Cardinal Marx: Human Person Is the Basis for Sustainable Development

President of European Bishops Releases Rio+20 Statement

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, JUNE 21, 2012 ( Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Commission of the Bishops Conference of the European Union (COMECE), urged world leaders to place the human person as the basis for sustainable development during the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

In a statement Wednesday directed to participants at the conference in Brazil, Cardinal Marx, who is also the archbishop of Munich, focused on several aspects of the summit, including sustainability, responsibility, development and cooperation. 

Speaking on sustainable development, the cardinal stressed the importance of finding a balance with the social, economic and environmental needs of the present without putting future generations at risk. «Sustainability is applied to a solidarity that extends beyond space and time,» he said. 

«The development of a framework for a ‘green economy in the context of sustainable development’ (GESDPE) that is being sought by the Conference and a corresponding policy must be judged by whether and to what extent they will meet the basic needs of all people, especially the poor and marginalized as well as future generations.»

Citing Pope Benedict XVI’s address at the World Day of Peace on the responsibility of protecting the environment, the president of COMECE stated that accountability for global warming lies with countries in the developed world. 

Cardinal Marx stated that northern nations, particularly those of the European Union, «should assume the highest share, while developing countries should be granted special means and conditions.» He also urged the leaders of developed countries to practice moderation in consumption by «liberating the notion of richness from its focus on materialistic aspects.» «Moderation will not renounce the desire for material goods but instead discern what is essential and what is superfluous,» he said. 

After highlighting the need for a global sustainable agricultural sector and the importance of cooperation between nations to ensure a «sound global governance system,» the German prelate concluded his statement reinforcing the thought that development is not «uni-dimensional.» Furthermore, he stated that following those needs for sustainable development would bring about a conversion of heart and mind in developed, more prosperous nations. «Instead of being driven by materialism and self-interest we need to become generous and show solidarity. We need to work on a new culture with respect for Creation, for solidarity and justice, for true and authentic human development,» he said. 

«The world expects that their leaders in Rio will embrace their responsibilities and will be accountable for their commitments. The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU wishes them the courage to decide in favor of just solutions.»

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