.- On Tuesday, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the 59th General Assembly on behalf of the Catholic Church.
He spoke to informal consultations regarding the Vatican’s stance on a Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The archbishop underlined the Holy See's interest in Recommendation No. 7, namely, that official development assistance, or ODA, should be based on actual needs, rather than assigned targets.
Migliore said that, "many experts concur that extreme poverty and hunger derive in great part from the inequality in the distribution of income on the one hand and in conspicuous over-consumption on the other."
He continued, saying that, "My delegation strongly believes that the entire system of solidarity needs to be reshaped; ODA must be increased, not just spent better; and above all, policies to eradicate poverty must continue to concentrate not only on 'what' or 'how', but firstly on 'who'.”
A clear idea of who the poor are, followed by practical, direct, personal assistance to them through people-centered policies must always be borne in mind."
"The Holy See," Archbishop Migliore told the UN, "is pleased to align itself with delegations which support a social policy which includes distributive justice," adding that such policies should "become the basic yardstick for measuring the quality and pace of development."
With regard to the Practical Plan, he said, "emphasis must continue to be placed on investments to empower poor people, especially women, in ways that respect the individual's will and do not lead to unacceptable conditions being placed on the liberty of those to whom assistance is offered.”
“We are convinced”, he said, “that the MDGs ... can only be achieved if poverty eradication policies are aimed squarely at the poor as persons of equal worth; if serious progress is made in good governance and combating corruption; if financial and trade reform is adequately introduced to make markets work in favor of developing countries; if the long-standing 0.7% GNP (gross national product) pledges are truly honored in justice and solidarity; and if debt is cancelled in all the applicable cases."