Holy See to UN: Invest in Children to Aid Poverty

Stresses Promotion of Authentic Human Development

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NEW YORK, FEB. 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations is affirming that an effective means to eradicate poverty is to invest in the health and development of children.

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt stated this in an address delivered Friday to the 49th session of the Commission for Social Development of the U.N. Economic and Social Council. The theme of the meeting was "Poverty Eradication."

The prelate affirmed that "the future generations of children and youth are in fact the best and only means of overcoming social and economic problems."

He continued, "Poverty is caused not by too many children, but by too little investment and support in the development of children."

"Human history teaches us that if there is sufficient investment in children they will grow up to contribute far in excess of what they have consumed, thereby raising the standard of living for all," the archbishop observed.

"It is their strong hands and able minds that will feed the hungry, cure the sick, and build homes for the homeless," he added.

Archbishop Chullikatt affirmed that "promoting a culture that is open to life and based on the family is fundamental to realizing the full potential and the authentic development of the society for both today and the future."

Economic growth

He noted that "while policy makers often state that population growth is detrimental to development, the reality is that where economic growth has increased, it is often accompanied with population increases."

"In developed regions, we are now witnessing dwindling and ageing populations and many nations are struggling to maintain social services and economic growth as the ratio of workers to non-workers decreases," the prelate warned.

He continued: "In the developing regions, we are witnessing an unprecedented decline in fertility/birth rate -- a decline advocated often as the best means to achieve development.

"However, many nations in the developing world are now at risk of growing old before they grow rich."

The archbishop affirmed, "At the center of development is recognizing the dignity of the human person and ensuring full respect for man's innate dignity and fundamental rights."

"This calls for renewed forms of cooperation and a more decisive commitment by all," he stated.

"Development cannot be measured only in terms of economic growth and eradication of poverty cannot be based only on measurable economic outcome," Archbishop Chullikatt asserted.

"Rather," he added, "authentic development requires fostering the development of each human being and of the whole human being."

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