INTERVENTION BY THE HOLY SEE
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 53rd SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
H.E. ARCHBISHOP BERNARDITO AUZA,
APOSTOLIC NUNCIO AND
OBSERVER OF THE HOLY SEE TO THE UN
AND TO THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Agenda Item 3 (a):
Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world
At the outset, allow me to congratulate Your Excellency and the bureau on your
elections. My Delegation looks forward to working with other delegations during
this policy cycle to redouble our efforts to assist those living in all forms of
poverty around the world.
Though economic growth has slowed in recent years, millions continue to be
lifted out of poverty, particularly in the developing world. My delegation,
however, shares the concern of the Secretary General in his recent report and
recognizes that economic growth, which has led to new challenges, has not
benefited everyone in society equally. Significant inequalities remain and many
of the most vulnerable groups in society have been left behind. Without
addressing these inequalities, especially as we transition into the post 2015
development agenda, we risk undermining the impact of economic growth on poverty
and on the well-being of society as a whole.
To be sustainable and beneficial for all, social development must be ethical,
moral and person-centered. Here again, we echo the Secretary General’s
report when we emphasize that economic growth is not a sufficient indicator of
social development. Rather, we must be attentive to those indicators that give a
complete picture of the wellbeing of every individual in society while promoting
policies that encourage a truly integral approach to the development of the
human person as a whole.
In this regard, for example, it is not enough to have gainful employment. Work
must also be dignified and secure. Investments in education, access to basic
health-care services, and the creation of social safety nets are primary, not
secondary factors to improving a person’s quality of life, and ensuring the
equitable distribution of wealth and resources in society. By placing the human
person at the center of development and encouraging investments and policies
that meet real needs, the progress made toward eradicating poverty remains
permanent and society more resilient in the face of potential crises.
The market economy does not exist to serve itself, but rather to serve the
common good of all of society. With this in mind, we must pay particular
attention to the welfare of the most vulnerable among us since they are often
overlooked in the name of greater productivity, efficiency and general economic
growth. Social development cannot be a “one-size-fits-all”
approach; thus universal policies and programs must be reinforced by a more
targeted approach that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable.
As Pope Francis has reminded us time and time again, “Our faith in Christ, who
became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of
our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members…
[This] means working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to
promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of
solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter.”
The authentic integral development of the person and the eradication of poverty
are achievable only by focusing on the tremendous value of the family to
society, where every human being receives his or her primary education and most
formative development. The family is society’s most natural social safety net,
sharing resources for the benefit of the entire family unit and offering
intergenerational support. In the family, we learn to love and to contribute
without pay and, unlike in the global economy, every individual person
has a place.
In conclusion, my Delegation believes that we need to embark on a strategic
approach towards poverty eradication based on true social justice in order to
help reduce the suffering of millions of our brothers and sisters. It is our
firm conviction that social development policies must address not only the
economic and political needs, but also the spiritual and ethical dimension of
each human person. In this manner, every individual in the society can be free
from all forms of poverty, both material and spiritual.
Thank you, Madam Chair.