Man Must Be at Center of Development, Says Vatican Aide

Observer at U.N. Addresses Human Rights Commission

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GENEVA, MARCH 27, 2002 ( Man must be at the center of development, a Vatican aide said during an address to the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican´s permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva, was addressing the annual session of the commission on Monday. It was his second address in four days at the session, which runs until April 26.

The session focused on the first principle of the 1992 Rio Declaration: «Human beings are the center of concerns for sustainable development.»

The archbishop explained that it «is human persons who are the focal point of a knowledge-based economy.»

«It is their initiative and creative ability that are the driving and innovative force of a modern economy,» he said.

Yet, the Vatican representative referred to «the sad fact» that «many people, perhaps the majority today, do not have the means that would enable them to take their place in an effective and humanly dignified way within a productive system in which work is truly essential.»

Given the above, Archbishop Martin stressed that poverty «today must be defined not simply in terms of a lack of economic income, but more in terms of an inability to realize fully that God-given human potential, with which each person, man or woman, is endowed.»

He emphasized that «the right of persons to fully develop their capacities» is an «essential requisite for the development of a strong and modern economy.»

«As we deliberate, the community of nations has just adopted in Monterrey a strategy for financing development,» the archbishop added. «Once again, the success of that strategy will depend on how it places human persons at the center of concerns for sustainable development, on how it directs the use of financing, traditional and additional, to ensure that people can realize their potential, and fully exercise their rights as the protagonists of sustainable development.»

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