The Holy See
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Tuesday, 22 September 2009   


Mr. President,

1. The current financial crisis is showing the degree of global interdependence of national economies. It risks also to jeopardize the efforts of the international community to meet the Millennium and other development goals in many countries. Moreover, it could bring about a reduction of the public and private funding of national social safety nets and undermine thereby the enjoyment of human rights not only by the poorest and weakest segments of the population, but also by other groups negatively affected by the crisis. A key factor to mitigate the adverse effects of the crisis, we believe, is placing the human person at the center of economic and social policies at the international and national levels.

2. The Holy See Delegation views the current debate on the right to development within this Council and its mechanisms as an opportune occasion to strengthen the international commitment on the operationalization of this right and to transform this political willingness into concrete action. Achieving development is not only a matter of eliminating material poverty, but also of principles and values guiding economies and societies in all countries irrespective of their per-capita income level. Furthermore, risks of a deterioration of the economic and social situation are present in most countries, including in high-income countries, due to the rising number of the population suffering new forms of poverty, social exclusion and marginalization. Needless to say, these economic and social inter-country inequalities risk to be significantly increased by the financial crisis. For these reasons, my Delegation notes with interest the work that is being accomplished by the Task Force aiming at creating a list of right-to-development criteria and operational sub-criteria around three main components: human-centred development, an enabling environment, and social justice and equity. We believe that a global agreement on these criteria could constitute a fundamental step not only towards the operationalization of the 1986 Declaration, but also in the direction of the systematic consideration of the human person and its inherent rights and dignity in the elaboration of development policies at all levels.

3. In the context of the development process, the human person is not only a receiver of aid but also the real actor of his or her integral development and of the relations among peoples and persons. As restated in the recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate: "Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life" (25). We support the Task Force ‘s approach of a comprehensive human-centred development that implies the indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights as well as the relevance, not only of development outcomes, but also of the development realization process and of its sustainability. My delegation believes also that the cultural component of the right to development defined in the 1986 Declaration cannot be complete without including the ethical and spiritual dimensions of the person. These qualitative dimensions should be reflected among the human-centred criteria of this right that are being elaborated by the Task Force.

4. The Task Force view of the duty of States to create, individually and collectively, an enabling environment for the realization of the right to development should be endorsed. States therefore are called to remove obstacles to development due to the violation of human rights and the international community to support the development process, especially in the poorest countries. In this context the principle of subsidiarity is particularly relevant. Solidarity and subsidiarity can be viewed as complementary. While the former relates to the mobilization of financial and human resources for development, the latter helps to identify the most appropriate level of decision-making and intervention. The principle of subsidiarity can therefore be seen as a cross-cutting criterion for the creation of the enabling environment to the right to development. It allows the participation of the beneficiaries of aid in the process of development through the responsible use of their freedom and talents.

5. Finally, we support the adoption of criteria of social justice and equity that imply moral imperatives prompting action for the protection of human rights and for an equitable sharing of benefits from development, including, among others, access to food, housing education, health and employment. We follow with interest as well the overall work of the Task Force and Working Group aiming at identifying operational right-to-development criteria and dialoguing with existing poverty reduction, debt transfer, technology transfer and other global partnerships. We believe that such work is laying the ground work for States and the international community to concretely reduce economic and social disparities, too often a cause of violations of human dignity and human rights.