"Human Ecology" to Be Proposed by Church at U.N. Summit

Emphasis on Coordination, and Letting the Poor Have Role as Protagonists

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ROME, MAY 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- At an upcoming world summit on the environment and development, the Vatican will emphasize that people must be the protagonists of their own progress, especially in the poorer countries.

The U.N.-organized summit will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Sept. 2-11, a decade after the Rio de Janeiro Conference.

In preparation for the event, the Lateran University organized a seminar Tuesday on “Safeguarding Creation and Protection of the Environment: Toward a Human Ecology.”

Monsignor Celestino Migliore, undersecretary for relations with states of the Vatican State Secretariat, was one of the seminar speakers. He said the “participation of civil society, NGOs, and also Catholic associations” will be important in Johannesburg. NGOs are non-governmental organizations.

The Vatican representative hopes that there will be an “effective coordination of groups” of civil society to give the poorest countries a voice.

Monsignor Migliore said the Holy See will help to identify “ways of sustainable development with clear ethical and social repercussions on humanity.”

Consequently, the debate on the economic, social and environmental aspects should move from “a purely economic development to a sustainable human development,” he said.

The objective that the Church will present in Johannesburg is that of a “human ecology,” as indicated in the encyclical “Centesimus Annus,” based on an “awareness of creation” as described by Church social doctrine.

This awareness gives impetus to “principles of responsibility and equity, it safeguards creation and gives access to primary goods, including education,” Monsignor Migliore stressed.

Therefore, in keeping with the declaration of Rio de Janeiro, the Holy See will emphasize “the centrality of man,” he said. He added that, more than “a circle that must be closed,” Johannesburg “is a starting point.”

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ZENIT Staff

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