Integral Human Development – Transforming Our World: the Holy See and the 2030 Agenda:

Yesterday, 18 of May 2017, took place an event in the UN about the view of the Holly See of the Agenda 2030.

The event was introduced and moderated by the Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See in the UN, Archbishop Ivan Jurkoviç. Archbishop Jurkoviç recalled the message of Pope Paul VI to the General Assembly of the United Nations and the will of the Holly see to work together with the objectives of the UN. As Paul VI said “Your Charter goes further, and our message moves ahead with it.”

After the message of Archbishop Jurkoviç, there was a message from the Director General of the United Nations at Geneva. Michael Moeller underlined the timeless message of Pope Francis of “being compassionate”. He mentioned the important role of religion to face nowadays challenges, especially those of the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030. He referred the convergence of aims of the UN with the Catholic Church when it comes to target those most in need. Moeller was glad to see that Pope Francis saw the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 as a sign of hope in a world of fragmentation and he stressed that this process involves the Catholic Church at all stages. Finally Moeller remarked the harmony between the Pope Encyclical Letter Laudatio Si’.

The third speaker was Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the UNCTAD. He emphasized that the 2030 Agenda reinforce the mission and work on the UNCTAD, especially when it mentions the importance of inclusion. New challenges have appeared the last years – Migrants, Climate Change…- and new solutions need to be found. On this regard, Kituyi mentioned the importance of public-private partnerships in multiple fields.

The biggest intervention was done by the keynote speaker Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Holy See Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. For Cardinal Turkson sustainable development is the best way to realize inclusive prosperity. In line with what Pope Francis has said during his intervention at the General Assembly of the UN he urged to put an end to the world poverty. This challenge is especially important considering that the widen gap between the first world and the third world. The conditions of the poorest have further deteriorated. Part of the problem as he said is the individualistic ideology of economy that is anchored on the selfishness of the human being.

These problems require a comprehensive solution, as the 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 agenda. The Holy See welcomes this approach and is happy to observe that this agenda is fully consistent with the recognition that all human beings have a common dignity. This idea of common dignity facilitates the comprehension of the common good, which is not an abstract collective thing, but a conception of good conceived for the needs of each individual, as well as their communities and groups. Although human beings are autonomous, we cannot forget two essential features: its dignity and that they are created for coexistence.  With the 2030 Agenda the International Community has considered this comprehensive dimension of the human being, and has decided to ground this document with solidarity instead of egoism.

On this comprehensive vision of the 2030 Agenda the role of religion cannot be neglected. This is way Cardinal Turkson stressed the important role of freedom of religion shaping the way we interact with our neighbors. Moreover, interreligious dialogue plays an essential role on this regard, and it must be a priority for the succees of the 2030 Agenda. Although, it is not only the lack of finance that is causing our problems, but the lack of peace and dialogue. Pope Francis has stressed this point multiple times.

Finally Cardinal Turkson, mentioned that in order to achieve this change of paradigm, to move beyond egoism to solidarity and to stop our indifference to the marginalized the Holly See has done some organizational changes. Pope Francis has merged four existing Pontifical Councils (Cor Unum, Justice & Peace, Migrants & Itinerant People and Health Care Workers), into the new Dicastery for Promoting integral Human Development, which is called to promote the integral development of each and all persons in the light of the Gospel.

After the intervention of Cardinal Turkson there was the response of the Panellists. Among them, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of RED Cross, who underlined the role of peace as a cornerstone for the SDGs and stressed the importance of public –private partnerships to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda. Also it was interesting to hear Pasquale Lupoli, Senior Regional Adviser for the Europe and Central Asia International Organisation for Migration, who urged about not neglecting the important role of the SDG for migrants problems, a group that haven’t stopped growing in the last 30 years.

Ignasi Grau

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