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Holy See to UN: 'Greater Progress Can Never Be Equivalent to Less Humanity'

Reminds FAO Session That Agricultural Workers Are First of All Persons


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Those who work in agriculture are “economic subjects,” but above all, they are persons, men and women capable of participating in decision-making, the Holy See told the United Nations today.

Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, head of the Holy See delegation at the 39th session of the Conference of the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation), made this observation in an address this morning to the seventh plenary session. 

The theme of the session is “Breaking the cycle of rural poverty and hunger by strengthening rural resilience: social protection and sustainable agricultural development.”

The FAO meeting is underway in Rome through Saturday and Thursday in the Vatican, the Holy Father will receive in audience the 450 attendees of the Conference.

“In facing the problems of the rural world and the needs of those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition it is also necessary to consider the condition of agricultural workers and their earnings, but without forgetting that the agricultural worker is not solely an economic subject,” Monsignor Chica Arellano said in his Spanish-language address. “He or she is a person capable of participating in decision-making regarding production, conservation and distribution of the fruits of the land.”

Sustainable human development

Monsignor Chica Arellano advised that it would be better to speak of “sustainable human development” than “sustainable development,” or rather, “a development that places at the centre the human person, with his or her real capacities, limitations, peculiarities and needs, both individually and as a family.”

“If the economic parameters do not take all this into account, the resulting damage is clear and irreparable, for greater progress can never be equivalent to less humanity,” he stated. “An ethical and human vision of development requires us instead to share resources, strategies and financing, but above all reminds us of the urgency and importance of solidarity as well as determination to put an end, once and for all, to the underdevelopment of the rural world.”

In this way, the FAO “may then continue to be the competent ‘centre’ for the gathering, study and dissemination of information on agriculture, production methods and regulations, as its Constitution stipulates and as is justly expected of it at all levels,” he said. “The Holy See delegation wishes here to reaffirm the willingness of the Catholic Church, in her structures and organisational forms, to contribute to this effort.”

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