Sustainable Development a Responsibility, Says Vatican

Archbishop Migliore Warns U.N. of Future Challenges

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NEW YORK, NOV. 4, 2005 ( For the Holy See the promotion of sustainable development is a question of responsibility and solidarity vis-à-vis present and future generations.

The Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, made these comment Thursday in an address to the U.N. General Assembly’s Commission on Sustainable Development.

«My delegation believes that development plans and poverty reduction strategies must be integrated into environmental sustainability,» said the papal representative.

«Without environmental stewardship, development will have no sound foundation, and without development, there will be no means of investment, rendering environmental protection impossible,» continued the apostolic nuncio, highlighting the vicious circle that sustainable development can entail.

«Responsibility and solidarity are linked here in such a way that action in favor of the environment becomes an affirmation of belief in the destiny of the human family gathered around a common project crucial to everyone’s good,» he added.

The above «echoes the first principle of the Rio Declaration that ‘human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development,'» he said, referring to the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on the Environment and Development.

Looking forward

The three first and most serious threats to sustainable development articulated by the prelate were socioeconomic: poverty, infectious diseases and environmental degradation.

«These three questions ultimately threaten the security of present and future generations,» he warned. «The need to address these challenges as an ensemble is indispensable to a collective security system. They are not stand-alone threats.»

Another concern expressed by Archbishop Migliore was the loss of forests, «which remain essential in terms of food, shelter, fuel, fresh water and fiber to 90% of the world’s 1.2 billion extreme poor.»

The prelate also referred to the need to «provide incentives for the further development of renewable energy sources,» and «to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies, especially for fossil fuel use and development, and invest in the research and development of a clean, efficient and cheap replacement for fossil fuels.»

«The world is going to need dramatically more, not less, energy in the next 50 years,» said Archbishop Migliore. «We owe it to future generations everywhere to start immediately on such a path.»

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