Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Second Committee
Agenda Item 21: Globalization and Interdependence
New York, 13 October 2017
As the Secretary-General’s report on “Fulfilling the promise of globalization: advancing sustainable development in an interconnected world” notes, globalization has brought many benefits but also many costs. The benefits of economic growth and advances in technology have greatly reshaped the world; the spread of these benefits, however, is mostly concentrated in the already developed countries, and often in the wealthier regions of those countries. The costs of globalization have fallen disproportionately on those affected by rapid changes in the location of production, often in the developed world, and among those costs are an increase in inequality and cultural homogeneity and a decline in governments’ ability to shape their nations’ economic future.
Pope Francis has stated that, “in a world that tends toward economic and cultural globalization, every effort must be made to ensure that growth and development are put at the service of all and not just limited parts of the population. Furthermore, such development will only be authentic if it is sustainable and just, that is, if it has the rights of the poor and respect for the environment close to heart. Alongside the globalization of the markets, there must also be a corresponding globalization of solidarity; together with economic growth, there must be a greater respect for creation; alongside the rights of individuals, there must be the guaranteed rights of those who are a bridge between the individual and the state, the family being the first and foremost of such institutions.”
International economic interdependence is strengthened by globalization, as illustrated by global supply chains, and it is also affected by a deeper interdependence arising from the challenges of climate change. As Pope Francis stated in Laudato Si’: “An interdependent world not only makes us more conscious of the negative effects of certain lifestyles and models of production and consumption that affect us all; more importantly, it motivates us to ensure that solutions are proposed from a global perspective, and not simply to defend the interests of a few countries. Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan. Yet the same ingenuity that has brought about enormous technological progress has so far proved incapable of finding effective ways of dealing with grave environmental and social problems worldwide.”
The Holy See is increasingly worried that a “globalization of indifference” has accompanied the globalization of systems of production. This indifference primarily affects those on the margins who have been excluded from this new global economic system: the poor and marginalized, migrants and refugees. But this “globalization of indifference” has similarly been extended to those affected by the negative impacts of environmental degradation, as many ignore the interdependence between people and the environment. To mitigate such negative impacts, we must work, interdependently, with an attitude of solidarity towards those most affected, building pathways to greater responsible cooperation. Otherwise, the “globalization of indifference” will, in the end, make us all poorer and our planet more unsustainable.
Technological progress and international solidarity can indeed reduce the negative impacts of globalization, but without a change of heart, without a new attitude towards our common home and our fellow dwellers in that home, the hope for integral human development for all will remain just a dream rather than reality.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2. Pope Francis, Meeting with the Civil Authorities, Tirana (Albania), 21 September 2014.
3. Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 164, emphasis in original.