I hope that you will find this an interesting way to keep updated on Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office activities in New York. I trust that this tool will facilitate information sharing on NGO and other activities at the United Nations.
UN Day, October 24 marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter and has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. The theme of the United Nations Day Concert 2020, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, is “Reimagine, Rebalance, Restart: recovering together for our shared humanity” and was screened in UN General Assembly Hall at 12.00 noon on October 22. The concert included a performance featuring Roberto Bolle, accompanied by other world class etoiles as well as the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, all recorded at La Scala Theater in Milan. A number of classical, modern and reimagined dances, curated specifically for the UN Day Concert, were performed. It is on Facebook live – very uplifting. Prior to the showing the Secretary General call yet again for a ‘global ceasefire.’
The 75th Session of the United Nations had its first plenary meeting on September 17th and the high level week began on September 21st with the commemoration and acknowledgement the 75th anniversary. The sessions were virtual with Permanent Representatives being present in the General Assembly Hall for the first time since the outbreak of COVID 19 in March 2020. The leaders adopted a declaration honouring the multilateral framework put in place in 1945 promising to live out the pledge to save succeeding generations from the scourage of war. The text outlines 12 commitments ” We will leave no one behind. We will protect our planet. We will promote peace and prevent conflicts. We will abide by international law and ensure justice. We will place women and girls at the centre. We will build trust. We will improve digital cooperation. We will upgrade the United Nations. We will ensure sustainable financing. We will boost partnerships. We will listen to and work with youth. We will be prepared.” Read the full text The declaration ends with “We commit to take the present declaration to our citizens, in the true spirit of “We the peoples”.” My question have you heard this declaration being proclaimed in your country?
You can check out what your country said here. 130 of the 193 member states have contributed statements. 4 Youth representative – Ghana, Malaysia, Bahamas and France – addressed the General Assembly – a summary of their statements and video are available here.
On Sunday October 4 Pope Francis released his new encyclical. In it there is a call to the United Nations. Chapter 5 is entitled “A Better Kind of Politics” and includes paragraphs 154 to 197. Paragraph 170 – 175 has a subtitle ‘International Powers.’ Paragraph 172 starts with saying that we are witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states. This is what is happening when we refer to the failure of multilateralism at the UN. The Pope says that this has happening because economic and financial sectors prevail over the political. The encyclical places faith in the Charter of the United Nations. ‘There is a need to prevent the organizations from being delegitimized since its problems and shortcomings are capable of being jointly addressed and resolved.’
Quoting Paragraph 173 in full. “In this regard, I would also note the need for a reform of “the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth”. Needless to say, this calls for clear legal limits to avoid power being co-opted only by a few countries and to prevent cultural impositions or a restriction of the basic freedoms of weaker nations on the basis of ideological differences. For “the international community is a juridical community founded on the sovereignty of each member state, without bonds of subordination that deny or limit its independence”.At the same time, “the work of the United Nations, according to the principles set forth in the Preamble and the first Articles of its founding Charter, can be seen as the development and promotion of the rule of law, based on the realization that justice is an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity… There is a need to ensure the uncontested rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation, mediation and arbitration, as proposed by the Charter of the United Nations, which constitutes truly a fundamental juridical norm”.There is need to prevent this Organization from being delegitimized, since its problems and shortcomings are capable of being jointly addressed and resolved. (Bold print is mine)
Much time, thought and energy has been dedicated by the NGO Community at the United Nations to have the UN we need. UN 75 Peoples Declaration and Plan of Action entitled ‘Humanity at a Crossroads: Global Solutions for Global Problems’ seeks to address the failure of multilateralism and point the way forward. We have signed this as an organization. See It is also available in French, Spanish and Arabic.
Page 4 outlines essential elements required to create an enabling environment. Page 5 is a people’s commitment and page 6 recommendations to member states outlining three priorities which if implemented would lead to more effective global governance. (i) Establish a mandated post-2020 follow-up mechanism to enhance global governance. (ii) Reliably and increasingly fund the United Nations. (iii) Enhance civil society and other stakeholders’ participation modalities. This is followed with an annex outlining (i) Immediate Action (ii) Medium term proposals and (iii) Long term aspirations. The document was handed over to the 74th President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande the Thursday May 14.
Watch a creative and moving rendition of ‘The People’s Declaration and Plan for Global Action’ filmed on YouTube by individuals globally from the confines of their home during this pandemic. Cecelia O’ Dwyer from the IBVM is featured towards the end and there is a collage of people echoing ‘Make UN 75 Count’
Catholic Religious at the UN also worked on a Statement entitled ‘A Faith-Based Vision for the UN at 75 and Beyond.’ It is a 10 page document and available in English,French, and Spanish. There are 4 specific calls a) make the role of civil society more central and meaningful in UN Processes; b) Reform the UN Security Council; c) Develop a UN body dedicated to coordination including national level reviews of implementation of UN treaties; and d) Scale up technologies to permit remote participation.
Much time and thought has gone into the various statements but I think it can be summed up in words from “A Governance Befitting” – “We therefore find ourselves at the threshold of a defining task: purposefully organizing our affairs in full consciousness of ourselves as one people in one shared homeland.” (page 4)
What a festival of GIRL voices since October 1 to October 11. The theme in Good Shepherd Asia Pacific ‘My Voice=Our Future” The theme with Working Group on Girls Speak Out hosted on the Day of the Girl Summit page was #EquityForGirls #BeBold. The Girls Speak Out premiered 6 times in different languages and in different time zones – a global celebration. You can access all the information HERE . English Version There is a delay of 18 minutes. The link was live for 18 minutes before the program started. Towards the end at 1.09 you will see the winning song from Good Shepherd Asia Pacific – Sri Lanka featured. It fades with the music in the background and then comes on again. The title of the Song ‘We break the Silence.’
For Good Shepherd the highlight was the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Forum which was livestreamed on YouTube. After the introduction you can see another rendering of the our Song ‘We Break the Silence.’
An Asia Pacific Video was also produced and launched on October 11. Link Do enjoy it. It has the theme song and video launched for the celebration. There is a lovely song toward the end ‘We are the future of this world’
And the work continues today with the launch of guidelines for internet / social media usage over the next few weeks
Friday, September 4, 2020 marked the opening of the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China exactly 25 years ago. “The Beijing Platform for Action imagined a world where every woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for work of equal value. As a defining framework for change, the Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern.” Read more
Some Good Shepherd Sisters within Asia Pacific attended that historic conference – India, Philippines and Australia. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, document issuing from the conference has informed Good Shepherd Position Papers and ministries.
Then First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered what would be considered as one of the most influential speeches in the women’s rights movement at the United Nation’s 4th World Conference on Women Plenary Session on September 5, 1995 in Beijing, China Read more
In 25 years no country has achieved gender equality. During the COVID 19 pandemic, life for women has worsened with increases in violence and in many situations care of the children and home schooling falls to the mother. On Monday 31st of August the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres held a town hall meeting together with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. He said and I quote “At a time of growing nationalism and populism, the forces ranged against global solidarity can seem overwhelming. But if we are to meet today’s global challenges, from the climate crisis to growing inequality and the digital divide, we must join together, rejecting sexist and ageist stereotypes that prevent women – and men – from realizing our full humanity.” Read the full statement.
Linda Wong, Soroptomist International Advocacy Advisor wrote an interesting piece, giving an overview of the the Secretary Generals’ Town Hall with women. A recording of the session can be had HERE
A NEW REPORT: 17 pages ‘From Insight to Action: Gender Equality in the Wake of COVID-19’ published by UN Women in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme – UNDP highlights projections on poverty by sex and age in a post-pandemic world. The pandemic has widened gender and economic inequalities and without gender-responsive policies the crisis risks derailing hard won gains. (Page 3). COVID 19 has pummelled feminized labour sectors; (Page 6) will push million more into extreme poverty; (Page 8) gaps on basic services magnify care burdens; (Page 10) for many women and girls home is not a safe space (Page 12) and page 16 states clearly we have the tool to address the crisis. So, why is the global community not taking action?
The Season of Creation begins on Tuesday. The theme for this year 2020 is ‘Jubilee for the Earth.’ Lots of resources are available for your information, reflection, and prayer. I love the symbolism behind this logo
The orb of the logo is planet Earth filled with the waves of God’s Spirit. The veins of the leaf suggest the web of creation. The leaf forms a tree of life that is also the cross of Christ. Leaves from the tree of life are for healing (Revelation 22:2).
The Dominican Center has prepared a liturgical guide for each of the Sundays in the season.
This text from Laudato Si #109 gives us the rational for being attentive during the season of creation “We are faced to by two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both environmental and social. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”
September 1: Creation Day/World Day of Prayer for Creation
Creation Day, also called the World Day of Prayer for Creation, opens the season each year. Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew, the World Council of Churches, and many other leaders have called the faithful to celebrate this day. Globally, Christians are invited to join the online prayer service to come together in a joyful celebration of our common cause. More information will be updated at Season of Creation If you wish to participate you need to register The website and resources are in different Languages – French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian and there are specific links for different dominations. They have published a Celebration Guide and have set aside one week September 19 – 26 to act globally for the SDG’s. The list of other events can be seen HERE including regional webinars. The World Day of Migrants will be a focus on September 27th. A season of creation calendar has been published. If you check it out you may find local events that are of interest to you or you may be interested in hosting your own event.
Below are some advocacy points are outlined from page 32 of the Celebration Guide.
A reflection on COVID 19 and creation can be accessed at the ARRCC outlining 6 learning from COVID that can help us better care for creation. Literature, writings, suggestion, abound. What is important is that you choose one action to commit to. Happy Season of Creation to all readers!
A very successful panel event was held on 15, July 2020 A full recording of the event is available on YouTube The panelists are extraordinary presenters, passionate, and knowledgeable in their area of expertise, all contributing to our objective ‘Stop Child Abuse in Social Media.’ The represented Government, NGO’s. The Tech Industry and Faith Based organizations and demonstrated how important broad and multi-faceted partnership and a whole of society approach are for systemic change.
Christ Herlinger of The National Catholic Reporter provided news coverage of the event entitled
Look at the regions where there is insufficient data and very far from target. Notice the deterioration in Northern and Western Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean and this is prior to COVID 19.
Philip Alston, outgoing Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights had this to say “When you look at what COVID-19 has done, which has really been just to pull the Band-Aid off the poverty wounds, we see all too clearly that in fact it was very far from being eliminated,” Read the whole article. The report is entitled “The parlous state of poverty eradication.” An advance unedited version is available. The Special Rapporteur urged moving away from an almost exclusive focus on economic growth as a means to reduce poverty and focus rather on the reduction of inequalities and the redistribution of wealth. Two policies towards this are tax justice and universal social protection floors. He further called for deepening democracy and embracing participatory governance.
Another resource can be accessed here It is the SDG dashboard. Below are the top 7 performing countries and some of the countries doing less well.
A disappointing end to the High Level Political Forum. Throughout the two weeks words abounded calling for accelerated action but the political will of the member states was lacking and we are without a ministerial declaration with committed resources to ‘build back better.’ Remember this was the theme “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development “.
An overall impression of the Forum was provided by Deputy-Secretary of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed. “It is clear from your discussions and from recent progress reports that the left behind are still being left behind. We simply must do more — much more — to reach the most excluded and discriminated in our societies — including migrants and refugees, women and girls, and persons with disabilities. We must respond with greater urgency to the moral shame that is world hunger and to the risks facing hundreds of millions of people living in fragile and conflict affected contexts. We must channel greater investment towards the full empowerment and employment of young people, We must speed up – not fall back – on our push for gender equality. And we truly must come to terms with the requirements of SDG10 – recognizing that extreme inequality is never inevitable” Read the full text or see the Video Recording
The closing words of the President of the Economic and Social Council , H.E. Ms Mona Juul ‘We also want to strongly reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism and international solidarity in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. I think we are close to an agreement on a declaration that will be visionary, well balanced, action-oriented, and focused on the key challenges of our times. I encourage all member states to support a consensus-based adoption of the Declaration very soon – its core messages are certainly more important than ever.’ Full Text
The GSIJP Team – Alexis Schutz and Donatus Lili were active and engaged and captured on virtual platforms.
The templates in vibrant colors drew attention to the theme of the day, the crosscutting nature of the agenda and the intersection of the SDG’s.
while the Tweets send out the messages and calls for action.
Good Shepherd International’s Foundation – Cristina Duranti is a panelist at a webinar on Monday morning July 13 2020 from 1:30 –3:00 pm CEST entitled “Putting an end to greed: The interaction between respect for human rights and the protection of nature. Cristina will focus on the project in the DRC.
The following two events are within the HLPF Program – Tuesday morning July 14 at 8.00 am and Wednesday July 15 at 1.00 p.m. Registration is required.
Voluntary National Reviews (VNR’s) are scheduled to start on the afternoon of July 10th between 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 pm New York time. 47 Countries are scheduled to present. The voluntary national reviews (VNRs) aim to to share national experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation of the VNRs seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the SDGs.
July 10, 2pm – 4pm Armenia, Ecuador, Honduras, Samoa, Slovenia.
July 13, 9am – 12pm Bangladesh, Georgia, India, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda.
July 13, 2pm – 4pm Argentina, Benin, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru.
The High Level Forum that reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is virtual this year. It started on Tuesday morning, July 7th and will continue until Thursday July 16th. The theme this year is “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development “. The theme was determined prior to the outbreak of COVID 19 calling for a decade of accelerated action. This year the SDG’s are 5 years in operation. Has there been progress? Yes, and no, but now in these COVID 19 times progress is halted and the deep fault lines in current global systems and structures are revealed for what they are – exacerbating poverty. The world bank estimates that between 40 and 60 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty this year (2020) while inequality within and between countries is exposed and magnified.
The Sustainable Development Goals Report was launched on July 7 where it was shared that for the first time in over 20 years there is a rise in global poverty. An estimated 71 million people are expected to fall into extreme poverty.
Pages 6 – 23 are a series of graphics, one for each goal – illustrating before COVID 19 and COVID 19 Consequences. A webcast of the launch can be seen HERE with an overview of the report and a summary presentation of the graphics.
Where does one add one’s voice? Which action, program or intervention is more effective in bringing about a fair future for people and planet? How find this in the midst of multiple words, publication, side event, exhibitions, training sessions, VNR labs, and others?
One of the most interesting session that I have engage in was entitled “Towards a New Global Economic Architecture that works for the People and Planet.” The one hour session featured feminists critical thinkers from the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, Third World Network, EURODAD and a speaker from Global Alliance for Tax Justice. Moderator: Emilia Reyes, Program Director, Policy & Budgets, Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia & Co-Convener, Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development
Speakers: Dereje Alemayehu, Executive Coordinator, Global Alliance for Tax Justice; Ranja Sengupta, Senior Researcher, Third World Network; and Maria Jose Romero, Policy and Advocacy Manager, EURODAD
The presentation really demonstrated how inequalities are continuing to grow and profits are being made on medical supplies and protections required globally during the COVID 19 pandemic while debt increases and trade rules destroy a countries ability to provide for citizens. Private investors are undermine the right to health for all. Governments and public sector services need to at the center.
The panel provided a strong call to the United Nations to take the challenge of leadership and facilitate a UN Economic Reconstruction and Systemic Reform Summit towards a New Global Economic Architecture that works for people and planet. The Principles and Calls for Action are laid out in the two page document.
Access to the recording is on YouTube This is the sort of of global action that is required to facilitate the seismic shift required to reach ‘the furthest behind first’ and ensure that every girl, women and child is assured of her/his rights to the basics for health and well being. This sort of action would favour full implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals while challenging the concentrated power and resources of some countries, including the G7, G 20 and the Bretton Wood Institutions while permitting every country to be at the table. Piecemeal implementation on the basis of single issues or favorite goals is no longer tenable. The COVID 19 Pandemic has shown us this. The world needs sustainable economies focused on people’s needs and planet care, and away from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and profits for the few.