Holy See Fears Rich Countries Becoming Stingy

Hoping Financial Crisis Doesn't Inhibit Doha Plans

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Rich nations' concern with the financial crisis could mean that aid to developing countries is put on a back burner, the Holy See fears.



This concern was expressed in a document prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and approved by the Vatican secretariat of state. The document takes on the causes and consequences of the world financial crisis, faced to the U.N. meeting to be held in Doha from Saturday to Dec. 2, and in the wake of the Nov. 15 meeting of rich nations in Washington.

The Doha conference, set to consider progress on the goals set by the Monterrey Consensus, is seen as endangered by the world's economic situation.

The depth of the financial crisis, combined with the previous food and energy crises, "could cause the theme of financing development to be put in second place," the document declared. "From the moment in which the G-20 happened two weeks before the Doha conference promoted by the United Nations, the many countries that did not participate in that meeting fear, not without certain cause, that the first event, which involved only a restricted number of countries but attracted the attention of international public opinion, deprives the Doha conference of political impact."

Nevertheless, the Holy See expressed its confidence that "the countries that gathered in Washington on Nov. 15 will duly take into account the Doha conference and aid its success."

Precisely now, in a context of crisis, the document emphasized, it would be a good time to "reconsider the global financial system" looking at the whole picture and not just the emergencies.

Urgent or important?

"What's most urgent is not always the most important," the Holy See affirmed. "On the contrary, reordering priorities is more necessary when the situation has become difficult."

The document urged awareness that "the financial emergency of today has come after a long period during which, pressured by the immediate objective of seeking short term results, the dimensions proper to finances have been left aside."

The true nature of finances, it continued, "consists in favoring the use of saved recourses there where they favor real economy, well-being, the development of the whole man and of all men."

The Holy See affirmed that without a broad revision of the financial system, a real solution to the crisis won't be found.

Since the Monterrey conference, the document warns, certain initiatives have been adopted for financing development, "but the fundamental question remains untouched: the participation of the poorest countries in the world market."

And it called an "unquestionable wrong" to allot funds that should be set aside for development to plug the emergency.

The true answer to the crisis lies in "building the conditions so savings that are generated are truly dedicated to development, that is, to the creation of opportunities for work," it continued. "The Doha conference is therefore an occasion that the international community should not lose -- to put at the center again those questions that are deeply important for the common good of humanity: Financing development is one of those."