.- Speaking to the annual meeting of the High Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said that, "the dignity of the person is what gives work and development their true value."
Portions of the Archbishop’s speech, which he gave Wednesday in Geneva, were made public by the Vatican Information Service today. Archbishop Tomasi serves as the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and International Institutions in Geneva.
The Archbishop told the group, who is meeting to consider ways of, "creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development," that the Holy See delegation fully endorses, "the goal of equitable development regularly pursued by the Economic and Social Council," because it "highlights the central place of the human person, the value of human work, and this indicates the way to overcome chronic poverty and marginality."
The outcome of the High Level Segment meetings is generally a united effort on the part of nations to work towards economic and social equality in one particular area of focus. In 2003, for instance the High Level Segment implemented a plan for rural development, which promotes a public and private alliance to encourage economic and social advancement. This UN Alliance has initially had an impact on rural development in Madagascar.
Archbishop Tomasi warned that worldwide unemployment problems risk provoking “disorderly behavior and, surely, a less secure world.” In this context, he recalled the words of Pope Paul VI in 1967: "Development is the new name of peace."
"Local involvement can propel the economy forward," said the archbishop. "Step by step poverty is reduced, emigration becomes an option instead of a necessity, social standards begin to develop, people are lifted out of a vicious circle of misery. ... Assistance for capacity building will have to be adapted to the level of development of each country. In this way, a waste of resources will be avoided. Donors will see their solidarity fruitful for the receiving countries and, in the long run, also for themselves."
He went on: "In our present interconnectedness, to the necessity of preparing products for the global market corresponds the responsibility to help the people of the least developed societies to have the training and the know-how that allow them a fair chance to compete."
"When the process of transformation of society takes hold, decent work contributes another important dimension, that of a sense of future ... and self-respect. ...Children are not forced to work and instead can accede to education, the values of organization and participation are learned."
The Archbishop also spoke briefly about the World Trade Organization talks, known as the “Doha Round,” which are also taking place in Geneva this week and which are in serious danger of failure. "If the Doha trade round negotiations fail to conclude with some positive agreements," Archbishop Tomasi concluded, "the world's poor and hungry will pay most of the price and the chance for their growth, their development and for decent work will vanish for a long time. The courage and political imagination to make the necessary compromises can lead instead to a renewal of common action and show a concrete commitment to the elimination of global poverty which is still a scandal and a threat to peace and security."