“Promoting economic progress and security in the OSCE area through innovation, human capital development, and good public and corporate governance,” according to Msgr. Janusz S. Urbańczyk, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
His comments came at the 1st Preparatory Meeting of the 26th Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF) of the OSCE, Vienna, January 22-23, 2018.
In his statement, the monsignor stressed a common theme of the Holy See that development must not only be to create wealth but to benefit the human person. He said neglect of the human person “is not only harmful to society itself but above all contradicts the inherent human dignity of every person.”
“Solid and lasting economic growth demands responsibility,” he continued. “Without good public and corporate governance, economic activity is easily corrupted.”
Here is the Monsignor’s Statement provided by the Holy See
Statement by Rev. Msgr. Janusz S. Urbańczyk, at the 1st Preparatory Meeting of the 26th Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Vienna 22 – 23 January 2018.
“Promoting economic progress and security in the OSCE area through innovation, human capital development, and good public and corporate governance”
Vienna, 22-23 January 2018
The Holy See is pleased to join previous speakers in thanking the Italian OSCE Chairmanship and the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities for organizing this First Preparatory Meeting of the 26th Economic and Environmental Forum, focusing on innovation, human capital development, and good public and corporate governance.
Allow me at this time to offer some considerations on the topics of this meeting.
Human capital development
The Holy See has on numerous occasions affirmed that “the subject and the goal of all social institutions [– therefore also the economy –] is and must be the human person which for its part and by its very nature stands completely in need of social life”.1 An approach to economic life, production and work that seeks only wealth and that reduces men and women to instrumentalized parts in a “perverse mechanism that grinds resources in order to obtain ever increasing profits”2 is not only harmful to society itself but above all contradicts the inherent human dignity of every person.
It is in this light that my Delegation would understand “human capital development”: seeking to advance economic growth and integration through an approach to men and women in the workplace that recognizes, on the one hand, their inherent dignity and their important contribution to economic life, and, on the other, the potential for economic success that lies in the considered, honest and just use and development of the aptly-named “human resources”.3
Human capital development also means supporting concrete acts that place the good of the person at the center of our economic endeavors, increasing the possibilities for young people to enter the work-force, providing all workers with a just and stable wage, ensuring equal pay for equal work – notably for women, taking advantage of the gifts and resources of all workers and building on these. In the context of an ever more digitalized economy, with its new business models and a more advanced use of digital technologies, it is important that decisions related to reductions in the workplace be duly and carefully considered: a purely profit-driven decision to downsize the workforce could not be characterized as “development”.
As my Delegation considers this issue and discussions on it as most valuable within the OSCE’s second dimension, it reiterates its appreciation for the attention that will be given to human capital development during this year.
Good public and corporate governance
Solid and lasting economic growth demands responsibility. Without good public and corporate governance, economic activity is easily corrupted. These important notions draw our attention to the roles of business owners and management, which have “a central importance from the viewpoint of society because they are at the heart of that network of technical, commercial, financial and cultural bonds that characterizes the modern business reality. Due to the increasing complexity of business activities, decisions made by companies produce a number of very significant interrelated effects, both in the economic and social spheres. For this reason, the exercise of responsibility by business owners and management requires (…) constant reflection on the moral motivations that should guide the personal choices of those to whom these tasks fall”.4
Whereas sound and just economic growth – including the increased engagement on the part of the economic sector with digital technology – is hampered by the absence of good public and corporate governance, corruption actively damages and destroys such potential for growth. As the Italian Chairmanship has pointed out, corruption “threatens the basis of democracy and security; as well as the stability and competitiveness of the economic system”.5 Pope Francis remains very clear in his condemnation of this seemingly
ineradicable phenomenon, referring to it as “a curse on society, depriving the poor and providing fertile ground for organized crime (…), [the] exploitation of both man and environment”, and which “fosters the growth of special interests and harms the common good”.6
My Delegation takes this opportunity to thank the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Foreign Minister Alfano, for having appointed Professor Paola Severino as his Special Representative on Combating Corruption, and welcomes increased attention on combating corruption within the OSCE region.
In concluding, allow me to assure all participants at this meeting that my Delegation looks forward to these two days of discussions and debate on issues that – once more – highlight the value of the “second basket” of comprehensive security.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman!
1 SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes, 7 December 1965, 25.
2 POPE FRANCIS, Address to the Personnel of the National Institute of Social Security (INPS), 7 November 2015.
3 Cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 301-303.
4 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 344.
5 Programme of the Italian OSCE Chairmanship 2018, p. 2
6 POPE FRANCIS, preface to the book Corrosione by Peter Cardinal Turkson/Vittorio Alberti (Rizzoli, 2017).
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