Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Speech by Archbishop Migliore at UN on Urbanization


VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2008 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, delivered an address on 9 April before the 41st session of the Economic and Social Council's Commission on Population and Development.
Speaking English, Archbishop Migliore said that "migration and the urbanisation of societies should not be purely measured in terms of their economic impact. In finding ways to address the serious challenges posed by massive internal and trans-national migrations, let us not forget that at the heart of this phenomenon is the human person".

"New environmental, social and economic problems emerge with the birth of mega cities", he said. "But one of the most pressing and painful consequences of rapid urbanisation is the increasing number of people living in urban slums. As recently as 2005 over 840 million people around the world lived in such conditions".

Such people, he warned, "become trapped in a vicious cycle of extreme poverty and marginalisation. ... They feel powerless to demand even the most basic public services" and "policy makers and civil society actors must put these people and their concerns among the priorities in their decision-making".

"If", Archbishop Migliore concluded "we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, greater concern must be given to those communities, in which approximately 675 million still lack access to safe drinking water and two billion live without access to basic sanitation. National and international policies would do well to ensure that rural communities have access to higher quality and more accessible social services".

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