Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office position on ‘Financing for Development’ – Addis Ababa July 13 – 16, 2015

3618_people_iThe Third International Conference Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – July 13 – 16, 2015.  What position will the Good Shepherd International Justice for Peace Office take?  In our position paper on Economic Justice we state ‘Create and/or Participate in networks and campaigns that call for Economic Justice and inclusion for all.’ The Third International Conference on Financing for Development is one such moment. As a member of the following groups – NGO Committee on Financing for Development, the Global Coalition on Social Protection Floors and the Women’s Major Group I will be advocating for Economic Justice and inclusion for all.  Here is the position paper of the NGO Committee on Financing for Development Click here decrying the fact that ‘international budget decisions and financial systems favor the few to the detriment of masses, and favor unjust private profits over the health of the planet.’  This point has been underscored in ‘Laudato Si’ and in the work of Noami Klein in ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. the Climate.’

Budgeting priorities demands strong political will.  Klein writes “our problem has a lot less to do with the mechanics of solar power than the politics of human power – specifically who wields it, a shift away from corporations and towards communities…” (page 25)  How we finance determines what we finance.  Privatization of profits but socialization of losses cannot be tolerated.

Laudato Si Paragraph 189 states ‘Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy.  Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.  Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery.  The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth.  But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world.”  The negotiations leading up to the Financing for Development Conference have not been change driven but slowly reneging on the commitment of the first paragraph of the Addis Ababa Accord.

“Our goal is to eradicate poverty and hunger in this generation, and to achieve sustainable development through promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment, and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. We commit to ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, to promote and protect all human rights, including the right to development, and to build an inclusive and equitable global economic system where no country or person is left behind, enabling decent work and productive livelihoods for all, while preserving the planet for our children and future generations.”

The signature campaign launched by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women – Law and Development APWLD points to the harsh reality of corporate greed … do consider signing the petition … every signature counts   Stop Corporate Lawsuits Against Human Rights:

Development 

Naomi Klein – social activists and critic of 21st century capitalism invited to Vatican to shift the debate on global warming.

A conference at the Vatican on ‘People and Planet First: The Imperative to Change Course’ will take place July 2nd and 3rd. Click here for more information  Naomi Klein has be invited to address the conference.  Read about the invitation from the Guardian 

Naomi Klein’s new book  ‘This Changes Everything’ Capitalism vs Climate is now available.  Another interesting article in the Guardian ‘The Pope v the UN’ Who will save the world first?  The article suggests that both Pope Francis and the UN are addressing the same issues.   It is worth comparing Laudato Si with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  The article outlines  three ways in which Pope Francis has raised the bar: 1.Thoroughness v holism.   2. Growth and Consumption and 3. Cause and Effect. Full article available here!

The Encyclical it is argued is far more than a document about climate change.  It is a profound critique of the deep logic of our political economy.  I agree but argue that the SDG’s is what we get when the 193 member states try to agree on what shape a transformative global agenda should take and seek to bring it home to the national level?  How envision a paradigm shift?  How ensure that no one is left behind?  The SDG’s are the outcome of the best and the worst of the UN.  The aspiration is clearly present but how implement the aspiration? How give it shape and form?  How bring the vision to regional, national and local level?  In negotiations power inequality, political wranglings and patriarchal mindsets pervades much of the discussions.  Yes the power inequality is seen in the ‘consumption-driven economic growth’.  Who of the 193 member states do you think holds most sway when it comes to negotiating SDG’s?  Who resists paying the already agreed 0.7% ODA?  Who continues to hold that climate change is not a reality? The NGO community and civil society are continually challenging the role of the corporate sector and multinationals in development.  The principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ while agreed to has been slowly reneged on over the years.  Civil Society space is shrinking at the UN?  Why?  As a member of civil society I agree that that the ‘SDG’s send a clear signal that they are in favor of business as usual.

And where is gender equality and the human rights of girls and women in either documents?  There has been a long and challenging journey to have SDG 5 name gender equality and to have this streamlined throughout all SDG’s.  Why is it so difficult to have gender equality acknowledged and legally upheld?  I suggest that patriarchy is  a neglected root cause and effect of poverty and the ecological crisis.  I suggest that patriarchy and not the SDG’s is the status quo approach to all of the issues that pervade society – not just global economics but gender inequality, gender based violence, human trafficking, migration, refugees, growing inequality and global warming. Only when gender equality and the human rights of girls and women are upheld everywhere on the planet will there be a paradigm shift.  I fear that the term ‘people’ can easily be read and understood as a continuance of patriarchy, whereas ‘gender equality and planet’  sends a clear message of intent re: systemic change heralding in a paradigm shift and substantive transformations change.

Some reflection on Gender Financing in Addis Ababa Accord

You may find is interesting to read this blog on gender financing in the Addis Ababa Accord.  It was published in The Guardian yesterday June 25th.  Click Here  A quote referencing May 6th draft “The current draft of the Addis Ababa Accord starts well by stating a commitment towards gender equality and women’s rights, but falls short on staying true to this vision throughout. Lack of recognition of the structural causes of gender inequality, such as the disproportionate responsibility of unpaid care borne by women and girls, means it risks focusing only on what women can do for the economy rather than on how the economy must work in a way that supports rights for all.”

25th June End Violence Against Women Campaign – Orange Day!

unnamedThe theme for this months awareness is about reversing the funding shortfall for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls!  From July 13-16 the Third International Conference Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  It will be preceded by a two day civil society forum.  A very concrete action is to find out if your government is participating in the Conference on Financing for Development.  What position will your government take?  Has your government  a position with regard to funding gender equality and women’s and girls empowerment?

AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) have published a study ‘New Actors, New Money, New Conversations.’ Full Report Here  You may find this an interesting report …. It is 52 pages divided into 4 main headings – Research Findings; How is Support being Disbursed?; Examples of Partnership Involving Women’s Organizations and Funds and Current Challenges and Opportunities for Leveraging Resources for Women’s Rights Organizations.  Pages 47 – 50 online some opportunities for new conversations.

There are eight core propositions – gender power structures and substructures; change requires women’s collective action and power; transformative change with a full compliment of rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural; gender equality cannot be left to be brought about by market forces; the role of new actors in development cannot be ignored; the fruits of transformative change cannot be taken for granted, but must be defended, preserved and sustained; resources are needed for change; and mobilization of resources for women’s rights organizing is a collective responsibility.

Some quotations from the June 19th Addis Ababa Accord of the Third International Conference Financing for Development on gender inclusion.  Is this enough for Gender Justice?  Economic growth appears in paragraph 1 – sounds like business as usual to me.

Paragraph 1 … Our goal is to end poverty and hunger, and to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions through promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment, and promoting social inclusion. We commit to respect all human rights, including the right to development. We will ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

Paragraph 6  We reaffirm that achieving gender equality, empowering all women and girls, and the full realization of their human rights are essential to achieving sustained, inclusive, and equitable economic growth and sustainable development. We reiterate the need for gender mainstreaming, including targeted actions and investments in the formulation and implementation of all financial, economic, environmental and social policies. We commit to implement transformative policy actions to ensure women’s equal rights, access and opportunities for participation and leadership in the economy.

Paragraph 20   Evidence shows that gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s full and equal participation and leadership in the economy are vital to achieve sustainable development and significantly enhance economic growth and productivity. We recommit to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels, and to eliminate gender-based violence and discrimination all its form. We also commit to promote social inclusion in our domestic policies. We will promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws, social infrastructure and policies for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels, to enable women’s full and equal participation in the economy, as well as their equal access to decision making processes and leadership.

Paragraph 29  … promote gender sensitive budgeting and tracking.

Paragraph 36  … We will work towards harmonizing the various initiatives on sustainable business and financing, identifying gaps, including in relation to gender equality, and strengthening the mechanisms and incentives for compliance.

Paragraph 40   … We further encourage the private sector to contribute to advancing gender equality through striving to ensure women’s full and productive employment and decent work, equal pay for work of equal value, and equal opportunities, as well as protecting them against discrimination and abuse in the workplace. We support the UN Global Compact’s Women Empowerment Principles and encourage increased investments in female-owned companies or businesses.

Paragraph 67    … We welcome efforts by new development banks to develop safeguard systems in open consultation with stakeholders, and encourage all new and existing development banks to establish or maintain social and environmental safeguards systems, including on human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, that are transparent, effective, efficient, and time-sensitive.

We are well aware of the feminization of poverty so what is said of eradicating poverty and implementing social protection floors?  This is what your government is committing to if they attend the conference in Addis Ababa?  Will it make a difference in your country?

Paragraph 12   Delivering social protection and essential public services for all: To end poverty in all its forms everywhere and finish the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we commit to a new social compact. In this effort, we will provide fiscally sustainable and nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, with a focus on those furthest below the poverty line and the vulnerable. We also encourage countries to consider setting nationally appropriate spending targets for quality investments in essential public services for all, including health, education, energy, water and sanitation, consistent with national sustainable development strategies. We will make every effort to meet the needs of all communities through delivering high quality services that make effective use of resources. We commit to commensurate international support for these efforts, and will explore the most effective, efficient and coherent funding modalities to mobilize additional resources, building on country-led experiences.

Winifred

Global Sisters Report: – Persistent and Consistent: Religious at the UN

Here is an article published in the Global Sister Report Click here on Religious engagement at the United Nations. “The reps have the ability to focus on the core of the matter, capture it in a phrase and work diligently to get those phrases included in U.N. documents: water as a human right; prior free and informed consent; social protection floor.”  Good Shepherd Units around the world worked with me in advocating for Water Rights – we had 13 signatures from 12 countries:  Angola, Portugal, France, Ireland, Malta, Myanmar, Singapore/Malaysia, United Kingdom, South Africa and Philippines with one regional signature from REAL and an international signature from the Congregation.  And of course we are active participants in promoting social protection floors.  Recently, there was an account of the implementation of the Social Protection Floor in Cambodia.  

See pages 2,3 and 4

World Refugee Day – 20 June 2015

On June 15th Amnesty International launched a report ‘Global Refugee Crisis: A Conspiracy of Neglect,’  outlining the global refugee crisis – from Lebanon to Kenya, the Andaman Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It calls for a global response to what has become one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. The current approaches to the world’s many refugee crises are failing – and the toll in lives lost and lives blighted is far higher than many armed conflicts. 

Amnesty International believes that a paradigm shift on refugee protection must include eight key actions by the international community:

An international summit on the global refugee crisis focused on increasing international responsibility and burden sharing;

  Global ratification of the Refugee Convention;

  Develop robust domestic refugee systems: states must have fair domestic procedures to assess refugee claims and must guarantee fundamental rights and access to services, such as education and healthcare, to refugees;

An absolute commitment to saving lives first: states must prioritise saving people in distress over implementing immigration policies. In situations where people are in danger of death, including – but not limited to – people attempting sea crossings, states should invest in search and rescue operations and immediately come to the rescue of people in distress. This imperative should never be trumped by any border control objectives;

Combat trafficking: states must take effective action to investigate and prosecute trafficking gangs. States should offer protection and assistance to victims of trafficking and ensure they have access to refugee status determination procedures and/or resettlement opportunities;
Fulfil all resettlement needs identified by UNHCR: nearly one million resettlement and humanitarian admission places are required for refugees who need resettlement and this number will increase every year. Amnesty International estimates that, 300,000 annual resettlement and humanitarian admission places will be needed every year over the next four years;

Combat xenophobia: governments must refrain from engaging in xenophobia themselves, for example by implying or directly claiming asylum-seekers and migrants are to blame for economic and social problems. Governments must also have effective policies to address xenophobic violence;

Establish a global refugee fund: such a fund should fulfil all UN humanitarian appeals for refugee crises. This fund should also provide meaningful financial support to countries hosting large numbers of refugees to help them provide services to refugees and their host communities. This should be additional to existing development aid.

Read the full report in English

Crise Mondiale des Refugies (French)

“Good Shepherd’s first response to migrants and refugees is to welcome them as one would welcome the Divine among us. We honor the culture and heritage they bring, help them in resettlement or regularization, and celebrate the positive contributions migrants make to the economic, social and cultural lives of a new locality.

We advocate for generous refugee policies that provide protection for those fleeing oppression and discrimination.” Good Shepherd position paper on Migrants, GSIJPO,2011

For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own Refugee Days and even Weeks. One of the most widespread is Africa Refugee Day, which is celebrated on 20 June in several countries.

The UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.   Read more

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that ‘Migrants need protection not push-backs’  Read more

‘There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.’  From Paragraph 25 of Laudato Si by Pope Francis.  Laudato Sis (in 8 Languages)

See Article in Guardian of Monday June 15th

Global Trends – Forced Displacement 2014  UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency    By the end of 2014, the total population of concern to UNHCR stood at an unprecedented 54.9 million persons.

The International Rescue Committee President David Miliband responded to the UNHCR Global Trends – 59.5 million reasons …