At U.N., a Plea to Overhaul System of International Solidarity

Holy See’s Observer Criticizes Programs of Population Control

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NEW YORK, FEB. 23, 2005 ( The Holy See asked at the United Nations for a restructuring of the system of international solidarity, and expressed opposition to population-control programs that deny the dignity of the poor.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, presented his proposal Tuesday when participating in the informal consultations on the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and on the U.N. Millennium Project 2005 report.

«My delegation strongly believes that the entire system of solidarity needs to be reshaped; ODA [official development assistance] must be increased, not just spent better,» he said. «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-centered policies must always be borne in mind.»

The archbishop added: «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.

«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 over-consumption on the other.»

«Uncertainty is felt in many quarters about the viability of current development models,» he continued. «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.

«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.»

The Holy See called for the continued promotion of «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,» Archbishop Migliore indicated.

«A wise and humane population policy will respect the people it is meant to serve, for the betterment of humanity,» he added.

In sum, the Holy See official said, the international community will only be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals «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 favor of developing countries; if the long-standing 0.7% [of] GNP pledges are truly honored in justice and solidarity; and if debt is canceled in all the applicable cases.»

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