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Vatican Calls for 'ecological conversion' at Johannesburg Summit

The Vatican has urged "ecological conversion" at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, saying this requires putting the human person at the centre of development and protection of the environment.

Archbishop Renato R. Martino, head of the Vatican delegation to the UN summit in South Africa, made that proposal on Monday when he addressed the assembly.

The archbishop, whose address was distributed by the Vatican Press Office, backed the first principle of the declaration of the 1992 Rio de Janeiro conference held on this topic.

"Human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development," he said. "They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature."

"Placing human well-being at the centre of concern for the environment is actually the surest way of safeguarding creation," added Archbishop Martino. He said the Vatican takes a position, not on technical points, but on the values that "inspire actions and decisions regarding sustainable development."

"Development is first and foremost a question of people. It must be recognised that juridical, economic and technical measures are not sufficient to solve the problems that hamper sustainable development," the archbishop emphasized.

"Many of these problems are issues of an ethical and moral nature, which call for a profound change in modern civilization's typical patterns of consumption and production, particularly in the industrialized countries," the head of the Vatican delegation added.

World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002


5 Sep 2002