Newsletters

Week in Review
Week of October 17, 2016

Statements

The Holy See delivered 10 Statements this week.


Note of the Holy See on the First Anniversary of the Adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals
General Assembly

On October 5, The United Nations General Assembly published on its website a September 25, 2016 letter from the Holy See regarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on the first anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. the UN published it as an annex to Agenda Items 13 and 117 of the 71st Session of the General Assembly.

In the Letter, the Holy See wished to consider certain general principles in evaluating the 2030 Agenda and in interpreting and implementing it at the national and international levels. It laid out the key points of Pope Francis’ 25 September 2015 Address to the United Nations and considered the 2030 Agenda in light of those and other principles.

The general principles highlighted in the Holy See’s letter were the need to understand integral human development, to recognize the poor as dignified agents of their own destiny, to provide both spiritual and material means, to respect the principle of justice, to protect the right to education in light of the transcendent destiny of the human person, to respect the rule of law, to seek peaceful resolutions of disputes, to serve other and respect the common good, and to build the foundation of a universal fraternity.

In the application of those principles to the 2030 Agenda, the Holy See stated that it “agree with most of the goals and targets enumerated in the Agenda,” but wished to make “clarifications and reservations on some of the concepts used,” taking into consideration the reservations it entered into the record on Targets 3.7 and 5.6 and about Paragraph 26.

It made clarifications about the purpose of the Agenda, the centrality of the human person, the concept of human dignity, the promotion of women and men, girls and boys, health, the rights and duties of the family and of parents, and integral human development.

The full statement can be found here. It can be accessed as well on the website of the UN General Assembly by entering Symbol "A/71/430".

 


Plenary of UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III)
Quito, Ecuador
 

On October 18, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Head of the Holy See’s Delegation to the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), gave a statement at the Plenary Session of the Conference.


In his statement, Archbishop Auza conveyed the greetings of Pope Francis and reiterated the Pope’s call for government leaders to provide the minimal spiritual and material means to live in dignity and support a family, namely lodging, labor, land, religious freedom, the right to education and civil rights. The burgeoning urban sector, he said, must play a central role in guaranteeing these minimal means through redefining the urban paradigm in terms of integral human and sustainable development, keeping the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death front and center. If economic profit takes priority over individuals and humanity, he said, the result will be a throwaway culture regarding human beings as things to be consumed and then discarded. A city should be understood in terms of its capacity to welcome, integrate the foster harmonious co-existence of different ethnic groups and cultures. Strong educational efforts, and not just technical solutions, are needed to promote this urban culture of hospitality and this more sustainable, responsible lifestyle. This education ought to be both formal and informal, consolidating and transmitting religious and cultural wealth alongside conveying knowledge and skills.


The statement can be found here.

 

High Level Roundtable Session on Adequate and Affordable Housing
(Habitat III)
Quito, Ecuador
 

On October 18, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Head of the Holy See’s Delegation to the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) taking place in Quito, Ecuador, gave an intervention at the High Level Roundtable Session on “Adequate and Affordable Housing.”

In his statement, Archbishop Auza noted that in international law and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is a right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing, that is ultimately part of the right to life with dignity. Nevertheless, he said, too many people and families are homeless, living in slums, or dangerous tenements. Governments, public and private sectors, state and social organizations all have their role to play, respecting the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, toward the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate and affordable housing. In confronting the problem, priority must be given to the most vulnerable, like the disabled, elderly, refugees, migrants and children.

The statement can be found here.

 

A Common Home Where Everybody can Live with Dignity
Quito, Ecuador
 

On October 17 in Quito, Ecuador, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), participated in a Side-Event sponsored by Caritas Internationalis dedicated to the theme “A Common Home Where Everybody Can Live in Dignity.” In his remarks, Archbishop Auza simplified the 17 Goals, 169 Targets and 250 Indicators of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into four points, taken from Pope Francis’ 2015 address to the UN General Assembly: Land, Lodging, Labor and spiritual freedom, all aspects of an integral development with the human person in the center.

The remarks can be found here.

 

Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
Security Council
 

On October 19, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention during the Security Council Open Debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.”  

In its statement, the Holy See expressed its grave concern over the gradual movement away from the two-State solution between Israel and Palestine promoted in the Madrid peace process and the Oslo Accords. Unless Israel and Palestine agree to exist side-by-side, peace and security in the region will remain illusory. The Palestinian Question, the Holy See noted, is part of the turmoil impacting the Middle East and beyond where the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam has become a “theater of incredible brutality.” It reiterated Pope Francis’ call for an urgent cease fire in Aleppo and other parts of Syria and called on the Security Council to lead the international community to stop the bloodshed and destruction. It also called on the international community to foster the dialogue necessary not only to stop war but foster peace.

The official English translation of the statement, pronounced in Arabic, can be found here.

 

Prevention of an arms race in outer space
First Committee

On October 19, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention before the First Committee of the Seventy-First Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 96(a), dedicated to the “Prevention of an arms race in outer space.”

In its statement, the Holy See noted that humanity has become so increasingly dependent on satellite technology for telecommunications, navigation, regulating water and electricity, banking and so many other activities that space technology has become a universal common good and heritage, making its vulnerability a risk for all humanity. Efforts to outlaw war in space are critical. The Holy See urged the Conference on Disarmament to overcome its years-long impasse and begin negotiations for dealing with conventional weapons in space, for the international community promptly to negotiate and adopt an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, and for greater collaboration in the peaceful development of outer space to be fostered.

The statement can be found here.

 

Nuclear Disarmament
First Committee

On October 17, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention before the First Committee of the Seventy-First Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 98(c), dedicated to “Nuclear Disarmament.”

In its statement, the Holy See retraced the history of its call for a total ban on nuclear weapons and reiterated the “cry of humanity to be free from the specter of nuclear warfare.” It said that the notion of nuclear deterrence offers a false sense of security and an illusory peace, because lasting peace cannot be guaranteed by the maintenance of a balance of terror. It said for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to be successful, nuclear weapons States must divest themselves of their nuclear arsenal, rather than hold onto this and upgrade them. The Holy See urged that the recommendation made by the Open-Ended Working Group to negotiate toward a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons be advanced and that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty enter into force rapidly. It also stated that negotiations on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament be accompanied by negotiations on the balances, dispositions and reductions of conventional forces.

The statement can be found here.

 

Macroeconomic Policy Questions
Second Committee

On October 21, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention before the Second Committee of the Seventy-First Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 17, dedicated to “Macroeconomic Policy Questions.”

In its statement, the Holy See applauded the increasing number of developing countries participating in the global economy, but noted the enormous challenges the Least Developed Countries face in order to participate meaningfully, especially because they are particularly vulnerable to downturns in commodity prices. The Holy See said that debt restructuring is an important part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and called for an in-depth ethical and juridical analysis of international credit systems. Discussions of the foreign debt of poor countries should be coupled to the ecological debt that wealthy economies have amassed toward underdeveloped economies and to the financial resources that developing countries need to mitigate and adapt to the Paris Agreement

The statement can be found here.

 

Globalization and Interdependence
Second Committee

On October 18, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention before the Second Committee of the Seventy-First Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 21, dedicated to “Globalization and Interdependence.”

In its statement, the Holy See said that modern technologies have made possible a globalized interdependence unimaginable in previous periods. At the same time, these technologies can also be used in warfare and terrorism, can abet an individualism that can endanger solidarity and harm the common good, and can increase some inequalities as they eliminate others. It raised the concern that in a globalized, interdependent world, recent austerity policies in some developed economies have led to higher unemployment and rising poverty rates in developing and developed economies both. It said that the greatest challenge to globalized interdependence is the mass movements of refugees and migrants, noting the paradox that while countries keep discussing the reduction of barriers to the circulation of goods and services, they are unfairly and imprudently building walls to block the movement of people. The measures of a successful interdependence in globalization, it said, should be addressing conflicts, violence, poverty and hunger at their roots, protecting the environment, ensuring dignified and productive labor for all, providing access to quality education, protecting the family, and creating the conditions for sound dialogue.

The statement can be found here.

 

Eradication of Poverty
Second Committee

On October 17, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention before the Second Committee of the Seventy-First Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 23, dedicated to the “Eradication of Poverty.”

In its statement, the Holy See applauded the progress made in poverty reduction, but said that too many people — over ten percent of the world’s population — still live below the poverty line. Poverty reduction, it said, cannot be looked at fundamentally as an issue of economic growth but of integral human development maintaining the human person — and his social, political and spiritual needs as well as his economic and material ones —in the forefront. Poverty reduction ought to involve access to education, health care and dignified employment, as well as the participation and input of those being assisted. Women and girls especially need to be included. It also stressed the importance of social protection systems.

The statement can be found here.

 

Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Third Committee

On October 17, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention before the Third Committee of the Seventy-First Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 65, dedicated to the “Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

In its statement, the Holy See underlined that the ongoing struggle of indigenous communities to preserve their heritage, languages, religious traditions and livelihoods is a concern for the whole world. Their approach to care for our common home and to social organization is a humane alternative to an exclusivist globalization. Indigenous peoples must be active agents and not passive beneficiaries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and of the Paris Agreement. The Holy See advocated that timely, inclusive and transparent consultations, like those held last year during the 70th Session of the General Assembly between indigenous representatives and Member States, be pursued with greater vigor.

The statement can be found here.

 

 

Recent Events


UN Event Shows Colorful and Courageous History and Present of the Swiss Guard

On October 18, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, together with the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums and the Solares Federazione delle Arti sponsored a presentation and discussion at UN Headquarters in New York City of the documentary film entitled The World’s Smallest Army, which follows a year in the life of the young Swiss men who serve the Pope and Catholic Church as members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
 
In his opening remarks, Monsignor Tomasz Grysa, on behalf of Archbishop Auza who was representing the Holy See in Ecuador, said those who don the famous colorful uniforms are required to be Swiss Catholic men of good moral character between the ages of 19 and 30, stand at least 5 feet 8 inches tall, have completed high school and basic training in the Swiss armed forces, and commit to at least two years of service on the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
 
Monsignor Grysa encouraged participants not only to view the documentary as an opportunity to learn about the history of the Swiss Guard, but to also engage in their mission by giving thanks for their service, praying for them, and likewise serving God and others with faith, courage, charity and friendliness.
 
“Their presence behind the scenes wherever security is needed, their contagious readiness, loyalty, kindness, joy, dedication, and patience also strengthens all those who work in the heart of the Church,” he said.
 
Gianfranco Pannone, who directed The World’s Smallest Army, said the film is “an attempt to provide a deeply human perspective, so necessary in a world with so many conflicts.”

To read the article in its entirety click here.