Message to the UN Sustainable Development Summit
New York, September 25, 2015.
It is with great satisfaction that I greet the signatories of the challenging proposal entitled “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” who are gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 25 to 27 September. It is a remarkable moment in History, when world leaders will officially adopt the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets, which are the result of an advancement in international cooperation in relation to measures that can guarantee our future as a planet and as Humanity.
The Legion of Good Will (LGW), which became associated with the United Nations in 1994 as a member of its Department of Public Information (DPI) and has had general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1999, is honored to be able to once again contribute to this memorable step of renewed partnership between nations. It is also proud of the good results coming from the work it has carried out jointly with the UN over these decades. In the same way that we were together in promoting the Eight Millennium Goals, we reaffirm our commitment in yet another effort, as we lend our humble support in favor of a better future for all people. It is our heartfelt wish to see progress shared with everyone, because allied with sustainable development we believe that solidary development must, above all, enlighten the actions of the citizens—from the highest to the lowest—who live on our collective home.
As I said to Paulo Parisi Rappoccio, Italian journalist living in Brazil, in an interview on October 18, 1981, Solidarity has expanded itself from the luminous field of ethics presenting itself as a strategy, so that human beings may achieve and guarantee their own survival. To combat the globalization of poverty, we counterpose the globalization of Fraternity, which spiritualizes and ennobles the Economy and disciplines it in a solidary way, as a strong instrument for reacting to the pseudofatalism of poverty.
Therefore, it is essential to converge all the tools available towards Ecumenical Solidarity and to share them, so that the transition to full sustainable development can be fostered with the utmost urgency. When these instruments that aim for the common good are combined, through the authentic meaning of Fraternal Love and Justice, which distinguishes us from wild animals, we shall be able to put an end to the horrors that still persist in the world. In addition to overcoming all social ills, however long the struggle lasts, it is our duty to build together in unity a new development model that effectively preserves life on this planet.
The Legion of Good Will, founded almost 66 years ago by Alziro Zarur (1914-1979), has been waging a daily battle against hunger and social inequality in favor of sustainability and education with Ecumenical Spirituality, never forgetting to undertake the Herculean struggle against the lack of solidarity, fraternity, mercy, generosity, altruism, and justice; consequently, the aridity of the Spirit and the heart. The absence of these values directly hinder the favorable outcome of any attempt at a beneficial transformation on Earth. For this reason, it is more than current time to remember the millennial rule taught to us by the philosopher, religious and social activist Jesus, when He offered us these Words of Peace: “Love one another as I have loved you. . . . There is no greater Love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (The Gospel according to John 13:34 and 15:13)
As the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary, our wishes are for the complete success of this notable Sustainable Development Summit. Our final message is that the sentiment of Goodwill may inspire courage, perseverance, optimism, and creativity when it comes to complying with this auspicious and unprecedented global agenda.
José de Paiva Netto,
President of the Legion of Good Will