New York (AsiaNews) - Man must be at the heart of sustainable development, integral human development. And to that end it should be noted that the economy is not ethically "neutral", because every economic decision has a moral consequence. This according to the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN in a statement which expresses the position of the Holy See on the UN conference on sustainable development, Rio +20, held in the Brazilian city June 13 to 15.
The conference, the document says, "represents an important step in the process that has significantly contributed to a better understanding of the concept of sustainable development and the interplay between the known three pillars of this concept: economic growth, environmental protection and promotion of social welfare ".
But "Human beings, in fact, come first. We need to be reminded of this. At the centre of sustainable development is the human person. The human person, to whom the good stewardship of nature is entrusted, cannot be dominated by technology and become its object. A realization of this fact must lead States to reflect together on the short and medium term future of our planet, recognizing their responsibility for the life of each person and for the technologies which can help to improve its quality. Adopting and promoting in every situation a way of life which respects the dignity of each human being, and supporting research and the utilization of energy sources and technologies capable of safeguarding the patrimony of creation without proving dangerous for human beings".
For this, the Vatican invites to "attention in the framework of the Rio+20 process is the linkage between sustainable development and integral human development. Together with material and social welfare, consideration must also be given to the ethical and spiritual values which guide and give meaning to economic decisions and consequently to technological progress, inasmuch as every economic decision has a moral consequence. The technical economic sphere is neither ethically neutral, nor by nature inhuman and antisocial. It pertains to human activity and, precisely as human, needs to be ethically structured and institutionalized.
There is a need, in short, for a change of mindset to discover "the art of living together," man and nature, without respect for which "the human family is likely to disappear"
In recent decades, continues the statement, there were major changes in the international community, due to the extraordinary scientific and technological progress, however, that coexists with "dramatic deviations and problems" of many countries and with the dramatic economic and financial crisis of our days.
Placing the human person as a starting point, also "taking the centrality of the human person as a starting point helps to avoid the risks associated with adopting a reductionist and sterile neo-Malthusian approach which views human beings as an obstacle to sustainable development. There is no conflict between human beings and their environment, but rather a stable and inseparable covenant in which the environment conditions the life and development of human beings, while they in turn perfect and ennoble the environment by their creative, productive and responsible labour. It is this covenant which needs to be reinforced. "
The Vatican finally argues that the green economy has the potential to "make an important contribution to the cause of peace and international solidarity." This analysis should be applied in order to "be clearly directed towards the promotion of common good and the elimination of poverty at local level, essential for sustainable development". Care is needed, however, to make sure it does not condition trade, developing latent forms of "green protectionism" and that also targets integral human development.