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Keep human person at center of 'sustainable development' plans, Vatican urges

Catholic World News - June 14, 2012

In a position paper submitted for a UN conference on sustainable development, the Vatican has insisted that the human person must be the center of all plans for development.

The paper submitted to the “Rio+20” conference—taking place 20 years after the "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro—says that the world’s people must “discover an art of living together, one which respects that covenant between human beings and nature without which the human family risks dying out.”

The Vatican delegation calls the attention of participants to the first principle of the declaration approved by the Rio conference, that “human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development.” The position paper goes on to say that the principles accepted by the Rio conference provide a guide “for the effective protection of human dignity” in the process of development. These principles include a sense of responsibility, care for the common good, access to primary goods, solidarity, protection of creation, and an acceptance of the “universal destination not only of goods, but also of the fruits of human enterprise.”

The Holy See’s delegation also suggests applying the principle of subsidiarity to questions of development, and stresses the importance of policies that sustain healthy family life.

While supporting “green” approaches to development, the Vatican document cautions against an approach in which international organizations would enforce new standards as conditions for aid, saying that such an approach could become “a latent form of ‘green protectionism.’” The “green” approach should be implement on the local level, the Vatican states.

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