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UNESCO: The Holy See Supports Actions in Favor of the Ocean
Intervention in the Exact and Natural Sciences Commission

The Holy See “wishes to express very especially its appreciation and encouragement for UNESCO’s work in regard to the oceans. This ‘common patrimony of humanity’ must be administered in a harmonious, respectful and sustainable way,” said Tebaldo Vinciguerra, official of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, who intervened in the Exact and Natural Sciences Commission during the 39th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference on November 6, 2017.

The Holy See’s representative invited to adopt an “integral” vision in regard to the question of the oceans, which encompasses “the migratory question and that of the trafficking of persons; the life and well-being of communities and families that depend on the oceans or that live along the coasts, especially coasts  threatened by the sea level rise, police cooperation geared to impeding illegal trafficking and polluting criminal activities; the management of the stock of fish resources and of other resources that come from the oceans; the degradation of the oceans and the loss of biodiversity; the formulation of responsible tourism and of less polluting transport; scientific research and its numerous fruits <and> access to the sea for the poorest countries.”

 

The Holy See’s Intervention in the Exact and Natural Sciences Commission

 During this Session, the Holy See wished to express very especially its appreciation and encouragement for UNESCO’s works regarding the oceans. This “common patrimony of humanity” must be administered in a harmonious, respectful and sustainable way.

Let us adopt an “integral” vision: the migratory question and that of the trafficking of persons; the life and well-being of communities and families that depend on the oceans or that live along the coasts, especially the coasts threatened by the sea level rise; police cooperation geared to impeding illegal trafficking and polluting criminal activities; the management of the stock of fish resources and other resources that come from the oceans; the degradation of the oceans  and the loss of biodiversity; the formulation of responsible tourism  and of less polluting transport; scientific research and its numerous fruits <and> access to the sea for the poorest countries. The seas and the oceans are also an important source of inspiration in the artistic and literary realm. Therefore, it is opportune that the International Decade of Oceanology contributes to better understanding and governance, in subsidiarity, of the oceans.

The Holy See, one of whose Dicasteries organized an International Conference precisely on the oceans (at Rome in July) will follow with interest the unfolding of the Decade. Moreover, the Holy See takes up again the invitation to “mobilize the whole gamut of sciences to have durable development progress and to highlight the complex and inter-connected global challenges in a trans-disciplinary way” (Strategic Objective 4 – Great Program II). The interdisciplinary action and interconnection must permit States to work for a real improvement of persons’ life, and it’s in a perspective that doesn’t represent economic or technical bearings.  They must also contribute to the refinement and generalization of the mechanisms that discipline the exploitation of natural resources, so that the feasibility studies and the preliminary steps, in view of a project of exploitation or of a new law, take due consideration of all the possible repercussions regarding the population, its environment, its health, its culture, and its social and economic organization.

Finally, it’s necessary to keep in mind that genuine religious values offer a healthy motivation for change, <and> for perseverance, to take better care of the Earth, our “common home,” as well as of our brothers and of our sisters. Therefore, the scientific and educational institutions will be able to collaborate fruitfully with the entities and representatives of the Catholic Church in all the countries where she carries out her activity, but also with other religions wherever that is pertinent. Let us not forget that a large majority of humanity professes a faith, and that cosmologies habitually present nature as a gift that is transmitted to us, a gift that we must treat with respect and gratitude in order to leave it in turn as inheritance to our children.

Thank you.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester