Holy See Calls for "Ecological Conversion" to Combat Poverty

Address of Permanent Observer to the United Nations

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NEW YORK, MAY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican aide at the United Nations called for an "ecological conversion" and a change in patterns of production and consumption in order to combat world poverty.



Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Vatican to the United Nations, presented his proposal Wednesday when he addressed the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development. The occasion was a follow-up meeting to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in South Africa last year.

"We need to start an ecological conversion," the archbishop said. "We have to change our models of production and consumption; we have to examine seriously the problem of poverty with all its multidimensional elements."

"At the basis of this process, it is important to recall the first principle of the Rio Declaration, which states that human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature," he added.

In a word, "individuals and peoples are not tools but protagonists of their future and agents of their own development," the archbishop said. "In their specific economic and political circumstances, they are to exercise the creativity which is characteristic of the human person and on which the wealth of a nation is dependent.

"Sustainable development is aimed at inclusion. It can only be attained through responsible and equitable international cooperation, participation and partnership."

Archbishop Migliore continued: "In order to better realize this process, there are many gains which can be attained through a broader participation of stakeholders and through the active involvement of all actors responsible for implementation, promoting synergies, interaction, innovation and joint learning between the various participants, on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity as applied to global governance."

"In this context," he added, "what is important is to guarantee an appropriate accountability on the part of those involved and a better balance in their representation from the different parts of the world."