and devotion to the Holy Father in the course of an audience He will grant them.