UNCTAD welcomes Vatican call for people to be at the heart of economic life

(UNCTAD) UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi was among signatories to a statement released by the Vatican on 21 July calling for reforms of the international economic and financial system to “put people and their wellbeing at the centre of economic and political life”.

The result of a two-day seminar on “The Global Common Good: Towards a More Inclusive Economy” held in the Vatican on 11-12 July, the statement was undersigned by Dr. Kituyi and more than sixty high-level participants of the event, which was convened by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the request of His Holiness Pope Francis.

As a result of globalization, the statement reads, “many people experience a severe loss of value and morals in political and economic life, and furthermore, the means and instruments of our economy, such as money, are accorded more importance than the proper end or goal of that same economy, that is, sustaining a good life for the human community. Similarly, human beings are frequently treated as means to an economic end, and not as the reason why economic activity take place at all.”

To combat this, the statement endorsed a number of actions aimed at achieving a more inclusive economy including the adoption of ambitious Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, confronting the “too-big-to-fail” problem in the international banking system, the creation of banks for the poor, the fight against structural unemployment, and supporting UN and civil society initiatives to combat corruption, among other scourges.

Co-signatories included Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) José Ángel Gurría, former Director-General of World Trade Organization (WTO) Pascal Lamy, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning Amina Mohammed, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus. [More]