Family, education and work are central to economic development, the Vatican's representative to the United Nations told an assembly preparing sustainable development goals.
“As the fundamental unit of society, the family provides the first lessons of interpersonal relationships, transmits cultural, ethical, social and spiritual values as well as many of the skills which serve to promote the common good of the society,” Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt, apostolic nuncio to the United Nations, said to the organization June 18.
“It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that policy-makers respect and promote this fundamental role of the family.”
“Work, education, the family – these three – cannot (but) be spoken of severally, if not also jointly: they are interrelated and interdependent,” the archbishop explained, saying each element is necessary for the others.
Archbishop Chullikatt is the official representative of the Vatican City State at the United Nations and is the Holy See's permanent observer at the international group.
The archbishop offered his statements at the fourth meeting of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, which will help to form worldwide development goals.
The archbishop stressed the place of education in world development, saying that it “is the point upon which these discussions must begin; for without education young people lack the knowledge necessary for adulthood, adults lack the skills needed to adapt to changing work environments, and the wisdom of our older persons is not passed from generation to generation.”
While education provides the knowledge and skills necessary for contributing to society, work is a fundamental right of all human beings, he said.
This right is inherently linked to human dignity and provides for the needs of the individual and their families and is thus, by its very nature, essential to integral human development and the common good of the human family.
He stressed the role of the family in education, saying noting that “the family plays an essential role” in the passing on of knowledge to children.
“As the fundamental unit of society, the family provides the first lessons of interpersonal relationships, transmits cultural, ethical, social and spiritual values as well as many of the skills which serve to promote the common good of the society. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that policy-makers respect and promote this fundamental role of the family.”
He also commented on the role families play in supporting educational institutions, saying that these institutions “play a vital role in providing the integral training necessary for young people and those looking to improve their knowledge and skills.”
Archbishop Chullikatt also noted the necessity of providing “decent work” to individuals, noting that a longstanding unemployment “is a social injustice undermining freedom and stifling human creativity. It is a cause of great suffering for society in our time.”
The archbishop also commented that the provision of decent work “requires adopting social protections to ensure that respect for the rights of the employed is maintained.”
He specifically highlighted the need to protect children against child labor, “a real form of slavery which gives rise to mistreatment, exploitation and discrimination of over 10 million children worldwide.”
“Juridical and social protection systems must recognize and respect the rights of all workers: to a just wage, to a decent life and subsistence, to rest, to a safe working environment, to personal conscience and moral integrity, to their pensions, to unemployment support, to social security for maternity, to the right to assemble and to form associations,” Archbishop Chullikatt advised.
“International cooperation is imperative, therefore, if we are to halt this exploitation of the poor by upholding a living wage for all so that they too may enjoy a life befitting their human dignity.”