At the request of the Luxembourg President of the European Union’s Environment Council and the Italian Minister for Environment, the head of the Catholic Church received EU Ministers of Environment and Climate Affairs at a papal audience on 16 September 2015.

His Holiness Pope Francis spoke out on several occasions with respect to poverty, the deteriorating state of the environment, overconsumption, irresponsible and unsustainable development projects and the fight against climate change. In his speech to EU Environment Ministers, Pope Francis highlighted solidarity, justice and the broad involvement of society as guiding principles.

The Pope stressed the need for the frugal use of non-renewable resources and the importance of reducing waste. He assured those present of the Vatican‘s commitment to the process of sustainable development.
At the audience, Hungary was represented by Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Zsolt V. Németh from the Ministry of Agriculture. According to Mr. Németh, the words of Pope Francis have given further impetus to the establishment of a framework system for global development and sustainable development for the period following 2015.

In addition, they provide an incentive for agreement on a suitably ambitious global treaty at the Paris Climate Summit in December. Mr. Németh pointed out with relation to the papal audience that according to Hungary’s standpoint, environmental, social and economic issues can only be handled together and in an interrelated manner.

The most important tasks for the near future include the development of a post-2015 international development timetable and raising broad-ranging awareness with respect to the timetable and related implementation plans. This may also draw attention to the role of sustainable consumption and production, which are of key importance with respect to the practical implementation of environmental goals. Accordingly, top priorities also include supporting local production and the establishment of shorter supply chains.

(Ministry of Agriculture)