The Holy See
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(15 MARCH - 23 APRIL 2004, GENEVE)


Wednesday, 24 March 2004


Mr. Chairman,

1. The pace of change has accelerated in a very tangible and visible way in recent years. Technology advances and the interconnectedness that economic processes and information have brought about demand difficult adjustments for the world of work and for political systems. New and serious venues are needed to assess the impact of globalization especially on the poorer and more vulnerable members of societies.

The Delegation of the Holy See views the current discussion on the Right to Development as a specially important and timely dialogue within the United Nations at this time when the gap between incomes in the richest and poorest countries seems widening. Globalization has allowed the emergence of a true planetary conscience more sensitive to injustice, to poverty, to discrimination, to degradation of the environment, and with greater expectations that a convergence of efforts will remedy these shortcomings. A positive result of the many debates on development has highlighted the fact that a synergy is required between economic growth, that adds to the material wellbeing of society and of individuals, and the growth of the whole person and her/his human rights.

2. The Right to Development connects and animates the promotion and protection of the two interdependent Covenants of human rights that serve as lungs providing oxygen for the flourishing of civil society. Civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights are mutually reinforcing and development is the fruit of their implementation.

The Declaration on the Right to Development adopted by the General Assembly in 1986 is unique among other international human rights standards in that it identifies the individual person as the focus and beneficiary of the right, with the State as the primary duty bearer. At the same time, it makes an explicit connection between this right and the obligation for international cooperation to assist individual States in their duties as the primary promoter and protector of the individual's right to development. If globalization makes the single State less autonomous it imposes greater responsability on the international community to help it in securing the right to development. In this global partnership, resources allocation plays a crucial role and their priority should be directed to enhance the the creativity of individuals, women and men, so that they remain the real protagonists of any development. Unfortunately, writes Pope John Paul II, "many people, perhaps the majority today, do not have the means which would enable them to take their place in an effective and humanly dignified way within a productive system in which work is truly essential. They have no possibility of acquiring the basic knowledge which would enable them to express their creativity and develop their putential". (Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, n. 34) The indispensable convergence of human rights and economic policies becomes self-evident.

3. The interdependence of rights and responsibilities among the individual, family, State and international community is a frequent theme in the social teaching of the Holy See and this interdependence is quickly becoming part of most discussions about the impact of globalization. However, we believe that States have the primary responsibility to promote, protect and implement the Right to Development. The complementarity of different stakeholders proves effective and productive when subsidiarity is respcted and the same goal is pursued of social inclusion development of personal capabilities. Thus, in dealing with the international system of governance, States, including the poorest, should be permitted rightful access to the decision-making procedures of organizations and institutions which affect their future.

4. It is to bo expected that with its wide and novel scope, discussion about the Right to Development will be a difficult challenge to the United Nations community. However, the last Working Group has offered a hopeful indication that future RTD discussions can be more concrete by involving States, the U.N. Agencies, the International Financial, Trade, and Development Institutions, and representatives of civil society.

Mr. Chairman, future discussions about RTD within the proposed Task Force and within the Working Group could provide valuable opportunities for us to learn from the experience of various segments of society while working through a convergence of opinions that could lead to a more effective promotion of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights that protect each person's and each country's right to development, that is one fraemework of integral development.