Statement by H.E.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
General Assembly: Informal consultations on the report of
the High-Level Panel
on Threats, Challenges and Change
and on the United
Nations Millennium Project 2005 report
New York, 22 February 2005
The Report on Threats, Challenges and Change and the
Practical Plan to Achieve the MDGs complement each other, in that
they caution us not to frame developmental policies shortsightedly
or just from the perspective of security, at the expense of more
wide ranging soft threats and silent emergencies.
As for the Practical Plan itself, it has a great deal
to recommend it and represents much hard work and dedication to the
world's poor, something which I am very happy to salute.
Of the ten key recommendations, the Holy See would
like to express its particular support for key recommendation number
7, that ODA should be based on actual needs, rather than on assigned
targets. The recent impetus given to the long-agreed allocation of
0.7% of GNP to development is very encouraging. It is much to be
hoped that genuinely new money will be directed to development as a
Many experts concur that extreme poverty and hunger
derive in great part from the inequality in the distribution of
income on the one hand and in conspicuous overconsumption on the
other. Uncertainty is felt in many quarters about the viability of
current development models. The technical solutions underpinning
these models, instead of stimulating growth, have sometimes resulted
in increased poverty and inequality. In spite of this, many proposed
solutions still tend to be highly technocratic.
For this reason, my delegation strongly believes that
the entire system of solidarity needs to be reshaped; ODA must be
increased, not just spent better; and above all, policies to
eradicate poverty must continue to concentrate not only on "what" or
"how", but firstly on "who". A clear idea of who the poor are,
followed by practical, direct, personal assistance to them through
people-centred policies must always be borne in mind. Only such a
focus will promote the poor as real people, because it is a focus
based upon the dignity of every man, woman and child, rather than
upon policies that risk overlooking their worth as persons.
The Holy See is pleased to align itself with
delegations which support a social policy which includes
distributive justice. Such policies must be made an integral part of
the debate on development, so that they become the basic yardstick
for measuring the quality and pace of development.
As I said, Mr President, it is more about "who" than
“what”. The first "who" are the poor themselves: they have the right
to assistance as well as a responsibility to themselves. The second
"who" is all who bear responsibilty for the situation of increased
poverty and inequality and for its eventual solution. The United
Nations, which should be inspired by the universal common good, must
not be afraid to conduct such a frank discussion, not so much to
apportion blame as to resolve the problem in justice at its most
For the Practical Plan to be successful, we believe
that emphasis must continue to be placed on investments to empower
poor people, especially women, in ways that respect the individual's
will and do not lead to unacceptable conditions being placed on the
liberty of those to whom assistance is offered. Thus poor people
themselves will be served, rather than other issues such as
unacceptable ways of controlling the world's population. A wise and
humane population policy will respect the people it is meant to
serve, for the betterment of humanity. It will also take account of
the actual and projected development of the human race.
To sum up, Mr President, we are convinced that the
MDGs - and, for that matter, the commitments made at Copenhagen -
can only be achieved if poverty eradication policies are aimed
squarely at the poor as persons of equal worth; if serious progress
is made in good governance and combating corruption; if financial
and trade reform is adequately introduced to make markets work in
favour of developing countries; if the long-standing 0.7% GNP
pledges are truly honoured in justice and solidarity; and if debt is
cancelled in all the applicable cases.
Thank you, Mr President.