"Sustainable Development" Means to Focus on People, Says Vatican

Observer Addresses U.N. Panel

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NEW YORK, OCT. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The key to guaranteeing "sustainable development" is to put the person at the center of attention, says a Holy See official.



Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, expressed that conviction Tuesday when addressing the U.N. committee studying the question of sustainable development.

"Human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature," the prelate said. "For this reason we believe that sustainable development must always be considered within the context of an authentic human ecology."

"In order to proceed more quickly towards sustainable development, useful steps forward will be made by means of the broadest participation of stakeholders," he suggested.

"Through their active involvement, the essential principles of solidarity and subsidiarity will be respected. It is through these two principles that stakeholders will come to perceive that the needs of all, not just some, must always be taken into account," the archbishop added.

"In this context, what is important is to guarantee an appropriate accountability on the part of those directing programs and projects on sustainable development, so that decisions taken will reflect the concerns of the people that the programs meant to help," the Vatican official said.

"In this sense, it would be most helpful if persons living on or beyond the margins of society were actually considered as true actors in their own development," the archbishop suggested.

"People are not tools but central participants in the determination of their future. In their specific economic and political circumstances, they should be left to exercise the creativity that is characteristic of the human person and upon which the wealth of nations depends," he stressed.

"Sustainable development should thus be aimed at inclusion, something that will only be attained through equitable international cooperation, participation and partnership," he added.

"The marginalized, while stakeholders, are often deprived of their voice at the negotiating table. Only the bond of solidarity can guarantee a real change in this regard," Archbishop Migliore said.

"Genuine global prosperity and progress on issues of sustainable development depend on the unification of the interests of all people," he indicated.

This is why the Holy See took this opportunity, he said, "to appeal for an integrated strategy that will reinforce the kind of solidarity in which all, not just some, people can exercise joint stewardship."