Global faith leaders meeting in Italy in advance of a July summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations have called for a “new financial pact” that acknowledges basic moral principles to address the global economic predicament.

“The current financial and economic crisis weights most heavily upon the poor,” said the 130 religious leaders drawn from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Parsi and Shinto faiths in a joint statement at the end of their 16-17 June meeting in Rome.

“Africa is already hard hit by the world financial crisis and it runs the risk of being seriously damaged in its efforts against poverty with a negative impact on the economic growth of its countries,” they warned in their statement addressed to the G8 leaders, who are to meet in Italy in July.

The faith leaders said the new financial pact needed to address the causes of the economic crisis should include all stakeholders in discussions, make funding for development a priority, and acknowledge the need for moral principles in the economy.

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