May 17, 2017
SDG Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity

Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the
United Nations

SDG Action Event on Innovation and Connectivity
New York, 17 May 2017

Mr. President,

My Delegation wishes to thank you for this opportunity to engage with leading innovators, thought-leaders, and technology companies on how new technologies can support the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and on how best to seize the opportunities and manage the risks associated with the exponential pace of technological change, while taking into account the political, economic, as well as moral and ethical dilemmas that this represents for achieving the common good.

The Holy See closely follows technological progress. Pope Francis has tens of millions of Twitter followers and has the highest number of retweeted tweets. He recently addressed technology leaders in “TED Talk,” which provides a platform for conversations on technological innovations.

On many occasions, and in particular in his conversational address on “TED Talk,” Pope Francis reminds us how everything is connected and how life is about human interactions. “None of us is an autonomous and independent ‘I’”, he said. “We can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.”

Technological innovations must, therefore, be vehicles for educating people to a true solidarity, which overcomes a “culture of waste” that puts products at the center of techno-economic systems, instead of people. “The other has a face”, he said. “The ‘you’ is…a person to take care of.” In expressing the hope that the growth of scientific and technological innovations would contribute to greater equality and social inclusion, the Pope said, “How wonderful would it be if while we discover faraway planets, [we also] rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.”

For technological innovations to be truly human and humanly authentic, they should be accompanied with what Pope Francis calls “the revolution of tenderness”. It is by compassion and tenderness that one feels for the other, empathizes with the suffering of the other, and feels the joy of being able to share innovations for the development of entire peoples and societies. Tenderness is therefore not a show of weakness or softness, but is a transformative strength capable of spurring one to act in a way that no one is left behind. Tenderness transforms the temptation to impose one’s ideas and behavior on others to an attitude of shared prosperity and solidarity. Tenderness therefore becomes a power to serve for the common good.

Mr. President,

My Delegation believes that the future of humankind is in the hands of those who recognize the other as a ‘you’ and themselves as part of an ‘us’. If we are for one another, then we should share each other’s successes and burdens, so that no one will be left behind.

Thank you, Mr. President.