Holy See: There Is Money for Development

Urges Political Will to Make It Available

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

DOHA, Qatar, DEC. 1, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Developed countries’ pretext that aid for poor countries is «too cumbersome» is an excuse lacking in sincerity, as military and bailout spending proves, affirmed the Holy See.

This affirmation was made today by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, at the U.N.-sponsored meeting on development under way in Qatar.

The archbishop acknowledged that the meeting is unfolding under the shadow of a worldwide, unprecedented economic crisis.

«At its root, the financial crisis is not a failure of human ingenuity, rather of moral conduct,» he contended. «Unbridled human ingenuity crafted the systems and means for providing highly leveraged and unsustainable credit limits, which allowed people and companies alike to pursue material excess at the expense of long-term sustainability. Unfortunately, we are now seeing the effects of such short-term greed and lack of prudence, and as a result those who recently were able to rise out of extreme poverty are now likely to fall back.»

The Holy See representative proposed that the Doha conference’s «great challenge» is ensuring sustainable financing for development.

«Global development is, at its heart, a question not only of technical logistics but more fundamentally of morality,» he said. «Social and economic development must be measured and implemented with the human person at the center of all decisions. The last six years have seen an increase in aid flows and encouraging developments in a number of indicators and statistics.

«However, questions remain: How many people don’t have access to food, how many live with fear of war and oppression, how many do not have access to even basic health care and how many lack decent employment to provide a living wage for themselves and their families? Unfortunately, the answer remains: too many.

«These are the questions and concerns which must be at the heart of our strategies in order to ensure that development is measured not only by capital gain but more importantly by lives sustained.»

International support

After recalling that each individual government must uphold principles to provide the means for personal and global development, the prelate affirmed that nations need the support of the international community.

He praised the fact that «we have seen renewed commitment towards the target of 0.7% Gross National Income in Official Development Assistance (ODA). However, we still remain far behind this goal and have recently seen a slight decline in ODA.»

«Too often,» Archbishop Migliore lamented, «developed countries state that development assistance is too cumbersome, yet such an explanation lacks sincerity, especially when we see the increase of military spending at levels many times greater than development assistance. Similarly, the recent financial crisis demonstrates that when political will is combined with concern for the common good we are able to generate, within months, substantial funds for financial markets which are far greater than the total amount of ODA expended since Monterrey. Surely, it goes without saying that the same political will and concern for the common good of the financial systems applies to the poorest and most vulnerable.»

Moreover, the archbishop continued, the international community needs to have greater respect for those nations who need financial assistance.

«The Bretton Woods institutions need to be refocused and the so called G-8 and G-20 countries must ensure that the voices of those who are in such need of development assistance are heard and respected,» he affirmed. «A purely top down approach to development will remain insufficient unless greater concern is given to those whose lives and countries are at stake.»

Archbishop Migliore concluded by acknowledging that the prevailing attitudes are «uncertainty and anxiety.» But he voiced a word of confidence: «[T]he virtues and principles which have lead the global community out of so many crises remain; that of solidarity with our global community, just and equitable sharing in resources and opportunity, prudent use of the environment, restraint from seeking short-term financial and social gain at the expense of sustainable development, and finally, the political courage which is necessary to build a world in which human life is placed at the center of all social and economic activities.»

«By embracing these fundamental principles,» the archbishop affirmed, «we will help to create a world in which social, economic and spiritual growth is accessible to all.»

— — —

Full text: http://www.zenit.org/article-24435?l=english

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation