These were the words of Cardinal Peter Turkson, an African, to the UN on the millennium development goals. The Cardinal was sent as a special envoy and shows that he knows his stuff. Extremely well versed and up to date on current issues of the MDG’s, he spoke well on economics and challenged the UN on important issues, while praising others. Some of the highlights:
- Philosophy: Such local ownership constitutes a new phenomenon, which has succeeded, almost spontaneously, in combining the most modern technology with so-called “appropriate” and “intermediate technology” thus giving life to the expression “small is beautiful.” Indeed, this reality was predicted many years ago by economists such as Ernest Friedrich Schumacher, and strongly inspired by the Encyclicals Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII and Mater et Magister of John XXIII (cf. also Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, n. 72).
- Ethics: For all these reasons, any attempt to use the MDGs to spread and impose egoistic lifestyles or, worse still, population policies as a cheap means to reduce the number of poor people, would be malevolent and short-sighted. I say this, not just as a religious leader, but also as an African and a man coming from a poor family. I urge the international community not to be afraid of the poor. MDGs should be used to fight poverty and not to eliminate the poor!… he Holy See reaffirms its conviction that great benefits will accrue to all men and women now living in poverty, only if the MDGs are understood and pursued in harmony with objective moral standards and human nature (cf. Caritas in Veritate, nos. 44, 68- 70 and 75).
- Spirituality: “the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order… he Family of Nations has committed itself to fighting material poverty. This is a key and noble goal to pursue; but in this effort let us never forget that material poverty has partners—relational, emotional, and spiritual poverty. The human person must be at the centre of concern in our quest for development.”