Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer
of the Holy See
62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Agenda item 109: Report of the Secretary-General on
work of the Organization
New York, 9 October 2007
At the outset, my
delegation thanks the Secretary-General for his first comprehensive report. We
look forward to working with him and the membership, with a view to making the
United Nations ever more responsive to the needs of all people.
As we reach the
halfway point in the process of achieving the MDGs, the time is ripe to take
stock of our successes and failures.
almost 10 million children below five years old die each year mostly from
preventable causes, too many mothers die in childbirth from preventable and
treatable complications, last year 2.9 million people died of HIV/AIDS-related
causes and half of the developing world lacks even basic sanitation.
community seems to have been losing focus on the need to ensure the right to
basic health care for all. Although studies show that simple medical prevention
is often one of the most cost effective and successful ways of improving the
health and stability of society, primary care is often neglected or replaced by
more selective and even culturally divisive methods of health care. Focusing on
the whole range of basic health care will surely make a substantial contribution
towards the achievement of the MDGs and a saner health policy.
Such a sad
landscape is made bleaker by the fact that as children die and generations lack
even the basic necessities of life, we have continued to drift towards mutual
and global destruction. The annual military expenditures of well over one
trillion dollars, the talent and resources devoted to types of technology which
destroy lives and our planet, the persistence of the misplaced trust in the law
of force rather than in the force of law, are just some examples of action which
are counterintuitive to goodness and human reason.
To prevent this
situation from worsening, the United Nations, with the cooperation of all Member
States, must renew its commitment to the preservation of life at every level and
in every corner of the world.
nevertheless encouraging to note recent findings indicating some real progress
in achieving the MDGs. It is only right to recognize the efforts of those
countries that have contributed to the gains made. Now, greater attention must
be paid to those States that still trail the rest of the developing world. In
order to encourage both public and private investment and to create a favourable
economic and social climate, peace and security and the rule of law should
underpin reform efforts.
Nations is increasingly being solicited to respond to multifarious challenges
around the world. To meet this ever growing need for humanitarian assistance,
the United Nations should continue to work to promote partnerships with civil
society that create a predictable and reactive humanitarian response. Member
States play an important role in addressing humanitarian crises. By giving safe
and unhindered access to humanitarian workers, they not only fulfill their
responsibility to protect, but also help ensure that those who suffer from a
humanitarian tragedy are not re-victimized.
During the last
few years, this Organization has dealt with issues related to culture and
religion in an increasing number of resolutions, meetings and side events. This
aspect is unfortunately omitted in this report. Most often, it is only when
tensions and conflict emerge that governments and international organizations
call on religious and cultural forces to help establish dialogue between
parties. Cooperating in programmes against incitement to hatred, witnessing for
peace and against violence and peacemaking through religion-sponsored agencies
are among the many things religious communities and their leaders can do to end
conflict and build conditions for peace.
commends the UN’s commitment to addressing the many challenges facing
development, peace and security and human rights. In so doing the Organization
must maintain its transparency and accountability to the decisions of the Member
States. To this end, modifications to the Millennium Development Goals,
including the creation of new targets, as referenced in Annex II, need to be
undertaken in an open manner, rather than as a result of executive or
Finally, it is
our earnest desire that this sixty-second session of the General Assembly be
strongly marked by a renewed sense of commitment and action towards not only
achieving the Millennium Goals, but also completely fulfilling the vision of
hope of this institution.
Thank you, Mr.