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Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher Tells UN, The Human Person Must be at the Center of Goals
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Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, played a significant role in the recent High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly on September 18-19. This forum focused on revitalizing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their critical importance for the global community.
Photo credit: Adrien Taylor
In his statement, Archbishop Gallagher invoked Pope Francis's 2015 address at the UN General Assembly, where the Pope described the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as "an important sign of hope." However, Pope Francis also cautioned against the risk of becoming complacent with the mere creation of ambitious plans and goals without taking concrete steps to realize them.
Rather than indulging in bureaucratic exercises of listing objectives and statistics, the Pope emphasized the need to nurture and sustain active hope -- a hope that not only inspires but also drives meaningful actions, effecting tangible changes in the world.
Archbishop Gallagher urged UN member states to accelerate their efforts in "shifting the world onto a sustainable and resilient path." He stressed that the SDG Summit should not merely serve as a platform for abstract declarations but should be a catalyst for concrete actions addressing the world's most pressing challenges.
The challenges identified by the Archbishop encompassed a wide spectrum, including war and conflict, poverty and hunger, violence, social exclusion, climate change, environmental degradation, and the deeply concerning 'throwaway culture.' He emphasized the urgent need to combat this pervasive culture, where individuals, especially the poor or disabled, are often devalued and discarded as "not yet useful" (as in the case of the unborn) or "no longer needed" (as seen with the elderly).
For Archbishop Gallagher, the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda hinges on the adoption of a new development model-- one that places the human person at its core, prioritizes the common good, and adheres to ethical principles of justice, solidarity, and shared responsibility.
In his remarks, the Archbishop underscored that the outcome of the UN SDG Summit rests upon the genuine commitment of nations to multilateralism. He implored UN member states to unite their efforts to create a future where the intrinsic dignity of every individual is upheld, where the needs of the poor and vulnerable are met, and where a harmonious relationship with the environment is restored.
As the world grapples with multifaceted challenges, including those exacerbated by the ongoing global pandemic, the message from the Vatican's representative at the UN emphasizes the critical importance of not only setting lofty goals but also translating them into concrete actions that can transform lives and safeguard the planet for future generations.
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