Holy See Appeals to U.N. for an "Ecological Conversion"

Prelate Addresses Panel on Sustainable Development

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NEW YORK, OCT. 26, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See stated at the United Nations that an "ecological conversion" is necessary so that sustainable development can take place.



The statement was delivered Wednesday afternoon by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, to the General Assembly's committee discussing sustainable development and ecology.

"If we wish to make sustainable development a rooted, long-term reality, we must create a truly sustainable economy," said the papal representative.

"Even in the context of its fast transition and mutation, our economy continues to rest basically upon its relation to nature," the archbishop said. "Its indispensable substratum is soil, water and climate; and it is becoming rapidly ever clearer that if these, the world's life-support systems, are spoiled or destroyed irreparably, there will be no viable economy for any of us.

"Therefore, rather than being external or marginal to the economy, environmental concerns have to be understood by policy-makers as the basis upon which all economic -- and even human -- activity rests."

Archbishop Migliore continued: "The environmental consequences of our economic activity are now among the world's highest priorities. The environmental question is not only an important ethical and scientific problem, but a political and economic problem too, as well as a bone of contention in the globalization process in general.

"It means not just integrating sustainable development into programs for poverty reduction and development, but also reflecting the preoccupations and environmental problems in security strategies, and in developmental and humanitarian questions at the national, regional and international levels."

Time to rethink

"In a word," the Holy See official said, "the world needs an ecological conversion so as to examine critically current models of thought, as well as those of production and consumption."

The archbishop insisted: "Serious public investment in clean technology must accompany this pragmatism as an urgent part of national and international strategies to diminish as fast as possible the impact of air and sea transport pollution and those sectors' continued use of outdated technology.

"Progress is slowly being made in clean technologies in other fields, including even that of car transport. But the time is now ripe for major investment in cleaner air- and sea-transport technologies before the ecological balance is tipped by culpable neglect."

Archbishop Migliore recalled that for the United Nations, 2006 is the International Year of Deserts and Desertification, and that the problems of "desertification and drought now affect more than one in six of the world's population."

"The international community," he added, "must take concrete actions to reverse this alarming phenomenon through internationally coordinated responses."