Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
57th Session of the Commission for Social Development
on Item 3(a): Addressing inequalities and challenges to
social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies
New York, 14 February 2019
The Secretary-General’s report on Addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies shows that global inequality levels remain very high and that inequality within countries has been rising in many regions of the world. Indeed, studies indicate that the gap between  the very rich and the poor continues to widen.
Greater income inequality diminishes intergenerational economic mobility and the impact of economic growth on poverty reduction. It also undermines social cohesion and trust in socio-political systems, leading to a disconnect between those who govern and the citizens and engendering insecurity and uncertainty about the future. This is particularly true among the young, many of whom must face the consequences of inequalities and persistent unemployment.
With regard to the young, Pope Francis stated in his recent Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See that “Young people are our future, and the task of politics is to pave the way for the future”. He urged governments to build secure prospects for the young by investing in initiatives that can help them to shape their future and enable them not only to find employment, but also to form a family and raise children.
Here, the Holy See cannot emphasize enough that inclusive quality education, in particular for the children and the young in disadvantaged socio-economic situations, is a fundamental instrument in bridging inequalities and a strong enabler for a more dynamic and equitable socio-economic mobility of individuals and entire families.
Promoting the future of young people must involve investing in the family. As the Preamble of the Convention on the Rights of the Child underlines, “The family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.”
Strengthening the family is perhaps the most effective social protection policy of all, because a strong family provides a solid social safety net. It also fosters a spirit of inclusion making society more familial and capacitates the young to be far better students. Therefore, family-based policies, such as child and family support, family-friendly fiscal policies and social protection programs, are investments that catalyze the family to contribute to nurturing future generations and to taking care of the more vulnerable members of our society.
Pope Francis often emphasizes that “the human being is the center of development and, as long as men and women remain passive or marginalized, the common good cannot be considered fully met”. It is also critical to acknowledge the great contribution that women bring as dignified protagonists of development and to ensure greater equality between women and men, which includes equal pay for equal work, fairness in career advancements, as well as protection for mothers.
To achieve this goal, we must continue relentlessly to promote the principles of justice, solidarity and the common good. These guarantee the welfare of the entire human family, which is founded on the dignity of every human person, no matter how vulnerable. “Another world is possible!,” exclaimed Pope Francis during the World Youth Day, recently celebrated in Panama. He urged us to take our responsibility in building it, so that, he said, “our dreams do not remain ephemeral or ethereal, but can promote a social contract in which everyone has the chance to dream of a tomorrow”.
To make those dreams practical requires addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion. This Commission is a hopeful step in that direction.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2. Pope Francis, Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings, 7 January 2019.
3. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Preamble.
4. Pope Francis, Address to the Italian National Federation of the Knights of Labor at the Apostolic Palace, 20 June 2015.
5. Pope Francis, Address to the Authorities, the Diplomatic Corps and representatives of society, Panama, 24 January 2019.