Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-first Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Second Committee Agenda Item 17: Macroeconomic Policy Questions
New York, 21 October 2016
My delegation welcomes the Secretary-General’s recent reports on several Macroeconomic Policy Questions covering trade, the international financial system and external debt, all of which have an important role to play in providing the stable, global financial and economic environment needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Holy See is heartened by the increasing number of developing countries participating in the global economy, although it is also aware that many developing countries still face enormous challenges to meaningful participation in the global economy. It is these countries, in particular the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and countries in special situations, that must remain the focus of our attention and support to ensure they do not fall further behind in reaching the development goals set for 2030. We must view their development as part of what Pope Francis calls the “global common good” and ensure they are not forgotten as more developed countries give priority to their own national concerns.
My delegation agrees that trade has an important role to play in achieving the 2030 Agenda. As the Secretary General’s report notes, reinvigorating the multilateral trading system, while reforming it as necessary, is an essential component in such a global action agenda. For many of the LDCs, trade in primary commodity exports is an important source of foreign exchange earnings. Recent trade data, however, highlight the vulnerability of these countries to downturns in commodity prices, and the consequent on their anti-poverty and economic equality programs. Transfer of technology, industrial diversification and the reinforcement of local and regional markets remain necessary measures to avoid what could be called the commodities’ export-trap.
In regard to the international financial system report, ensuring a stable, effective, and inclusive international financial system is critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda and to leaving no country behind. Regarding the Secretary-General’s report on external debt sustainability, my delegation shares the view that maintaining debt sustainability in developing countries will be of vital importance if the SDGs are to be met on time. In that sense, my Delegation recalls Resolution 69/319, adopted by a wide majority on 10 September 2015 at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, concerning Basic Principles on Sovereign
Debt Restructuring Processes. The spirit of that Resolution must be born in mind as part of the 2030 Agenda, which obliges the international community to ensure that external financing of governments never becomes an unbearable weight for the populations of countries or a hindrance to development projects. Access to credit is an essential element of the economic life of peoples and families. Therefore, an in-depth scientific analysis of the ethical and juridical conditions attached to international credit and to restitution is necessary.
The role of official development assistance (ODA) remains an important source of external finance for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). It must, however, be complimented with funds from multiple sources, such as an increase in internal development funds and the prudent use of natural resources.
Discussions on the foreign debt of poor countries ought to be combined with considerations on the negative ecological impact that the industrialization of what have become wealthy economies has had on underdeveloped countries. Such “ecological debt” is connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by particular countries over long periods of time.
In this respect, the Paris Agreement establishes that: “Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.”
All of us must provide the support necessary for a healthier environment and undertake with greater commitment the care for our common home.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1 Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’” n. 51.
2 Paris Agreement Article 9 paragraph 1.