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Vatican calls for action on poverty

NEW YORK (Zenit.org): The time allotted to reach the Millennium Development Goals is already half over, and the Holy See says many of the problems the goals aim to alleviate are still rampant.

Permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Archbishop Celestino Migliore affirmed this On April 4 in an address delivered to the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.

His statement was given during the debate on “Recognising the Achievements, Addressing the Challenges and Getting Back on Track to Achieve the MDGs by 2015.”

“In the year 2000, in this very hall, heads of state and of government agreed on an ambitious, yet needed, set of global development goals to be achieved by 2015,” the archbishop said.

“At the halfway point, while much has been done toward achieving the goals, abject poverty, hunger, illiteracy and lack of even the most basic health care are still rampant, indeed worsening in some regions.

“Tackling these challenges that continue to afflict hundreds of millions remains, therefore, at the very centre of our concerns.”

Archbishop Migliore lamented that “the overall goal of reducing hunger and poverty has remained elusive”.

“My delegation believes that greater international solidarity is necessary if we are to succeed in narrowing the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor countries and between individuals within countries,” he said.

“While international aid is important, a fairer international trade environment – including addressing market-distorting practices that disadvantage weaker economies – is even more decisive.

“My delegation wishes to assure that the Holy See remains actively engaged in alleviating poverty and hunger, which are an offence against human dignity.”

The archbishop said the Holy See was pleased to note progress toward achieving universal access to primary education, “with some of the poorest regions seeing a dramatic increase in enrolment”.

Still, he noted, there are 58 countries that are at risk of not receiving access by 2015, unless “redoubled efforts” are put forth.

“Education underpins all the MDGs,” Archbishop Migliore said. “It is the most effective tool to empower men and women to achieve greater social, economic and political freedom.”

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