Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
69th Session of the General Assembly
Second Committee, Agenda Item 23 (a-c): Eradication of poverty
New York, 23 October 2014
Sustainable development requires the participation of all in the life of families, communities, organizations and societies. Participation is the antidote to exclusion, be it economic, social, political or cultural. Structures and practices that exclude and leave behind members of the human family will always be barriers to full human development. The ever-increasing economic inequality excludes and leaves behind large segments of populations, because the affluent become more affluent by gaining most of the development benefits. Concrete cases of poverty, especially extreme poverty, tell us that the rising tide does not always lift all boats; often it only lifts the yachts, keeps a few boats afloat, sweeps away many and sinks the rest. This cannot be the path to a life of dignity for all. This is not the future we want.
Another barrier to sustainable development is the exclusion of women from equal and active participation in the development of their communities. Excluding women and girls from education and subjecting them to violence and discrimination violate their inherent dignity and fundamental human rights. Reports show that, in many parts of the world, women and children form the majority of the poor and are affected by the burden of poverty in very specific ways. Poverty often compounds an already unacceptable gap between men and women, between boys and girls in terms of access to basic services and education and in terms of the exercise of basic human rights. The Holy See commends those countries where significant progress has been achieved in these areas, and respectfully invites those where this problem is not yet effectively addressed to do so as a matter of urgency.