INTERVENTION OF THE HOLY SEE TO THE U.N.
AT THE 69th SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SECOND COMMITTEE, AGENDA ITEM 23
"ERADICATION OF POVERTY"
H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Thursday, 23 October 2014
As we come closer to the completion of the Second United Nations Decade for
the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), my delegation believes that bold
commitments like the Millennium Development Goals, the new Sustainable
Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda are important tools to
shape development strategies, marshal resources, coordinate efforts, monitor
implementation and measure results.
My delegation believes that countries should develop evidence-based policies
and strategies to combat extreme poverty, rather than relying on pre-conceived
one-size-fits- all solutions. Analyses and suggested solutions need to be based
on on-the-ground expertise and lived experience, rather than on imposed
ready-made solutions from the outside, which are not always devoid of
In other words, my delegation believes that our fight to eradicate extreme
poverty should be inspired and guided by ground-based policies rather than
ideology, by inclusion rather than exclusion, by solidarity rather than survival
of the fittest. We have to question economic models that heighten exclusion and
inequality, in particular those that cause an exponentially growing gap between
the haves and the have-nots, those that exclude and marginalize masses of people
without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape from poverty
(cf. Pope Francis,
Evangelii Gaudium n.53).
My delegation believes that sustainable development requires the
participation of all in the life of families, communities, organizations and
societies. Participation is the antidote to exclusion, be it economic, social,
political or cultural. Structures and practices that exclude and leave behind
members of the human family will always be barriers to full human development.
The ever-increasing economic inequality excludes and leaves behind large
segments of populations, because the affluent become more affluent by gaining
most of the development benefits. Concrete cases of poverty, especially extreme
poverty, tell us that the rising tide does not always lift all boats; often it
only lifts the yachts, keeps a few boats afloat, sweeps away many and sinks the
rest. This cannot be the path to a life of dignity for all. This is not the
future we want.
Another barrier to sustainable development is the exclusion of women from
equal and active participation in the development of their communities.
Excluding women and girls from education and subjecting them to violence and
discrimination violate their inherent dignity and fundamental human rights.
Reports show that, in many parts of the world, women and children form the
majority of the poor and are affected by the burden of poverty in very specific
ways. Poverty often compounds an already unacceptable gap between men and women,
between boys and girls in terms of access to basic services and education and in
terms of the exercise of basic human rights. The Holy See commends those
countries where significant progress has been achieved in these areas, and
respectfully invites those where this problem is not yet effectively addressed
to do so as a matter of urgency.
My delegation wishes to highlight that poverty is not mere exclusion from
economic development; it is as multifaceted and multidimensional as the human
person himself or herself. Other than its more obvious economic expression,
poverty also manifests itself in the educational, social, political, cultural
and spiritual dimensions of life. Individuals and communities experience these
dimensions of poverty when they are excluded from or deprived of the social,
cultural, political and spiritual benefits that should be accessible to all.
While economic exclusion underpins in a large measure these other forms of
exclusion and poverty, we cannot equate poverty with economic poverty alone,
lest we fail to grasp the complexity of the realities of poverty and human
development. We must thus resist the temptation to reduce poverty eradication to
merely increasing the amount of money a day a person lives on. Development is
more than the sum total of resources invested into development projects and
their measurable material results; it includes as well those elements that,
though at times intangible and imperceptible, also truly contribute to
life-transforming and greater human flourishing.
In our efforts to eradicate poverty, we must always return to the
foundational principle of our efforts, namely to promote the authentic
development of the whole person and of all peoples. Each of us needs to
contribute. Each of us can benefit. This is solidarity.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.