Development Genuine If It's Integral, Says Holy See

At U.N., Bishop Emphasizes the Many Facets of Real Progress

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NEW YORK, FEB. 15, 2005 ( The Holy See is warning the international community about adopting partial-development objectives which lose sight of real progress for poor countries.

Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, expressed this concern of the Church when he addressed the U.N. Social Development Commission last week.

The commission is analyzing the results of the development summit held in Denmark 10 years ago, which emphasized «the commitment to promote a concept of social development that was ‘political, economic, ethical and spiritual.'»

Over the past decade, this concept «has lost that quality of being a concept that encompasses everything,» Bishop Crepaldi told the U.N. commission Friday.

«Leaders of nations, as well as specialists, have chosen a focus to eradicate poverty which is based, above all, on achieving measurable economic results,» he said.

«However, if these indicators form part of the positive commitment of the international community in this area, they run the risk of concentrating efforts in obtaining short-term quantitative results,» the prelate continued.

Such emphasis on the short term can hurt «the quality of work in favor of development that, on the contrary, calls for patience, an ability to share, education and participation,» he added. «For development to take off, what has been called ‘a great push’ is necessary in public investments.»

After reviewing some of the initiatives for financing development which some countries are considering, Bishop Crepaldi added: «The real challenge we are facing is to work concretely to obtain positive economic results that eliminate poverty and, at the same time, safeguard the Copenhagen concept of social development.»

If it is true that «the eradication of poverty has become a moral imperative, it would be beneficial for its realization to consider it, effectively, a priority global public good,» he said.

To address this challenge, the bishop added, «a moral condition» is necessary: «the creation, in the international ambit, of a sense of social justice which at present is lacking.»

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