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    » 06/15/2012, 00.00


    Man must be the heart of sustainable development

    A note from the Holy See permanent observer to the Rio +20 conference. The human being, which is responsible for the proper management of nature, cannot be dominated by technology, or become an object. Man cannot be seen as an obstacle to development. Great potential and some risks in the green economy.

    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.


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    See also

    07/03/2008 VATICAN
    The Holy See promotes a "green economy" to save creation
    The spokesman of the Holy See and the United Nations in New York, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, expresses the sensitivity of the Vatican on environmental questions and the need to promote lifestyles that respect the environment.

    23/09/2007 VATICAN
    Pope: Convert the logic of profit to respond to famine and ecological emergencies
    Benedict XVI highlights the Church social doctrine: money, in itself is not dishonest, but it must be used also for the poorest. Even a just profit must be corrected by the logic of solidarity. Support for an illiteracy campaign and a special greeting to teachers and pupils at the opening of the school year.

    06/01/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: Epiphany, Christ the Light for all peoples, hope for a “just and united world”
    In mass marking the solemnity of the adoration of the Infant Jesus, Benedict XVI asks the world to recognise Christ as the source of hope, who cancels the “curse” of the division of Babel. Brotherhood among peoples is born in Him, and a globalisation capable of sharing all of the earths resources, a globalisation impressed with “moderation” and “sobriety”.

    11/08/2007 PHILIPPINES - ASIA
    In Asia 15% of the population survives on less than one dollar a day
    Despite economic growth in some areas of the continent, poverty levels remain high. The Asian Bank demands “new strategies” for development and a more equitable wealth distribution, as well as sanctioning 800 million dollars for development programmes.

    26/09/2008 VATICAN
    For the Holy See world needs to globalise solidarity
    In his address to the UN General Assembly, Mgr Migliore expresses concern that the world’ economic crisis might negatively affect development aid. He highlights the relationship between development and human rights.

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