Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Seventy-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Second Committee Agenda Item 17: Macroeconomic policy questions
New York, 10 October 2019
Every economic decision and policy made affects the lives of individuals, families and the well-being of society. Therefore, Governments cannot take such decisions without first considering their ethical implications, because they are never without consequences. That’s why one of the primary objectives of the United Nations and, in particular, of this Committee, is to achieve economic prosperity for all in order to allow every human person to thrive and countries to live in peace and stability.
The report of the Secretary-General on International trade and development states that “multilateral trade cooperation has continued to be hampered by the rising influence of unilateralism."  Indeed, we are deeply convinced that economic and financial systems benefiting the stronger trade partners to the detriment of the weaker parties, do not only hamper multilateral trade cooperation, but are unjust and unfair.
This is the reason that one of our goals must be to promote mutually beneficial trade that brings peoples together, generates shared prosperity, fosters mutual understanding, and increases cooperation towards creating a stable mutually beneficial economic system. The Holy See warns against the recent trend of unilateral action in response to international challenges. This approach to international diplomacy, often driven solely by partisan or nationalistic policies is not mutually beneficial to all actors involved and tends to promote the powerful over the weak and to impose the ideologies of the few without the consent of the many.
They always affect the lives of people, in particular those most left behind. As Pope Francis states in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si, “Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.”
My Delegation recommends that this “frank dialogue” take a focused and honest look at the impact of macroeconomic policies on the poor and those in the margins of economic activity. Failure to consider how policies affect the poor and those living in the periphery of society is one major cause of the worsening economic inequalities within and among countries. The consequences of such policies are far reaching and, before our very own eyes, are responsible for crises like the current mass migrations of peoples due to extreme poverty and the destruction of ecosystems to supply opulent societies with ever more resources. Pope Francis warns that if we allow this process of exclusion to continue relentlessly, “those excluded” will “no longer [be] society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the ‘leftovers.’"
The Holy See re-iterates its concern over the detrimental impact that illicit financial flows – such as those derived from transnational crime, corruption, money laundering, illicit arms and drug trades, illicit exploitation of natural resources, tax evasion – have on the poor and on the stability of States. Such flows encourage criminal activity and undermine the rule of law and political stability. The absence in any society of justice and social order breed not only conflict and strife but impede economic growth and integral human development.
A lawless society is a recipe for disaster in every aspect and dimension of life. Illicit financial flows divert resources from much-needed government spending for basic services, such as health and education, and deprive them of funds for poverty reduction programs and improvement of infrastructures, like roads and markets, that could instead contribute to the generation of goods and services. Finally, it is also the case that illicit financial flows remove the capital needed for public-private investments and discourage direct private investments both foreign and local. In brief, illicit financial flows must be considered a grave international problem and must be treated accordingly.
In conclusion, while every country bears the primary responsibility for its own economic and social development, an enabling, supportive international economic environment is pivotal to the realization of the common good, in global partnership and shared responsibility.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
2. Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, n. 189
3. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n. 53.