Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
56th Session of the Commission for Social Development
Item 3(a): Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to
Achieve Sustainable Development for All
New York, January 29 to February 7, 2018
The Secretary-General’s report on Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all stresses that “eradicating poverty is the overarching objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” It is also at the center of all of this Commission’s efforts. The phrase “sustainable development” should not be understood in practice as chiefly the long-term maintenance of benefits for already developed nations. It must always be directed primarily toward ensuring that the poor are given an opportunity to share in, and add to, those fruits. The poor, after all, are not a barrier to sustainable development but one of its greatest resources.
History shows that among the foremost causes of poverty are exclusion and inequality, and that inclusion is one of the greatest means for poverty eradication among individuals, families, peoples and nations. An “economy of exclusion” is one in which individuals and peoples are prevented from participating fully in the economic, social and political life of their communities, due either to formal barriers like discriminatory laws and regulations that prevent their participation, or to subtler means, such as inadequate access to healthcare, education and other necessary resources for integral human development. The lack of marketable skills and abilities due to insufficient access to supportive resources is often used as a justification for exclusion: those without education, the unemployed, the sick, the disabled and the homeless are sometimes blamed and stigmatized for their situation as the effect of exclusion becomes the legitimization of their exclusion. This exclusionary cycle must stop. Development and flourishing happens, on the contrary, through social participation, which means working with others in community and communion.
My Delegation very much appreciates the emphasis given in the Secretary-General’s report on decent work and productive employment, as well as on education, health and social protection. These are essential pathways to inclusion. In many parts of the world, employment is scarcely available, especially for the young, something that only exacerbates an economy of exclusion.
Poverty eradication should not be viewed as just one important goal among many, because impoverishment is so profoundly linked to other significant challenges the world is now confronting, including war, environmental degradation, and the migration and refugee crisis. While the causes of human migration are numerous and complex, many are tied to people fleeing situations of exclusion in favor of those of inclusion.
Within the migration and refugee crisis, the logic of exclusion has been exploited by human traffickers, leading to a rise in the scourge of modern slavery. When migrants are excluded from the normal means of participation in a society, they are forced to the margins, often without the protection of law and order, or even common decency. As Pope Francis recently lamented with regard to human trafficking victims: “How many persons, especially those fleeing from poverty and war, have fallen prey to such commerce perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals?” Such commerce, we know, never stops with the unscrupulous, but instead enters into the supply chains of our globalized economy, with the effect that we all regularly and unconsciously consume items produced through forced labor. We must all become dedicated abolitionists of this brutal form of modern slavery and of the economies of exclusion of which it is one of its most nefarious expressions.
My Delegation heartily supports the efforts of this Commission to break down the barriers of exclusion and build solid pathways of inclusion that will foster the integral development of the poor and, in lifting them up, help foster sustainable development for all.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2. Pope Francis, Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, 8 January 2018.