Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
Third Committee of the 70th Session of the General Assembly
Agenda Item 28 (a): Implementation of the outcome
of the World Summit for Social Development
and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
New York, 6 October 2015
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you and the bureau on your election and assure you of my delegation’s firm commitment to engage constructively in the work of the Third Committee of the 70th Session of the General Assembly.
Twenty years ago, at the World Summit for Social Development, Member States adopted the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Program of Action, a comprehensive plan for the achievement of social development. With this Declaration, the international community not only recognized that the economic and social dimensions of development are intimately linked, but that development must be centered on the human person and rooted in respect for human dignity and human rights.
As Pope Francis recently reminded us in his Address to the General Assembly, political and economic undertakings must be “guided by a perennial concept of justice and constantly conscious of the fact that, above and beyond our plans and programmes, we are dealing with real men and women who live, struggle and suffer, and are often forced to live in great poverty, deprived of all rights”. The Holy See is of the firm conviction that the economy exists to serve the human person and the common good of all.
Too often a false dichotomy is established between the economic and social realities of development. There are those who assert that economic development will eventually lead to social progress and that a strong focus now on social objectives will undermine economic growth. However, experience has shown that when economic priorities are pursued for their own sake or for the sake of profit alone, it is the people that development policies are meant to serve who are the first to be forgotten and the quickest to be left behind.
In its development endeavors, the international community must strive to recover a healthy balance between the pursuit of economic gain and that of the common good. Profit is problematic when it becomes the sole end of economic activity and is divorced from the common good of all. The two must remain in balance, and economic activity must find its purpose in the service of the human person, with special attention to the poor and the marginalized.
The common good is a broader concept than economic growth and gain. It does not allow us to reduce the needs of the human person or ignore the well-being of the environment in order to balance items on profit and loss spreadsheets. It does not allow us to cast away those who do not fit into the dominant economic model or to forget that what they need for a dignified life is not just material but also spiritual.
An economic model or program driven solely by market forces and ruled by the pursuit of profit does not find value in the marginalized and excluded, because they are deemed to have little or no economic value. These are the unskilled, the under-skilled, the elderly, the disabled, the uneducated men and women, the young people from marginalized families and city slums. They are the ones who belong to “today’s widespread and quietly growing culture of waste”.
That’s why Pope Francis, in his recent address to the General Assembly, called the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “an important sign of hope.” Its broader understanding of development has squarely placed the human person at the center and has committed itself to measuring its success by the degree to which it leaves no one behind.
The objectives of the Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action will serve as guideposts for the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work for all, and social integration are woven in throughout the Agenda. My delegation calls on Member States and all stakeholders to renew and strengthen their commitment to advance social development and social inclusion within the context of the 2030 development agenda.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
 Pope Francis, Address to the United Nations Organization, New York, 25 September 2015