VATICAN APPEALS FOR LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United
Nations, appeals that the world needs a surge of solidarity. He
made this plea on Monday September 19 during the high-level meeting
on the midterm comprehensive global review of the implementation
of the program of action for the least developed countries for 2001-2010.
is Archbishop Migliore's address:
both the progress made by least developed countries (LDCs) and the
increased official development assistance (ODA) afforded them by
partners are to be warmly commended, a consensus exists that recent
growth remains extremely vulnerable, since it rests almost entirely
on the exportation of raw materials, especially oil, and has not
yet produced overall progress in the reduction of poverty or in
the improvement of human well-being.
Holy See joins those who point out that this relative and fragile
macroeconomic improvement must not distract from giving serious
consideration to the grave underlying problems as yet unresolved,
nor tempt us to lose sight of their dramatic urgency.
present economic data should also be read in the light of other
grave realities such as war -- which afflicts a significant number
of LDCs -- ecological degradation and desertification, persistent
hunger and child malnutrition and the continuing scourges of AIDS,
malaria, tuberculosis and many other diseases associated with poverty.
the unstoppable flight of masses of people from impoverished regions
toward the more developed areas of the world has brought the grave
problems of the LDCs, once an academic and distant reality, knocking
literally on the doors of the rich countries. This dramatic situation
underlines the need for a genuine global commitment in order to
achieve promptly the goals of Brussels Program of Action (BPoA),
with fresh attention paid to dignified living conditions and productive
work as essential elements.
as well as the pressing moral imperative of economic solidarity
toward poor countries, based on the unity of the human race and
on the equal dignity of all persons, we are faced today with the
urgent task of remedying a situation which, in the absence of solutions
that are effective, just and respectful of human rights, will continue
to cause intolerable damage in the LDCs and inevitably bring about
a state of permanent instability in the social fabric of developed
overall creation of dignified employment is just as important as
the two columns presented in the BPoA: the basic quality of life
and overall political and macroeconomic conditions. All these elements
are inseparable and mutually dependent.
employment can exist only if there is a healthy and educated population.
Likewise, achieving and maintaining a certain quality of life is
the result of a national productivity capable of generating resources
that allow societies and governments to attain this goal. Productivity,
in its turn, is always conditioned by an environment of peace, good
governance and favorable external macroeconomic conditions.
Cotonou Strategy clearly identifies the responsibilities of the
LDCs and the action expected from their development partners. LDC
governments must ensure that all policies are people-centered, implement
measures to eradicate corruption, guarantee transparency and the
rule of law, and enforce policies that will boost the productive
capacity of their countries.
active participation of international partners is indispensable.
This should not be seen as something complementary or as an optional
concession which can be postponed in the face of pressing national
concerns. It is a grave and inexorable moral responsibility, founded
on the unity of the human race, on the common dignity and the shared
destiny of rich and poor alike, drawn ever closer by the process
conditions clearly favorable to LDCs must be maintained where they
exist and created where they do not. Among such conditions are the
opening of developed markets, the provision of quota-free and duty-free
market access to 100% of exportable products from LDCs without further
delay and the elimination of all trade distorting barriers, including
tariff peaks and tariff escalations, high subsidies and other mechanisms
and practices disadvantageous to exports from the LDCs.
must also be made for the rapid, total and unconditional cancellation
of the external debt of the LDCs together with the means that ensure
that the countries do not fall again into unsustainable debt. Developed
countries should recall and implement their obligation to full compliance
with the commitments made in terms of external aid.
massive investment of resources in the research and development
of medicines for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and other tropical
diseases is needed. It could be said that the first and foremost
scientific challenge to the developed countries is the discovery
of a vaccine against malaria. Equally needed is the transfer of
medical and pharmacological technology and health care expertise
with no legal or economic conditions attached. These are just some
of the challenges facing all members of the international community.
of the LDCs meeting in Cotonou rightly recognized that the honesty
of government officials, the vitality of the democratic institutions
and the rule of law are essential elements for fostering people-centered
policies and building human capacity. In this context, the international
community must continue to work for the drastic reduction of the
legal and illegal conventional arms trade, the illegal trade of
precious raw materials and the flight of capital. Citizens of developed
countries who corrupt officials of poor countries or engage in money-laundering
practices should be punished just as if they had committed these
crimes in their country of origin.
is well known, the Catholic Church has undertaken many initiatives
in the last decade with a view to bringing both its own members
and all people of good will to a greater awareness of the shared
responsibility in relation to the problems derived from international
trade and finance.
many of its members, from rich and poor countries alike, associated
in a wide variety of organizations, are engaged in favor of LDCs.
Likewise, through an extensive network of centers of formation and
health care, we give active support on all levels to the efforts
is taking place in education at all levels where future leaders
learn about their respective responsibilities. It is also happening
in a vast range of health care, from the struggle against child
malnutrition to the care of the elderly and the incurable. In this
area our institutions are making extensive and important contributions
in the struggle against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Holy See continues to encourage the international community, especially
the more developed and medium income countries, to support the implementation
of the BPoA, and appeals for a surge of solidarity. The world needs
a surge of solidarity in favor of LDCs. The adoption of the measures
proposed in the Cotonou Strategy may appear costly for developed
countries and their citizens, but they will be less than the social
burden generated in the same countries in the medium term if the
problems facing the LDCs are not resolved.
years ago, public opinion was moved by those who risked their lives
climbing fences that kept them prisoners of dictatorial regimes.
Today, millions risk their lives to escape from the dictatorship
of poverty. Fences will not stop them.
their good and for the prosperity of all of us, developed countries
and LDCs must implement effective policies such as those found in
the BPoA, so that the citizens of LDCs will choose freely to remain
at home, where they can attain, for themselves, their families and
their country, employment and living conditions that can truly be
you, Madam President.