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Pope's speech to the UN next September to focus on sustainable development

by Carlo Marroni

In September, Pope Francis will address the UN General Assembly, and it is most likely that the issues he will tackle will share the common denominator of sustainable development.

On a similar there, his June encyclical is expected to broach the topic of ecology, a theme which is already making American neoconservatives fret, as they see the Pope's endeavor as a relativistic drift. It will be the first in his pontificate bearing his signature alone, since the previous one was shared with Benedict XVI.

But certainly - as stated in the latest issue of Civiltà Cattolica, the prestigious Italian Jesuit magazine edited by Father Spadaro - the Pope will give voice “to the billion people who live on less than $1.25 a day, and to the 56 million who were displaced by war.”

This year is bound to be an exceptional year with respect to climate and development, and Bergoglio's Roman Catholic Church wants to give a strong signal. The Pope already said that “This economy kills,” to use the title of a book by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi recently out in bookstores.

The urgency of a new agenda on development also entered the meeting places of the planet's elite: in Davos, NGO Oxfam reiterated that half of the planet's wealth is owned by the richest 1%. Furthermore, the income of the 85 richest people equals that of half the world's population.