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.
The Commission on the Status of Women 67th session ended on March 18th and was immediately followed by the opening of the 68th Session. Two themes are allocated per session – a priority theme and a review theme. The priority theme for CSW 68 in 2024 is ‘Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.’ The Review theme is: ‘Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (agreed conclusions of the sixty-third session). Both themes are of special interest to us. While linking directly with our position paper on Economic Justice the topics are intersectional and crossing cutting across all six position papers. Throughout the years our advocacy at the United Nations has been strong and consistent on the implementation of rights-based social protection.
On March 23 Winifred Doherty spoke on the direct impact of corporate activities both on the ground and across their value chains, which disproportionately undermine women and girls’ human rights, in Africa primarily, and across the world. The invitation to be a panelist came from the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network Ireland. I connected the dots from Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Good Shepherd Province NewYork/Toronto, an investor, so as to undertake advocacy with Tesla, a multinational automotive and clean energy company headquartered in Austin, Texas on behalf of the local community – children and women in Kolwezi who human rights are violated on a daily basis by the ‘Pharaoh’ of today. No one of us can do this work alone. We need to network with multiple other organizations with expertise in the area of concern e.g. Investor Advocates for Social Justice in NY. The preliminary documentary Maisha and the BBC Documentary both show conditions on the ground in Kolwezi.
It was a privilege to share the time with Sr Veronica and know of her work. You can see the other segments of the program on the website Learn more about the latest projects HERE
Another advocacy moment happened on March 28 with an invitation to be a panelist at a C20 India Working Group Human Rights as Human Values. You may well ask what is C 20 India. C20 India 2023 is one of the official Engagement Groups of the G20 that provides a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSO) around the world to voice people’s aspirations to the world leaders in G20. It gives CSOs a forum to protect the agency of this sector, reflect the primary and common concerns affecting the people of the world, and to promote social and economic development with the vision of leaving no one behind. See more
The 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 67) officially ended at 6.00 am approx on March 18th, 2023 with a successfully negotiated CSW67 Agreed Conclusion. (Advanced Unedited Version) When edited int will also be in French and Spanish. These agreed conclusions are a lengthy document (32 pages) but a significant document with regard to the theme of the session: ‘Innovation and Technological Change and Education in the Digital Era for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.’
Negotiations were long, tedious, and challenging but the outcome hails a new moment of hope to harness the possibilities held in technological advancement to usher in gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the digital era. You can gain some insight into the dynamics of the Commission in the UN TV Webcast of the 17th Session on the Commission. Engaging within the multilateral system is indeed challenging and demands endless listening and patience with the process. This CSW 67 demonstrated multilateralism at its best. It necessitates a constructive spirit throughout and always demands cooperation and collaboration in the interest of the common good. Some groups had to let go of issues important to them in furthering women’s human rights in the interest of the whole. As I watched through a glass window for a few hours I could not help but identify a spirit of patience and commitment to the process without knowing what the issue or the exchange of views under negotiations. But there appeared to be decorum and respect toward each other and the body in the process.
Reflections on the agreed consultations are slow to appear. UN Women published a press release on March 18th hailing the document as a game changer. UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, said: “This year’s Agreed Conclusions are game-changing and bring forward our vision of a more equal and connected world for women and girls in all their diversity. It is our job, as we leave here today, to translate them into reality. The ultimate success of these Agreed Conclusions lies beyond their finalization today, in how we will collectively take them forward. They bring us a vision of a more equal world. Let us translate them into reality for all women and girls.”
APNews had a publication on March 18th also highlighting that ‘the “agreed conclusions” document adopted Saturday by the 45-member commission calling for equal quality education for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, information and communications technology, and digital literacy so they can thrive in the rapidly changing world.’ This strongly supports the girls’ agenda.
The agreed conclusion ‘reaffirms the 1995 Beijing platform adopted by 189 countries which said for the first time in a U.N. document, that women’s human rights include the right to control and decide “on matters relating to their sexuality, including their sexual and reproductive health, free of discrimination, coercion, and violence.” ‘ Despite the existence of and commitment to the 1995 Beijing Platform – the struggle to uphold women’s rights continues today such that the Secretary-General speaks of ‘pushing back the pushback.’ See Secretary-General’s remarks to the Women’s Civil Society Town Hall [as delivered] on March 13. Some lines that impacted me. Secretary-General said ‘many of the challenges we face today – from conflicts to climate chaos and the cost-of-living crisis – are the result of what is a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture, taking the key decisions that guide our world. … Gender-based violence online has increased exponentially. Organized campaigns target women politicians, journalists, and activists – a direct attack on women’s representation and on democracy itself.’ the Secretary-General also said ‘In the face of this patriarchal pushback, we must push forward – not just for women and girls, but for all communities and societies.’
I was alarmed and sad hearing one woman leader after another, from president to member of parliament alike witnessing to the harassment that they personally experienced while engaging in political leadership. Ireland and The Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence (ICGBV) hosted an event entitled GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: RISKS, OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES on 06 Mar, 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM. Here is a clip of one woman parliamentarian speaking of the violence she experienced.
Global Sisters Report published their article on Friday, March 24. This is from the perspective of Catholic Sisters and their experience of CSW 67 including Winifred Doherty. The reporter Chris Herlinger quoted from the Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission “Technology has opened the door to perpetrators through a screen that exposes women, girls, and children to all types of harm, even within the home. Technology has facilitated the rapid global expansion of human trafficking as a criminal industry, which has increased the demand for women and girls as objects of exploitation, prostitution, and violence.”
Public Services International headed their piece ‘Mission Accomplished! The Struggle Continues.’ Rosa Pavanelli, Public Services International, General Secretary stated, “The Agreed Conclusions this year reflect tensions around the multilateral system. ‘We witnessed rhetoric based on the respect for universal human rights and international human rights’ law that was difficult to translate into concrete dimensions of the role the State as its fundamental actor and guarantor, while the preponderance of the private sector and the multi-stakeholder approach gained traction as dominant actors in a world at the hands of market and capital forces. There is no doubt that the digital era and the advances of science and technology challenge us to continue fighting for the commons and public goods as the only backers of equality for humanity as opposed to their for-profit use and corporate capture.’ This captures the already some of the content in our written statement to CSW 67. French and Spanish
Another interesting take on CSW 67 is from Pat Black, a member of Soroptimist International from Scotland whom I had to pleasure to meet again this year at CSW 67 in the long hours of waiting for the Agreed Conclusions. I was not as dedicated at Pat – I went home at 11.30 p.m. Read
This CSW 67 was characterized by over two hundred side events and seven hundred parallel events. We at the GSIJP Office were very proud of our parallel event entitled ‘Girls and Women Impact the Digital Revolution’ where girls from Latin America, Africa, and Asia Pacific addressed the issue with knowledge and determination. We heard of diverse experiences in accessing digital platforms both for educational and social use. We also heard about experiences of online abuse and the efforts to become empowered and create safe spaces for all girls users. Girls were strong in advocating for access, saying it is a human rights issue. Congratulations to all panelists – ‘Girls’ Rights are Human Rights.’
Tomorrow, February 15 is the closing day of the Commission for Social Development. It has been an engaging two weeks – the first in-person meeting of the commission since February 2020. The Commission meetings were dominated by the impacts of the pandemic, the climate crisis and geopolitical conflicts all contributing to and exacerbating inequalities in access to health, education and jobs. The continual call was for countries to create productive employment and decent work and ensure universal social protection by right to all including all disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. We are awaiting the adoption of the resolution on the priority themes to judge if actions committed to by member states are commensurate with the scale of the problem. Cuba’s representative speaking on behalf of G77 and China put price tag of $3.3 to $4.5 trillion per year as the amount required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals within the given timeline in developing countries.
The formal program of panels and general discussion were accompanied by activities of the NGO Community delivering the Civil Society Declaration at the opening session, hosting multiple side events on related topics, moderating and speaking as experts on panels, leading at the Civil Society Forum on Friday February 10 and making oral statement at the conclusion of the general discussion on Monday February 13. Many of you were signatories to the Civil Society Declaration.
The Congregation co-sponsored a side event on Tuesday February 7 entlitled: “Decent work for all: Ending vulnerability through education and economic empowerment.” The keynote speaker for this event was : Ambassador Amara Sowa, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone, who has a distinguished career in education and government. The Ambassador is passionate about education for all but particularly concerned for the importance of KG for all children and education for girls including girls who may be pregnant. The range of projects presented covered multiple issues. Chirag Education Culture and Health Awareness Centre, an NGO under the jurisdiction of Patna Province of the Congregation of Jesus presented on women’s self help groups. Rhea Sethi, Child Development Program Officer at the Red Dot Foundation, Satara District of Maharashtra, India outlined empowerment programs with women and children. Sister Jackline Mwongela, an advocate against human trafficking in Kenya spoke of the vulnerability of young people to traffickers and Sister Silvia Zábavová, an activist and professor working among the Roma community in Slovakia presented various projects conducted since 2011 including a project in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Sloval Republic, called “Prevention and elimination of discrimination against Roma women in the municipality of Jarovnice” This training took place from Oct 2019 to July 2022 and helped 140 Roma women and girls with pre-employment training. It was co-financed by the EU. Anjali Singh, a teacher at the Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre, Jamshedpur, India shared a beautician training for girls and women as a way to assist with financial issues, increase self-reliance, and empowerment. The session was moderated my two impressive youth leaders. We co-sponsored this event because it echoes in so many way the ministries that Good Shepherd engage in around the world in anti- human trafficking work, skills development, empowerment and financial inclusion with girls, women and children.
The second side event was on Wednesday February 8 entitled “On the Road to 2025: A new Social Contract Implementing Universal Social Protection, Ensuring Full Employment and Decent Work for All” We were honored to have Ms. Hanna Sarkkinen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health of Finland. This event demonstrates the many positive steps forward since 2011that have been taken in embedding social protections systems and floors for all within national legislation and programs. The event was dedicated to the memory of Prof. Michael Cichon. Michael was the inspiration behind and driver of Recommendation 202, founder of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors and he has been an inspiring example to so many people around the world. Winifred Doherty has been a member of the Global Coalition since its beginning.
It has been recorded and you can read more about the event and speakers HERE
The Civil Society Forum started on Sunday February 5 during the full day of February 10th. Sude Gorke, an intern at the GSIJP Office facilitated a very engaging Networking Session. She was engaged throughout the Commission and outlines her experience here.
My Experience at the Civil Society Forum and CSocD61
As a political science student, I was overjoyed at the prospect of attending a UN Commission and learning more about international cooperation. Thus far, my education about the UN and other international organizations had only been in classroom settings. Real first hand experience, such as attending CSocD61, has been difficult to come by with the current pandemic crisis. For this reason, I am thankful to the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd and the NGO Committee for Social Development for allowing me to attend this year’s session.
The speakers at each event were highly knowledgeable in the economic and social sectors of governments and voiced their opinions proudly. Many topics were on the agenda, including social protection floors, working towards increasing decent jobs, youth unemployment, and gender equality. These are all topics that affect me as a young woman living in the United States and I am thankful for the speakers for addressing awareness on issues pertaining to not only my future, but also everyone’s future, in which concrete policies and social protection reforms can be realized and upheld.
From attending CSocD61, I have become more hopeful in the prospects of our futures on this Earth. It is not often that you are able to recognize first-hand the work being done on the international level to address our global issues. Witnessing the speakers actually fight for a just labor market gives me hope that the future can be more equitable and equal for us all.
One of the most outstanding speakers of the 10 days has been Dr. Arash Fazli, Baha’i International Community. Dr Arash spoke on February 10th at the Civil Society Forum Thematic Session No 2: Rethinking the Dominant Economic Paradigm – Ensuring Social Protections and Just Transitions in the World of Work. 3pm-4:30pm. Sude Gorke compiled the following notes on his presentation:
When we look at the post-COVID world, there is a great deal of soul searching that is happening amongst world leaders, because there is a deepening consciousness that the systems of our world are not working, that something fundamental must change, it is no longer enough to tinker with the systems that exist to make small adjustments.
There is something wrong with the development model that we’ve adopted. Based on neoclassical economic thinking, it was basically one that saw the human being as a bundle of needs and wants and the characterization of the human being was of utility-maximizing, self-interested actor. The understanding was that the kind of structure that we need for society is one of constant consumption and production. You create a society which has at its center the pursuit of economic growth and limitless wealth. This is the fundamental problem; most of our problems in the world stem from this organizing logic; the pursuit of unlimited economic growth.
The market has become the mediator of all the needs and all the aspirations of humanity.
Commodification of relationships, everything in human nature.
Market values crowd out all other values. They become token values and what ends up mattering most is economic considerations.
The problem is when something that is meant to be a means to an end becomes the end itself. Economic growth has always been a means to an end, the means by which people would be productivity employed so that they could then pursue the higher goals, the goals around which our civilization could flourish. However, what ended up happening was that the means to an end became the end itself.
If one is saying that endless economic growth should not be at the center of our enterprise, what should?
The pandemic has taught us a few things about this. We are fragile and even the strongest of us can be brought down very easily. We are completely interconnected. We depend on each other. Dependence is seen as weakness. But actually what you need is a system that is built on this interconnectedness and interdependence.
We need a new set of values to center our society which are based on reciprocity, collaboration, cooperation– and on the highest aspirations of human societies everywhere is this conception of development as being just the provision of material needs and wants needs to be broadened to include people’s spiritual aspirations. People do not see themselves as just a bundle of needs and wants.
What implications does this new view of society have for the economy?
Economic institutions have an organic relationship with the values in society. Neoclassical economists assume that values are givens, that they are there in the world the way you have geographical formations, that you can let society function, you can let the economy function, and it just stays that way. This is not correct.
Values can strengthen or weaken economic institutions. In our current system, you are under competitive pressures constantly that the system creates that even if a person wants, they cannot even begin to think about assisting others.
Climate change requires our generation to sacrifice its self-interest for people living in the Pacific. We have to make serious changes to our lives, fundamental changes to our lives. For generations to come. There is no way this generation which is somehow fed on the idea of self-interest cannot develop these qualities.
Our economic system has to create a new system of awards and incentives so that behaviors which are in alignment with altruism are rewarded.
Our concept of efficiency must change. Currently, efficiency is based on the least amount of input for the most amount of output. The damage to the environment, cultural practices, and people’s social relationships are all considered externalities and not calculated in the input.
All economic activity will have to be limited by the goals of sustainability, by the goals of building societies with strong relationships of solidarity, and by the necessity of holding higher aspirations of the people of that society.
The full recording of the session is available HERE. Following his presentation Winifred Doherty made this comment from the floor
The Position Paper of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors at the Commission for Social Development 61st Session. Winifred Doherty of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd prepared the position paper. International KOLPING, International Presentation Association, Social Justice in Global Development, JusticeMakers Bangladesh, and Free Trade Union Development Center Sri Lanka, all members of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors endorsed the paper.
Winifred Doherty asked a question during the 9th Plenary Meeting – Multi Stakeholder Session – on February 9 which was moderated by Jean Quinn the Chair of the NGO Committee for Social Development. Full session is available HERE
Acknowledgement – We are grateful to Kimberly Moloche (GSIJP Office) who prepared the shortened video clips
One more outstanding presentation was made by Ms Lara Hicks of UNANIMA INTERNATIONAL at the 7th plenary Session of the Commission “Addressing the social impacts of multi-faceted crises to accelerate recovery from the lingering effects of the pandemic through the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This presentation is impressive and models how we can make effective contributions from experience in ministry to the halls of policy making. Lara’s segment begins at 01.01.10 and is well worth reviewing.
Maybe you are not sure what the UN Commission is all about! JCOR (Justice Coalition of Religious) at the UN have prepared a user friendly guide to help. It is in PowerPoint Format – 12 slides in all. Slide 5 has details of the Civil Society Forum 23. Slides 7 has details of two events that the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd are co-sponsoring including how to register. Slides 9, 10 and 11 contain social media information including suggested messaging. Slide 12 is a Take Action slide inviting you to sign the civil society declaration which is in English,French,Spanish and Portuguese. Click here to sign the Declaration
¡Quizás no esté seguro de qué se trata la Comisión de la ONU! JCOR (Coalición de Religiosos por la Justicia) en la ONU ha preparado una guía fácil de usar para ayudar. Está en formato PowerPoint – 12 diapositivas en total. La diapositiva 5 tiene detalles del Foro de la Sociedad Civil 23. La diapositiva 7 tiene detalles de dos eventos que la Congregación de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Buen Pastor está copatrocinando, incluido cómo registrarse. Las diapositivas 9, 10 y 11 contienen información sobre redes sociales, incluidos mensajes sugeridos. La diapositiva 12 es una diapositiva para tomar acción que lo invita a firmar la declaración de la sociedad civil que está en inglés,francés, español y portugués. Haga clic aquí para firmar la Declaración.
Peut-être n’êtes-vous pas sûr de ce qu’est la Commission des Nations Unies ! JCOR (Justice Coalition of Religious) à l’ONU a préparé un guide convivial pour vous aider. Il est au format PowerPoint – 12 diapositives en tout. La diapositive 5 contient des détails sur le Forum de la société civile 23. La diapositive 7 contient des détails sur deux événements que la Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Charité du Bon Pasteur coparraine, y compris comment s’inscrire. Les diapositives 9, 10 et 11 contiennent des informations sur les médias sociaux, y compris des messages suggérés. La diapositive 12 est une diapositive Passez à l’action vous invitant à signer la déclaration de la société civile qui est en anglais,français, espagnol et portugais. Cliquez ici pour signer la déclaration
It’s that time of the year, approaching February and the first of the functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations starts on Monday February 6th. The theme this year is ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ SDG 8 decent work and economic growth and SDG 10 reduced inequalities link specifically with the theme. The Commission will be live steamed on UN Web TVand is accessible after the event. This is the first in person event of the Commission since February 2020.
Report of the UN Secretary General
The reportof the Secretary General, available in 6 languages on the theme, gives a good overview of the theme. There is a section on current and future trends in inequality and the labour markets. Between 1993 and 2017 inequality declined by 34% but we are now experiencing increasing levels of inequality, some due to the pandemic but the reversal of trends has started prior to the pandemic. It is distressing to read that a ‘return to pre-pandemic levels of decent work is very unlikely in the coming few years.’ This is now further exacerbated by the impact of the war.
Section A of the report outlines ‘Inequalities in the labour market and structural barriers faced by different categories of workers and disadvantaged groups.’ Groups mentioned include women, indigenous peoples, youth, international migrants and people with disabilities. Unpaid care work and domestic work shouldered mostly by women is noted.
The section effective strategies to create full and productive employment and decent work for all has three headings: (a) focus on policies and regulations for inclusion. Within this Universal Social Protection for all (including floors) is a key tool towards upholding all human rights and overcoming inequalities. It is startling to re-read in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights written 75 years ago this year ‘(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests.’ In effect, the commission will be addressing the theme from these principles. The outcome of the negotiation on the theme in the form of a resolution will point to the strength of political will and the level of trust within the multilateral system to achieve these principles.
(b) Transitioning from informal work to formal work is also seen as an effective strategy as informality of work is a major contributor to working poverty and inequality. (c) A third strategy calls for universal, comprehensive, gender-responsive and sustainable social protection systems, including floors, for all categories of workers. This has been an on-going advocacy approach of the GSIJP office over the years.
Section B of the report focuses on ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work in new, sustainable and growing sectors. Paragraph 48 ‘The social and solidarity economy encompasses co-operative, mutual societies and not for profit and community owned and other social enterprises that recognize the primacy of people and social purpose over capital in the distribution and uses of surpluses and/or profits, as well as assets.
During the Commission Civil Society have their own processes – orientation, delivering the message and thematic session discussing various aspects of the theme. This process is the Civil Society Forum taking place on February 5, February 6 and February 10. The session on February 6th and 10th will be webcast live on UN TV You can keep updated by going to this PAGE.
The many side events taking place during the Commission can be accessed HERE on the Team Up Calendar. All events of the NGOs are virtual and can be joined via the link to a specific platform – some Zoom, some Webex etc. Explore the different titles and do attend some of the events. These event highlight innovation, successes and challenges experienced by NGOs in reaching for our goals. Member States and UN Agencies may have selected to have in-person events. In-person or virtual is indicated on the Calendar. Good Shepherd are co-sponsoring an event with the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors entitled ‘On the the Road to 2025: A new social contract implementing Universal Social Protection, ensuring Full Employment and Decent Work for all.‘ The date is Wednesday February 8 from 1.15 p.m – 3.00 p.m. EST. We are co-sponsoring a second event with the IBVM and the Red Dot Foundation entitled ‘Decent Work for all: Ending vulnerability through education and economic empowerment.’ See the Calendar for updates link to register, flyer etc. for these and other events.
Resolution on the Priority Theme
The NGO community will be following closely the resolution from the Commission on the priority theme ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ We are hoping for a forward looking document which will actualize a way forward in resolving the multiple global issues impacting people and planet. Trust coupled with political will, expressed from within the multilateral system, together with dedicated finances to begin walking the talk is what is required. Divert resources currently dedicated to death and destruction towards enhancement of life for people and planet.
Strong UN Better World
Enjoy this song ‘Strong UN Better World’ sung by The UNRocks Music Group, composed of the Ambassadors of Denmark, Kingdom of Thailand, Kingdom of Tonga, Republic of Korea, Republic of Serbia, and the Representative of UN Secretary-General and Head of United Nations Office in Belgrade. Composed and arranged by Emmy Award-winning composer Gary Fry, with lyrics written by H.E. Ms. Simona- Mirela Miculescu, the single was produced in honor of the United Nations’ 70 years of service and commitment to addressing the world’s greatest challenges.
Happy International Day of the Girl! We at the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office are privileged to present here a round up of activities taking place this week-end in the lead up to the day. The celebrations start in Asia Pacific on Saturday afternoon live on zoom at 2.00 p.m Malaysian ( 2.00 am EST). You can view live or watch later at GSIF Asia Pacific YouTube Channel. It promises to be an exciting fun packed afternoon with engaging conversations on girls rights, featuring girls from countries all around Asia inspiring change for a better world of all.
This is followed by a live zoom from Madagascar networking Africa girls celebrating International Day of the Girl. The session commences at 1.00 p.m. Rome Time (7.00 am EST) and has french interpretation. CLICK HERE TO JOIN See meeting ID etc in the poster
On Sunday 9th October at 11.00 am EST, the GSIJP Office sponsorship event with the Working Group on Girls will be live streamed to Facebook and later uploaded to YouTube. This is a 30 min programme features girl activists Isabel, (Moderator, Philippines), Athabile (South Africa), Gayathri, (Malaysia) Susan, (India) and Christle (Sri Lanka). The theme for the day is ‘policy decision-making in order to produce girl-specific solutions.’ To view our live panel please visit https://www.facebook.com/DayoftheGirlSummit
Athabile had her poem published on Day of the Girl Summit on October 1st together with two other submission that were made from South Africa, one from Uyathandwa and the second from Kiara. You can access by visiting Day of the Girl Summit webpage. Then click on South Africa and the girls names will appear. Then click on the name and their submission will appear. Well done girls in South Africa!
There were other submission uploaded including Shreya (India); Jasmine (India) As other become available I will upload them. Some may be used for the UN Session in the video compilation that will be shown on Tuesday October 11. This bring me to the big day itself. A hybrid event with some girls present in the United Nations and other on line. Good Shepherd have one girl from Latin America who will be presenting by video. Her name is Vivian. The event will be live from the United Nations at 3.00 p.m. EST on UN Web TV and the recording will be available following the event. Misean Cara Ireland wrote to me today to inform me that “Vivian, a young women from Ecuador will participate, through her involvement with your good selves in the RGS “Girls Rights for an Equal Future: Girls-for-girls clubs in Ecuador and Brazil, promoting safe and inclusive education” under our Innovation Funding scheme.”
We in the GSIJP office are very proud our our many girl activists around the world participating in local, regional, and global events on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the International Day of the Girl and their many mentors and Unit Leaders who make every provision for such participation.
The seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly opened on 13 September under the theme, “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges.” The debate session started on September 20th. A flavour of what world leaders have been saying over the past few days at the UNGA 77th Session can be read from PassBlue, September 20, Day 1; September 21, Day 2; September 22, Day 3; September 23, Day 4. Access to the statement of each country has been uploaded HERE on the UN Website. You have a choice to read a summary, listen to the video, and in some cases read the full text. This is helpful if you wish to see what your country, President, Prime Minister, or Foreign Minister has said. The statement of the UN Secretary-General provides a good overview of the multiple and intersecting global issues impinging on people and the planet. Yet the prevalence of war and conflict dominate the conversation with calls for full commitment to the Climate Change Conference at COP 27 (Conference of Parties 27)in Egypt, 6 – 18 November 2022. It is difficult to find any evidence of transformative solutions – yes there are many aspirations that seem to evaporate in the face of the issues.
One event (virtual) on the sidelines of the UN GA that I attended was ‘Faith in the Future’ How faith-based organizations are tackling the hunger crisis. For 9 years hunger declined but today the emergence of acute hunger around the world is alarming. 828 million people go to bed hungry every night, 349 million are experiencing acute hunger with 50 million facing starvation! Why you may ask? The world has changed says Barron Segar, President, and CEO, World Food Program USA listing 4 Cs – Costs are rising, Climate Change, COVID-19, and Conflict. Because Government funding is flat, partnerships become important. Partnership with the private sector fills the funding gap and provides innovative technical assistance. Faith-based organizations and philanthropy are well positioned also because they inspire giving, are trusted on the ground, and have the ability to mobilize and hold values that are critical to problem-solving – the world is one, inclusion etc. The organizations represented on the panel were The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints, Islamic Relief USA, Food for the Hungry, (Africa), and Catholic Relief Services (Latin America). There is one lovely story of an authentic interfaith collaboration between Islamic Relief and Catholic Relief Services in Africa.
This event showcases what is happening on the ground to alleviate hunger on a daily basis while encountering the multiple challenges posed by the 4 Cs.
Concurrently while the UN GA is debating through each state making its own statement, CSOs are engaging in the ‘Global People’s Assembly’ September 20 – 22 with over 1000 civil society groups proposing bold steps to transform our world.
This is where the hope for change resides.A Declaration developed with inputs from over 30 national and regional people’s assemblies, was adopted at the three-day Global People’s Assembly on Tuesday 22nd of September. “The time to act is now,” the group calls for a shared political and economic power equally between the global north and global south, for global democracy and a robust civic space. The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd is included in this through our membership in the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors. Implementation of Universal Social Protection is a part of the change we wish to see.
Another part of Good Shepherd’s advocacy toward structural and systemic change is through the Feminist Action Nexus for Economic and Climate Justice. The hashtag #FeministsWantSystemsChange, sums up the advocacy well but you may well ask how? In this session, Women’s Major Group (WMG) and Feminist Action Nexus members and allies will offer testimony of struggles against corporate capture and inspiration for a collective transformation towards a gender-equal world. I attended this event: Corporate Capture vs. Systems Change: Identifying a Feminist Way Forward on Wednesday 21 September. The current advocacy issue – asking UN Women to withdraw their memorandum with Blackrock. Inc based on the letter that was signed by over 700 organizations and individuals. Within Blackrock’s operations, many human rights violations have been identified and documented. Read more in an article in the Guardian.
Following the July 4th Independence Day celebrations in America the United Nations is poised to commence the High Level Political Forum which reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. For background see my blog of June 14. Registration for JCoR SDG Lab where Congregations are sharing ministries and reporting on their implementation of SDG’s is now open here: https://bit.ly/3OfUqWN
As you will see on that registration page, the schedule of Lab sessions will be as follows:
5 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 4-Quality Education (part 1 of 2)
6 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 5-Gender Equality
7 July @ 16:00:17:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 4-Quality Education (part 2 of 2)
11 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 14-Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems
12 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG `15-Healthy Terrestrial Ecosystems
13 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 17-Partnerships for the Goals
Good Shepherd are participating on July 5, SDG 4 with a global girls’ panel (India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Ecuador and Madagascar) speaking to their experiences of education, and reviewing the Voluntary National Reviews (VNT’s) of Sri Lanka and the Philippines. On July 6 Patricia Mosquera (Ecuador) is presenting on SDG 5. On July 7th Genny Dumay from the Philippines is presenting on SDG 4. On July 12th Catharina Indirastuti from Indonesia is presenting on SDG 15 and lastly on July 13th Mary Virgo Espineda from the Philippines is presenting on SDG 17. It is exciting to see such interest and engagement by the Philippines and Sri Lanka in the VNR reports from their countries.
The official website of the HLPF and official program can be easily accessed from the links provided or HERE. All the official programs are live on UN WEB TV and recording will be archived if you wish to review later. A fourth revision of the Ministerial Declaration (the outcome document of the session) has been posed – further consultations took place on June 30. You can check HERE to see the 4th revision and also you will have access to the next version of the document.
Our 31st Congregational Chapter 2021 Direction Statement calls us to “Make a firm Congregational Commitment in alignment with the Laudato Si Action Platform” and the Congregational Position Papers to address the catastrophic consequences of the destruction of our planet caused not only by greed but also by apathy.” The UN Oceans Conference provides one such opportunity to learn more and engage. Laudato Si has some specific references to oceans in Paragraphs 24, 29, 37,40, 41, 48 and 174. The Conference will be held in Portugal with a theme of “Save the Ocean” and hopes to scale up ocean action based on science and innovation for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.
The opening paragraph of the position paper on Integral Ecology reads “we live in a time when science and theology offer reliable global insights about the interconnectedness of life and matter in all forms throughout the universe. This enriches our understanding of the world as a source of deep contemplation and sacred activity, calling us to the heart of what it means to be inclusive and reconciled in all ways with the Whole. It challenges us to re-evaluate prior perceptions, previous understanding, and unquestioned practices”. Paragraph 5 continues “we admit our complicity in perpetuating dualistic and domineering attitudes about the earth. We understand that reconciliation with our earth calls for a new consciousness, a new identity, and new behaviors centered on the kinship of all creation and the implementation of human rights for all. Interdependence demands inclusion of all – non-living and living, non-human and human – without discrimination.” This positioning provides the backdrop for interest in the UN Ocean’s Conference.
Mercy International Association is sharing resources – Mercy Oceans Campaign – which will run in tandem with the UN Ocean Conference next week. The TOOLKIT for this initiative contains videos produced by Mercy Sisters and partners from around the world, as well as thematic reflection papers and resources on many of the themes that will be discussed in Lisbon.
The materials below were compiled by the Mercy Global Action Oceans Taskforce and are available for download and use. It is an incredibly rich and holistic resource beautifully laid out and easy to follow.
The six theme are listed in the graphic above and below is a quick glance at the issues addressed and materials provided. By clicking on Download the TOOLKIT you have access to the link for the six themes followed by a thematic reflection. Don’t forget to share the “Prayer for our Oceans” and use it for personal prayer or in community over the coming week. SDG 14 is one of the goals under review during the High Level Political Forum from July 5 – 15, 2022
Monday June 20 is World Refugee Day. The critical nature today of people journeying from their country of birth to life in another nation has prompted a global effort, led by the UN, to develop comprehensive, people-centered agreements: including a Global Compact on Refugees
June 20 celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives. This year, the focus will be on the right to seek safety. “Every person on this planet has a right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee.” Read more on the UNHCR Website. You have the opportunity from the Website to post your photograph I stand #withrefuges
The Good Shepherd Position Paper on Migration includes references to refugees. Paragraph 3 states “The movement of peoples today includes migrants, temporary workers, refugees, asylum seekers, internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless persons, each defined under separate legal frameworks in national and international law; all are entitled to move in safety and dignity.” This links directly with this years’ theme. Paragraph 5 outlines our response “We embrace our Judeo-Christian spiritual foundation that rests on a commitment to “welcome the stranger.” Our first response to migrants and refugees is to welcome them as one would welcome the Divine among us. We honor the culture and heritage each brings and we celebrate the positive contributions newcomers make to the lives and development of host communities. The service needs of persons in resettlement or status regularization are extensive, including language skills, health care, social integration, trauma healing, employment skills, legal help, etc. We listen to their experiences, accompany them, develop programs and work in partnerships to serve complex needs and to facilitate self-empowered social participation.” Paragraph 6 (d) urges us to ensure gender analysis in service planning give attention to women and children, sustaining family relationships, including communication with family in country of origin and 6 (h) to know the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to Status of Refugees and its protocols including the Global Compact on Refugees.
The NGO Committee on Migration has issued the following Statement in honor of World Refugee Day: The Right to Seek Safety. It was presented by Eva Sandis.
The recently concluded International Migration Review Forum summary report identified ‘the need to coordinate between the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees was stressed, as was the need to bring together the work under the Global Compact for Migration, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.’ You can access the NGO Committee on Migration weekly updates on their website.