At the Informal Consultation on Our Common Agenda
2nd Thematic Cluster
Accelerating the SDGs through sustainable financing and building trust
14-15 February 2022
Among the topics included in this 2nd thematic cluster, the Holy See would like to address briefly five themes: the rule of law, disinformation, and economic issues like the GDP, the need for a fairer trading system and financial integrity.
[Rule of law]
With regard to the Rule of Law, the Holy See welcomes all efforts to build more just and equal societies before the law, placing “people at the center of justice systems.” Further efforts, however, are needed to promote the rule of law, at both the national and international level. These include keeping focus on effective crime prevention and anti-corruption efforts in line with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). It also involves strengthening the rule of law at every stage of the criminal justice process, and broadening access to justice for all, especially those in vulnerable situations. My Delegation further reiterates the centrality of treaties at the international level. International agreements, and other international obligations that State parties have voluntarily undertaken are expressed in carefully negotiated language and implemented in accordance with the foundational tenet of international law, pacta sunt servanda, in order to “foster mutual trust” and to cultivate “peace and development —on the basis of the strength of the law and not on the ‘law of the strongest’.”
On the subject of disinformation, Pope Francis recently pointed out that “an ‘infodemic’ is spreading: a distortion of reality based on fear, which in our global society leads to an explosion of commentary on falsified if not invented news.” To address this, “Communicators must observe facts carefully, check their accuracy, make a critical evaluation of the sources of their information, and, finally, pass on their findings.” Along the same lines, States must continue to protect and promote freedom of speech and freedom of the media. As we are all well aware, issues such as “hate speech,” discrimination, and privacy are sources of disagreement and subject to ongoing discussions among States. The Holy See encourages further inclusive consultations on these subjects. Moving forward on emerging human rights issues demands clear, internationally agreed criteria and definitions. Anything less, will not only prove unhelpful but also weaken the very notion of fundamental human rights, including the freedom of religion or belief and the freedom of speech.
[GDP, fairer trading system, financial integrity]
Concerning economic issues like the GDP, the need for fairer trading systems and for greater financial integrity,: we know that “the pandemic has sorely tested the global economy, with serious repercussions on those families and workers who experienced situations of [distress] even before the onset of the economic troubles. This has further highlighted persistent inequalities in various social and economic sectors.” The Holy See reiterates that every decision and policy on economic or financial issues affects the lives of individuals, families and the well-being of society as a whole. For this reason, all such decisions and policies must be future oriented and considered in a broader light, rather than only in the short-term. We must also take into account the ethical implications of economic policies, including the need for fairer trading systems and for greater financial integrity. Such an approach will promote a more just economy that is more inclusive of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, creating the conditions for every person to thrive and for countries to live in peace, stability and prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.
 Our Common Agenda – Report of the Secretary-General, n. 23.
 Pope Francis, Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, 8 February 2021.
 Pope Francis, Address to participants in the meeting promoted by the International Consortium of Catholic Media, 28 January 2022.
 Pope Paul VI, Message for the Sixth World Social Communications Day, 21 April 1972.
 Pope Francis, Address to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, 10 January 2022.