Opening of the UN General Assembly 73rd Session September 19, 2018

Officially the United Nations General Assembly opened on September 18th but it was preceded on the evening of the 17th with an annual prayer service at the Church of the Holy Family.  Secretary General,  António Guterres noted that this moment is the bridge between one General Assembly and the next.   While remarking that we live in abysmal times he said that the presence of the Archbishop from Colombia demonstrated that peace is possible.  This instills hope.  We have a great opportunity to translate prayer into actions for peace.

Archbishop Luis Castro Quiroga of Colombia, the former President of the Colombian Bishops Conference and one of the leaders in the Colombian Peace Process, gave a reflection on some very practical way to bring about peace.  Peace comes through dialogue,  accepting difference, listening.  There is a dual aspect to peace – inner peace and exterior peace in all spheres including environmental.  Peace bring joy.  Peace is a reconciliatory process with God and others.  It engages both truth and reparation.  Truth cannot be hidden.  Peace to be a just peace is peace with mercy.  It engages with the full weight of the law and and full weight of mercy.  This is the meaning of transitional justice.  It is not impunity and neither is it penalty.  Peace has an ethical, spiritual and cultural foundation.  It engages a change of perception from seeing the other as different to seeing the other as my sister or brother.

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The President-elect of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, also participated ‘desiring to drink from the well of wisdom and good will.’  Too many people are living at the edge.  Her Excellency recalled the plight of people on the move and their great desire for peace.  Migrants she noted are not a threat.  People are moving because of hunger and conflict.  Her Excellency expressed a deep desire for multilateralism to work within the General Assembly and her wish to facilitate such a process.  She also looked to the faith communities for support.

Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés is Ecuadorean and only the 4th women to hold the position since the founding of the United Nations some 73 years ago.  Her Excellency dedicated her Presidency to “all the women of the world”, and paid tribute to the legacy of three who held the post before her, namely Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (India) in 1949, Angie Brooks (Liberia) in 1969, and Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa (Bahrain) in 2006.

PGA 73rd Session

Image – credit to the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM)

There are 7 focus areas – gender equality; migrants and refugees; decent work; people with disabilities; youth, peace and security; environment; and revitalization of the United Nations. Spanish  French  English

PGA

President-of-the-general-assembly address in Spanish

Citar:  QuoteText in English

Quote:  “The General Assembly is not just the most democratic and representative forum in the world. It is a space embracing the most diverse cultures of the world. You, dear colleagues, constitute an invaluable center of global thought and vision which has tremendous influence in the world and on our governments and our peoples. Your thinking, wisdom and vision set the standards for our cooperation and development, among our nations and for our people. Each day we must search for solutions to the most difficult problems that face humanity and our planet.”

 

Launch of ‘Inherent Dignity’ an advocacy guidebook

 

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Here is the link to  Inherent Dignity which you can download for use.   The Launch was live-streamed on Facebook.   Please promote this guide in your networks.  It is a wonderful compendium of the human rights tools that can combat trafficking in persons.      The guide provides an overview of the abuses that assault dignity and then outlines the human rights mechanisms that champion the ‘Inherent Dignity’ of every person.  The guidebook ‘Inherent Dignity’ is focusing the response towards the transformation called for and committed to  in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – our hope for the future.   It is the one living in poverty, excluded, left behind, marginalized, discriminated against who is vulnerable to human trafficking.  It is the same dynamic of exploration and abuse that is  encapsulated in the current economic system – neo-liberalism – profit over people and planet.

There are some aspect of this guide book that I love    a) The title ‘Inherent Dignity.’   It is easy to read and provides the introduction to good discussion at the local and grassroots level.  The Guide says it is for local actors.  It is here that change will be effected – having the discussion in the family, in the local community with local leaders empowering people to know another reality, a reality of inherent dignity.

b)  The insight and statement  that human rights violations occur before a girl or women is trafficked … poverty, lack of access to education, health, domestic violence, sexual abuse, gender inequality … Angela Reed call it ‘cumulative disadvantage,’ cumulative human rights violations break down ‘inherent dignity’ and breaks the person – in spirit, in body, in mind must receive attention and be realistically addressed.  The guidebook also notes that human rights violations occurring during trafficking experience and after.

c) Highlights the active role that girls and women who have been trafficked have in prevention work is to be commended.

d) The language of rights holders and duty bearers give rise to the central role of participation of all in efforts to combat human trafficking.

e) The chart illustrating the paradigms – ways of understanding  the multifaceted drivers of human trafficking is very useful in discussion (see page 21) – users of the guide may identify others.

f) Read the experience of Cathy’s experience on Page 27.  And then see the analysis of Human Rights Violations that occurred before, during and after being trafficked.  Do you think there are girls and women with similar experiences in your neighbourhood?

 

Read ‘Inherent Dignity’  alongside the Good Shepherd Position Papers. It is a companion Document to the Position Papers   French      Spanish

 

 

Trafficking - 5.2 8.7 16.2 GPA CTP

What took place at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at a glance.

HLPF in NumbersHLPF VNR's

The 8 days concluded with a Ministerial Declaration.  The Ministerial Declaration did not happen by consensus as was hoped for but required a vote.  It was adopted by 164 votes in favour and  2 against  (Israel and the United States) and no abstentions.

The Russian Federation requested a recorded vote to delete paragraph 16 on gender equality.  134 Member States voted to retrain the paragraph, 10 were against and there were 10 abstentions.

Vote

UN Water in its report noted that the world is not on track with water and sanitation READ  SDG6_SR_2018_3_highlights_web_ENG and makes suggestions as to what to do.   Secretary General, Antonio Guterres addressing the HLPF said that while much progress has been made, the world has also backtracked in areas that are fundamental to the shared  pledge to leave no one behind.  For the first time in a decade, the number of people who are undernourished has increased, gender inequality continues to deprive women of basic rights, and investment in sustainable infrastructure remains “entirely inadequate” – all amid runaway climate change, eroding human rights and persistent pockets of poverty.

If you have not already reviewed Good Shepherd engagement with the SDG’s the document is here in English and Spanish  Report HLPF 2018 GSIJP Office Final  and Spanish Report HLPF 2018 GSIJP Office Final

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The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 English, Spanish, and French

 

The Sustainable Development Report 2018 – English

Informe de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible 2018 – Español

Rapport sur les objectifs de développement durable 2018 – Français

This report is 40 pages, with some nice graphics and information concerning each of the 17 sustainable development goals

  • Overview/ Panorama general/ Présentation générale  Pages 4 – 13
  • Interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals/ La naturaleza de interconexión de los ODS/  L’interdépendance des objectifs de développement durablePages 14 & 15
  • A Data Revolution in Motion/ Una revolución de datos en movimiento/ La révolution des données a commencé  Pages 16 & 17
  • HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM GOALS IN FOCUS/ ENFOQUE EN LOS OBJETIVOS DEL FORO POLÍTICO DE ALTO NIVEL/ OBJECTIFS PRIVILÉGIÉS DU FORUM POLITIQUE DE HAUT NIVEAU

SDG – Sustainable Development Goals;  ODS  Los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible;   ODD  Les Objectifs de Développement Durable

SDG (ODS) (ODD)  6 Pages 18 – 21; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 7 Pages 22 & 23; SDG(ODS) (ODD) 11 pages 24 &25; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 12 Pages 26&27; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 15 Pages 28&29; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 17 Pages 30-33

  • Note to the Reader/Nota al lector/ Note au lecteur Page 34
  • Regional Groups/Agrupaciones regionales/ Groupements régionaux  Page 35

Regional Groups

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Good Shepherd Report    Spanish coming soon!

‘Raising the Needs of the Girl Child’ at the High Level Political Forum on July 12th

WGG HLPF 2018 Side Event Flyer July 12

The Working Group on Girls was honored to be joined by Her Excellency, Ambassador Sima Bahous of the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jourdan to the United Nations, to raise the needs of the Girl Child during the first week of the High Level Political Forum .  Her Excellency (center)  was warmly welcomed to the event by the Moderator Deisha, and Laura both Working Group on Girls, Girl Advocates.

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Her Excellency highlighted the fact that the SDGs do not exclude the girl child nor is the girl child confined to SDG 5.  In fact, the girl child is impacted for the better by implementation of all the goals but particularly by SDGs 6, 7 and 11,  under review this year.  The education of girls is key to their empowerment and further, girls are change agents in their communities and in society.  They are often affected by social stigma and misunderstanding.  We must never stop advocating for equality and justice.

Winifred Doherty introduced the theme from the perspective of the SDG’s under review.  Read the text Raising the needs of Girls

Panelists included Dr Rimah Salah, Former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, who starting by saying that in both peace and war the girl child is subjected to so much.  She lives in the ‘shadow of inequality’  relegated to care taking, cooking, childbearing, collecting firewood and fetching water – the unpaid labour, which is often not regarded as important by the society.   Peace and sustainable development are indivisible elements towards the girl child’s empowerment and well being.    These elements call for innovative and transformative approaches coupled with  social protection and the implementation of her human rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).  Girls are not a trivial group.  Migrant, displaced and refugee girls should not be criminalize.  In fact they are agents for peace.

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, CEO, Global Network of Women Peace Builders, shared with us the names and experiences of girls affected by war and how being engaged in the  “Girl Ambassadors for Peace” program brought healing, voice, empowerment towards leadership and being agents of peace.    Her sharing provided a moment of moving from head to heart and solidarity with girls who are most affected.   Mavic outlined some of the challenges helping girls who are illiterate to know and understand Security Council Resolution 1325.  Can you imagine the pain experienced when a girl child is a discriminated against as a  ‘terrorist widow’?   How promote a narrative of peace?  How change mindset from ‘violence is cool’ to ‘peace is cool’?  How shift the burden from the girl child to the perpetrator?   Techniques include participatory theater and economic empowerment.

Devika Kumar, presented an initiative she undertook following a visit to India and discovering the harsh reality for girls there during their menstruation days caused by lack of opportunities to use and have access to menstrual hygiene products.  In response to this reality Devika created the MAHI project See more here    Here are some statistics about the reality

  • 23% of girls in rural areas drop out of school due to menstruation
  • 53% of school girls were never provided any type of education about menstruation
  • 27% do not have access to pads, tampons, or other management materials

Laura

WGG Girl Advocate Deisha and Laura did a fabulous job – Deisha moderating and Laura responding to the panelists presentations.  Both Advocates recalled their experiences with WGG over the past two years from the ‘Girls Speak Out’ on October 11 to the Commission on the Status of Women and how they have developed and grown – deepening their understanding of the issues that girls face, assuming leadership roles and taking their seats at the table on behalf of all girls.

 

 

We have a ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.’ Friday, July 13

CecilieA Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration has been negotiated.  Arriving to this point has been a long process of consultation, negotiations and advocacy.  Cecilie Kern, our dedicated staff member has engaged and advocated our position through the whole process together with other NGO’s including the NGO Committee on Migration. Visit the  NGO Committee Update where you can read the final version of the Global Compact.

Civil Society has 7 areas of concern

  • Distinction between regular and irregular migrants
  • Non-refoulement
  • Migrants in vulnerable situations
  • Right to privacy
  • Criminalization
  • Child immigration detention
  • Implementation, review, and follow-up mechanisms

A Joint Civil Society Statement was delivered at the Conclusion of Negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, New York, July 13, 2018  Click HERE for the content of the letter outlining  the achievements of the Global Compact, some concerns and the list of signatures.  You can also read  the statement of Franciscan International.

I am a childThe NGO Committee on Migration together with other NGO’s published a booklet ‘I am a child! highlighting children’s rights in the migration process.  You find this interesting and something to add to our Child Protection Policies.

There were 5 issues of GCM Gender – a Guidance note series for Governments that are worth reviewing.

  1.  5 Challenges – 5 Actions
  2. Gender-Responsive Access to Services and to Justice
  3. Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Children and Families
  4. Realizing Human Rights
  5. Implementing a Gender-Responsive Global Compact for Migration

Position-Slidshow-banner3In reviewing this blog post please don’t forget to link with our Position Paper Pages 4 & 5 on Migration  Español  Français

Some reflections from social media on the achievements of multilateralism and the new Global Compact on Migration.

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Press Release

What is HLPF? A UN Platform to review Sustainable Development!

2018 HLPFThe United Nations High Level Political Forum 2018  (HLPF) commences on Monday July 9 and will finish on Thursday July 18.   What is HLPF?   It is a United Nations platform  on Sustainable Development.  The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) was mandated in 2012 by the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), “The Future We Want”.

The HLPF on Sustainable Development  provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations. It follows up and reviews the implementation of sustainable development commitments and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It addresses new and emerging challenges; promotes the science-policy interface and enhances the integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

This year the theme is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.  The thematic review will  concentrate on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, and 17.

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Good Shepherd reporting on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (see chart) tells us that we as an organization are not fully cognizant of the intersectionality of the goals.  The SDGs under review this year appear to be the same SDG’s that we are weakest on.  (see chart below).  Reflecting on this leads me to ask where are the people in the goals currently under review?

Report HLPF 2018

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(Chart from page 5 of Report HLPF 2018- GSIJP Office Report)  See   Report HLPF 2018

From my personal experience in grassroots ministry working on issues of water, sanitation, and energy for example were always at the core of community development, and women’s empowerment programs with the big focus on addressing the multidimensional aspect of poverty and gender related issues.  The focus was people centered – the girls and women carrying water – negotiating with local government for water connections to enable girls to school and mother to have time to earn income.   Witnessing fuel carriers (choosing some images from google to make my point) children

Picture                                                    Picture  

and girls carrying such weights, the impetus is to remove the burden from that child, that girl, that mother hoping that the systems and structures that created such dehumanizing conditions would soon change.

Drawing from the Secretary General’s Report Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (see pages 7 and 8) I ask how will the 844 million people around the world who still lack access to a basic drinking water source  or the 1 billion without electricity be impacted by this session of the HLPF in 2018?   The tension for NGO’s on the ground is between alleviating immediate dehumanizing conditions while waiting for political momentum and resources allocation towards reaching the loftiest ideals of ‘leaving no one behind’ and ‘reaching the furthest behind first.’

Cecilie Kern from the GSIJP Office with the Mining Working Group of which we are members has contributed to publishing a paper on Water, Women & Wisdom     Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 4.00.04 PMa Companion document to Water & Sanitation – A People’s Guide to SDG 6 

DonatusIn El Obeid, the sisters run two schools that have been upgraded from kindergarten to primary. A feature of these services is that they offer opportunities to children to attend school who otherwise would be excluded because of poverty. The school compound has some vegetation (flowers), is equipped with a reservation tank for water storage, and has toilets and clean water. During school holidays, tutorials are provided for the children. Apart from poverty, child, early and forced marriage is a problem that the sisters continue to encounter through education in both locations. (Excerpt from narrative report from Sudan)

Position-Papers-Poster-EN

It is interesting to see where the links of water, sanitation and energy  are in our Position Papers  There is no actual naming of SDGs 6 or 7 but reference to water, sanitation and energy are in the papers on Economic Justice and  Integral Ecology.  See Page 7 (f), Page 14 and page 15 (j) for reference to water and sanitation and energy on Page 15, Paragraph 6 (c) referencing the need for personal responsibility in the use of energy and water, a call to avoid non renewable energy and support low energy production and for support of  political action on national energy policies and sustainable water usage.

Position Papers       Française     Español

In our survey report there was one response to SDG 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.  You will not find SDG 12 named in the position papers but the term production and consumption is referenced in Economic Justice and Integral Ecology.  In Economic Justice (page 6, paragraph 4)  we are challenged to support sustainable production and consumption patterns and the Integral Ecology paper (pages 14 and 15 ) challenges us to re-evaluate prior conception, previous understandings, and unquestioned practices.  “We cannot ignore that the “dominant pattens of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of the species.”  We see injustice when “communities are being undermined and the benefits of development are not shared equitably.” We know that “injustice, poverty, ignorance and violent conflict are widespread and cause great suffering.”  The discord we experience within the very air we breathe, the water we drink, and among our communities calls for a response consistent with our mission of reconciliation which calls us to “join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace.” (Quotes excerpted from the Earth Charter, 2000)   The last quotation is an echo of the three pillars of sustainable development – the environmental, the social and the economic – upon which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is founded.

Reference on page 14, paragraph 6 (c) and (i) are apt calling us to convert individual and communal behavior from ecological ignorance to environmental sustainability naming specifically waste and consumption and (i) evaluate and adjust personal and communal decisions in areas of consumption, production, and use of natural resources in the light of sustainability of the universe.

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