Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
Second Committee of the 70th Session of the General Assembly
New York, 8 October 2015
At the outset, I would like to extend my delegation’s congratulations to you and the bureau on your election and to assure you of the Holy See’s constructive collaboration.
With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a couple of weeks ago, the work of this Committee and the need for it to be more responsive to global challenges acquires greater urgency. It is my delegation’s sincere hope that this year’s session will enhance dialogue on how best to prioritize our efforts and resources in ensuring that the achievement of the SDGs will truly leave no country and no one behind.
At the heart of this committee’s work is the shared goal to address global poverty. As Pope Francis reminded us in his Address to the UN General Assembly on September 25, to empower men and women to escape extreme poverty, “we must allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.” This requires global and national policy decisions to be driven not merely towards the maximization of the economic benefit per se, but rather towards the promotion of integral human development and dignity.
Poverty is the lack not only of material goods, but also of social, cultural and spiritual resources and all those less tangible values needed to lead a wholesome and dignified life as individuals and societies. For this reason, lifting people out poverty does not just mean adequate food and water, basic health care and decent work; it also means that all enjoy the realization of their fundamental right to education, to free speech, to religious freedom and other fundamental human freedoms. It is my delegation’s hope that with two years remaining in the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, we can build upon the successes of lifting over a billion people out of poverty since 1990 and help those still mired in extreme poverty to attain a life of dignity and freedom.
In our efforts to promote sustainable economic and environmental development, we must never forget that everything is connected. As Pope Francis affirms, “Concern for the environment needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.”
The inherent link between sustainable development and care for our common home challenges those models of development that, while inarguably generating wealth and economic progress, also cause greater socio-economic inequalities and the destruction of our environment. In the race to more amazing technological progress and to ever greater material wealth, we have left billions of persons behind and abused our planet.
Pope Francis sees the environmental degradation and the exclusion of so many from enjoying the fruits of development as two sides of the same challenge. He reminds us that we are not faced with two crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and environmental. Thus, strategies to find solutions to the complex problems we face today demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the underprivileged, and at the same time protecting nature.
Global interdependence is a human reality. Today’s economies increasingly rely upon the human, financial and natural resources far removed from the consumers. The migration crisis facing many corners of the world is a stark reminder of the human costs of a global system that is unresponsive to the needs of billions. This reality drives home the need for renewed ethical and moral awareness of our responsibilities to our communities locally, regionally and globally.
Global economic discussions that focus solely on increasing profits or generating greater consumption fail to ask the larger and necessarily deeper questions of whether such actions are truly right and just. In this regard, our discussions should not only address the systemic economic challenges and opportunities, but they must also focus on how to incorporate proper ethical and moral requirements into systems, so that they can serve the weaker communities and countries and not reinforce greater inequalities through favouring the stronger. If we fail to inject such moral values into our globalized systems, we risk abetting a globalized indifference unwilling to hear the cries and incapable of feeling the pain of the victims of our action, or the lack of our action.
Thank you Mr. Chair.
 Laudato Si’ n. 91.
 Laudato Si’ n.139.