Statement at the 2023 Session of the Financing for Development Follow-up Forum
New York, 17-20 April 2023
The Holy See is pleased to contribute to this general debate of the 2023 Financing for Development Follow-up Forum by offering the following considerations.
In the context of the ongoing interconnected global crises, the need for genuine global solidarity to assist the poorest and those left behind is greater than ever. Millions around the world still live in poverty, including the alarming 356 million people who were pushed into extreme poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and lack of access to basic resources, including safe water and sanitation, are an affront to human dignity. These challenges, which are more acutely felt in Countries in special situations, require urgent action grounded in ethical principles of solidarity, respect for the inherent dignity of every person, and the promotion of the common good of all.
This Forum presents the opportunity to renew the commitment to mobilize all possible resources to meet the basic needs and promoting the integral human development of all women, men, and children. The mobilization of financial institutions and resources as well as the provision of concessional finance, including official development assistance (ODA), are essential tools to make sustainable development a reality for all.
In this regard, there is extensive evidence that many developing Countries, due to the demands imposed on them by debt servicing and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, are obliged to divert scarce national resources away from investment in education, healthcare, housing, and job creation. In this regard, to ensure that millions are given the opportunity to escape poverty and reach their full potential, it remains imperative that theinternational community prioritise debt restructuring and move towards the “cancellation of debt of the most vulnerable countries, in recognition of the severe impacts of the medical, social, and economic crises they [still] face as a result of COVID-19.”
It is only through a shared commitment to eradicating extreme poverty that we can make a real difference, ensuring that the focus of financing for development is placed squarely on meeting the development priorities of those Countries that are most in need of international aid and assistance. Each Country should be able to “grow in its distinct way and develop its capacity for innovation while respecting the values of its proper culture.” In this regard, the provision of international assistance should never be used to impose forms of ideological colonization or to tie the provision of economic aid to the acceptance of such ideologies.
Instead, the ultimate criterion against which all aspects of international development and assistance must be measured is the respect of the inherent dignity of every person, including their cultural values, while also promoting the common good.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
 Cf. A/77/214.
 Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, 1 September 2020.
 Pope Francis, encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti, 51.