Holy See: New Forms of Poverty Have Appeared


Urges U.N. to Support Social and Economic Policies

NEW YORK, OCT. 9, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The fight to eradicate poverty needs both economic and social policies, since underprivileged sectors lack opportunities to develop networks , the Holy See said at the United Nations.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, affirmed that today at an address before the 62nd U.N. General Assembly.
He lauded the effort to implement the Millennium Development Goals and equity in financial and trade relationships.
Archbishop Migliore noted that debate in past years has "touched on the problems of external debt, the governance of world finance and the emergencies that generate or aggravate poverty, such as wars, corruption, the trafficking of drugs and human beings.
"While this discussion is of utmost importance, it is equally important to reiterate that economic policies cannot be separated from social policies; otherwise, neither one nor the other will reach its respective goal," he added.
The archbishop lamented that "during the last 12 years there has been a clear tendency toward increasing inequality between rich and poor, between developed and developing or underdeveloped countries and within individual nations. Evidently, the greater benefits of global economic growth have not reached, generally speaking, the poorer segments of society."
Weaker sectors
The Holy See official further stated that new forms of poverty have appeared alongside "more traditional ones mainly characterized by wide income differences."
He explained: "The dearth of means among the weaker sectors of society has led to the loss of social relationships and networks needed to maintain personal integrity and dignity. Such is the case of the elderly left on their own, of the uninsured sick people, of the unemployed and the unskilled, of migrants unable to find work, of women and children suffering from family breakdown, of all those in precarious situations.
"Today the world suffers from the unhinging, in greater or lesser degree, of social development from economic progress. Hence the Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action continue to be relevant. They indicate the necessary means to overcome marginalization and to create the conditions for all to benefit from economic development."
Archbishop Migliore asserted that the responsibility for social equity lies primarily with individual governments, but encouraged the international community to establish conditions favorable to the growth of all national economies, while rejecting policies that restrict states from helping less favored people.
Above all, the archbishop encouraged education.
"Education is at the basis of all social policies," he said. "The value of education goes beyond economic development and the satisfaction of one’s basic needs. Education enables individuals and peoples to establish with others relationships founded on mutual respect and friendship and not on coercion.
"An educated society facilitates the fight against corruption that erodes the possibility of economic growth of the poorest. It also helps create a legal framework that leaves ample space to the rights of property and free enterprise, while safeguarding at the same time the full enjoyment of the social and economic rights of all without exception."
Archbishop Migliore concluded, "The eradication of poverty and the full enjoyment of the basic social rights by all must therefore be goals enshrined in all economic and development policies, and be measures of their success or failure."

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