Pope Francis pitches for `right of the environment', UN reforms

Pope Francis has declared that there is a "right of the environment" and that humankind has no authority to abuse or destroy it. The Pope made the assertion in a speech at the United Nations headquarters today.

In a speech before more than 100 world leaders and diplomats, the Pope demanded that that the world's poor also have the right to education, lodging, labour and land.

The poor should have immediate access to food and water, work and housing as well as religious freedom, he told the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Addressing world leaders at a global summit at the United Nations General Assembly for the first time, the Pope made a strong pitch for reform at the UN.

''The experience of the last 70 years teaches that reform is necessary in the pursuit of the ultimate goal of granting all countries without exception a genuine equitable share in decision making process.

''Reform of the UN Security Council and financial agencies will help to limit every kind of abuse where developing countries are considered.

''The work of the UN set forth in its founding charter can be seen as the promotion of the rule of law based on the idea that justice is essential for universal peace,'' he said.

He said the fact that the organised community of the states represented by the UN is celebrating its 70th anniversary is in itself an achievement, which helps to dispel the darkness of the disorder by unrestrained ambitions and collective forms of selfishness.

''The world has so many examples of power that is badly exercised...We believe that universe is product of a loving creation - Man is not authorised to abuse to much less destroy it.

''Economic and social exclusion is a denial of humanity and grave offence. The poorest are those who suffer from such offences. They are cast off and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment.

"Culture of waste" must be condemned and there should be greater emphasis on sustainable development.

''The large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species,'' he said, adding that the idea of saving generations from the scourge of war and promoting social progress risks becoming an unattainable illusion.