As world leaders gather in Pittsburgh for the G20 Summit, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) joins other religious communities in participating in the Faith Leaders Summit calling for urgent attention to the needs of poor and hungry people whose plight has worsened as a result of the world economic crisis.

The NAE, along with Bread for the World, the Alliance to End Hunger, and other organizations, will meet on the eve of the G20. Galen Carey, Director of Government Affairs for the NAE, is representing evangelicals at the event, which will also include Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders.

“The NAE has long worked to promote justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable,” Carey said. “The global economic crisis has pushed more than a hundred million people back into desperate poverty, erasing many of the economic gains of recent years. As our leaders continue guiding a process of economic recovery, we want to make sure that the needs of the poor and vulnerable are at the top of the agenda.”

In 1944 the NAE founded World Relief as its humanitarian assistance arm. World Relief works with churches around the world to help the poorest and most vulnerable families develop durable solutions to deep poverty. World Relief programs include maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, microfinance, food security, refugee assistance and disaster relief.

“Through World Relief, churches are actively engaged on the front lines of fighting global poverty,” said Sammy Mah, President of World Relief. “But we can’t do it alone. The poor need education, health and infrastructure, and access to markets in order to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.”

The worst global recession came on the heels of two years of soaring food prices. Together, these crises have led to dramatic increases in hunger and poverty around the world. For the first time in history, over a billion people are suffering from hunger.

During the week of the G20 Summit, Sept. 24-25, U.S. administration officials are expected to provide details on a new initiative to reduce hunger and poverty around the world. Faith leaders gathered for the summit will voice their support for the initiative in a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 9 a.m.

Immediately following the press conference, religious leaders will process to the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, at 320 6th Ave., where they are slated to meet with representatives of the U.S. delegation to the G20.

The Group of 20 (G20), established in 1999, brings together major industrialized and developing economies to discuss global economic issues. Together, these countries account for 90 percent of global gross national product, 80 percent of world trade, and represent two-thirds of the world’s population.