Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
Economic and Social Council
15th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
High level segment:
Turning Political Commitments into Action,
Working together in Partnership
New York, 10 May 2007
delegation congratulates you and your bureau on your appointment, it sincerely
hopes that all delegations will work with the greatest flexibility to achieve as
much as we can in this policy year.
The debate during
this session and the work of the Preparatory Meeting and last year’s CSD have all
demonstrated the strongly interconnected nature of the four themes chosen for
this cycle, and how they may have ample repercussions both on national and
international security and on the capacity of the international community to
confront seriously the problems of poverty and the achievement of the MDGs.
become even stronger when we consider that, ultimately, the earth is our common
heritage and we have a grave and far-reaching responsibility to ourselves and to
future generations for the actions we are due to take here. It should be added
that the need for joint action at the international level does not lessen the
responsibility of individual states.
Mr Chairman, the
question of energy is rapidly becoming one of the key questions of the entire
international agenda, as all of us struggle to assemble a common, global,
long-term energy strategy, capable of satisfying legitimate short- and
medium-term energy requirements, ensuring energy security, protecting human
health and the environment, and establishing precise commitments to address the
question of climate change.
evidence for global warming and for humanity’s role in the increase of
greenhouse gases becomes ever more unimpeachable, as the IPCC findings are going
to suggest; and such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the
environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well. The
consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but
in the entire socio-economic system and, as seen in the findings of numerous
reports already available, they will impact first and foremost the poorest and
weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming,
are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at
greater risk. We need only think of the SIDS as one example among many. Many of
the most vulnerable societies, already facing energy problems, rely upon
agriculture, the very sector most likely to suffer from climatic shifts.
Thus, in order to
address the double challenge of climate change and the need for ever greater
energy resources, we will have to change our present model from one of the
heedless pursuit of economic growth in the name of development, towards a model
which heeds the consequences of its actions and is more respectful towards the
Creation we hold in common, coupled with an integral human development for
present and future generations.
The complexity of
the promotion of sustainable development is evident to all; there are, however,
certain underlying principles which can direct research towards adequate and
lasting solutions. Humanity must become increasingly conscious of the links
between natural ecology, or respect for nature, and human ecology. Experience
shows that disregard for the environment harms human coexistence, while at the
same time it becomes clearer
that there is a positive link to be made between peace with creation and peace
Not so long ago,
the Security Council had a meeting to discuss the relationship between energy,
security and climate. While not everyone agrees upon the discussion of such
material in the Security Council, the sobering fact is that we are already
witnessing struggles for the control of strategic resources such as oil and
fresh water, both of which are becoming ever scarcer. If we refuse to build
sustainable economies now, we will continue to drift towards more tensions and
conflicts over resources, to say nothing of threatening the very existence of
coastal peoples and small island states.
Recently, we have
heard of economies that have managed to grow while actually reducing their
consumption of energy. Surely this success holds out hope that our current
economic model does not always oblige us to use more and more energy in order to
grow. Economic growth does not have to mean greater consumption. From the
standpoint of a sustainable economy, it does however mean that we will need
technology, ingenuity, determined political will and common sense. Importantly,
it will also demand technology transfer to developing countries, to the benefit
of the entire global community.
technology, its transfer and political will to collaborate at the international
level are not enough: to all that we must add national education schemes that
will lead all of us without exception to approach our daily patterns of
consumption and production in a very different way and to demand a similar
change throughout construction, transport, businesses and other institutions.
education, states can help their citizens grasp the urgency of what must be
done, teaching them in turn to expect and demand a very different approach to
their own consumption and that around them.
unprecedented ecological changes are already taking place and none of us can
foresee fully the consequences of man’s industrial activity over the recent
centuries. Remedies are not beyond our ingenuity, but we should however be
careful not to choose a path that will make things worse, especially for the
poor. We cannot simply uninvent the modern world, but there is still time to use
technology and education to promote universally sustainable development before
it is too late.
Thank you, Mr