Beijing Remembered …

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

A very interesting piece on Beijing, 25 years later: Are women better off? was published in Passblue (Independent Coverage of the UN). Take a look!

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.

SEE

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?

Season of Creation September 1 – October 4

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 SEASON OF CREATION – 2020     Series A: The Spirit in Creation
September 1     Creation Day
September 6     1st Sunday in Creation –  Forest Sunday
September 13   2nd Sunday in Creation –  Land Sunday
September 20   3rd Sunday in Creation – Wilderness/Outback Sunday
September 27   4th Sunday in Creation – River Sunday
October 1         St Francis of Assisi Day – Blessings of the Animals

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.”

Australian Religious Responsible for Climate Change ARRCC – a multi-faith network committed to action on climate change have prepared Climate Change Action Kits, for your faith, to empower people from different faiths to assist their communities to respond to climate change and care for the earth – Buddist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish

Creation Justice Ministries has an interesting site outlining 52 ways to care for creation.

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!

Stop Child Abuse in Social Media – HLPF Side Event 15 July.

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

Read the full article

The outcome of the side event was a set of Policy Recommendations addressed to National Governments, Technology Companies and Civil Society. We hope that these policy recommendations will be useful in your work. Also have a look at the 5 country ministerial voluntary principles to counter online child sexual exploitation and abuse. Check out Microsoft’s Contribution to Digital Safety. Of course this is not sufficient but it is a beginning. See Cathy Rowan notes on ethical investment and John Tanagho’s Powerpoint Presentation. A Summary of the Study done by International Justice Mission is available here

Some Resources on the SDG’s released during the HLPF 2020

A Sustainable Development Goals Progress Chart 2020 presenting a snapshot of global and regional progress. I extracted SDG 1 and the legend to see extreme poverty and social protection coverage.

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.

See where some the Countries are in which Good Shepherd has a presence and South Sudan is even lower at 165 and there are 27 countries with no data.

You can get country specific data in the country profiles Also the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 provides another way of learning about the implementation of the SDG

Link

The Virtual High Level Political Forum ended yesterday, July 16

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

H.E. Ms Mona Juul – President of the Economic and Social Council

The GSIJP Team – Alexis Schutz and Donatus Lili were active and engaged and captured on virtual platforms.

Alexis Schutz (Center)
Donatus Lili – Right side column, center photo

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.

HLPF Continues – July 13 – 16, 2020. Some events we are engaged in – the first event is separate from the HLPF.

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.

Registration required by July 12th.
Registration Required Link to Concept Note

HLPF and Voluntary National Reviews (VNR’s)

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.

July 14, 10am – 1pm Finland, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burundi, Gambia, Russian Federation.

July 14, 3.15 – 4.15 Micronesia, North Macedonia.

July 15, 10am – 1pm Estonia, Austria, Seychelles, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

July 15, 2pm – 4pm Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.

July 16, 9am – 1pm Comoros, DRC, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malawi, Republic of Moldova, Zambia.

July 16, 2pm – 4pm Barbados, Liberia, Solomon Islands

Check the website and click on date The session will be webcast on UN Web TV Live at the date and time or in the archives for listening at a later time.

Map showing the number of countries for each region.

This page of the website gives you the list of the 47 counties with a copy of the report that the country has provided to the United Nations.

HLPF – High Level Political Forum – is virtual this year!

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.

Call of UN Secretary General addressing Violence Against Women

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for measures to address a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” directed towards women and girls, linked to lockdowns imposed by governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic: 

Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.

Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world.

I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.

YouTube

Observance of International Women’s Day at the United Nations

This morning, Friday March 6, an event marking the observance of International Women’s Day at the United Nations HQ, New York was held. Women rallied under the banner “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights. The Event was moderated by Sade Baderinwa, WABC News. The programme for the events …

The webcast of the event can be seen here. Do listen to Secretary General’s address to those present. “Gender inequality is the overwhelming injustice of our age and the biggest human rights challenge we face…” Read more It was a joy for me to hear Alexandria Villaseñor, a 14 year old climate activist speak from inside the United Nations. She sat for 65 Fridays outside the UN. She is the Gretta Thunberg of New York! Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate speaks about the reality. Who is your star?

Colleagues waiting for the event to commence

UN Women launched a book entitled ‘Gender equality: Women’s rights in review 25 years after Beijing.’ It marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as the first time that progress on the implementation of the Platform is reviewed in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Publication in full

On 4 March, UNICEF launched A New Era for Girls: Taking stock of 25 years of progress, a joint report with Plan International and UN Women that reviews progress, and lack of, for girls since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The report supports the goals of Generation Equality, a multi-partner platform and campaign led by UN Women, Governments of France and Mexico and civil society that aims to accelerate progress for girls’ and women’s empowerment.

While girls’ lives are better today than they were 25 years ago, progress remains uneven, particularly across regions. The report notes that the number of out-of-school girls has dropped by 79 million in the last two decades. Yet, violence against women and girls is still common. An astonishing 1 in every 20 girls aged 15-19 – around 13 million – has experienced rape in their lifetimes, one of the most violent forms of sexual abuse women and girls can suffer.

The report also points to concerning negative trends for girls in nutrition and health, concerns about poor mental health, and that girls remain at high risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Additional findings include:

  • The adolescent birth rate has declined from 60 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 to 44 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19.
  • The proportion of young women who were married as children has declined globally from 1 in 4 to approximately 1 in 5.
  • The prevalence of overweight among girls aged 5-19 has nearly doubled from 9 per cent to 17 per cent.
  • Globally, 970,000 adolescent girls aged 10-19 years are living with HIV today compared to 740,000 in 1995, a 31 per cent increase.
Read the report

In the context of the 25-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, the EDVAW Platform is launching a publication to present its contribution to the implementation of the BPA and to providing unified responses to the challenges to women’s rights to a life free from violence and discrimination.

There are seven UN and regional independent women’s human rights expert mechanisms mandated to address discrimination and gender based violence against women and girls. All of these mechanisms are entrusted with monitoring and supporting the implementation of States’ commitments under the global and regional women’s human rights frameworks, including the Beijing Platform of Action, the 2030 Agenda, and UN and regional instruments on women’s rights.

The expert mechanisms support and complement each other in these efforts for implementation through a dynamic and complex relationship, under the Platform of independent expert mechanisms on discrimination and violence against women – EDVAW Platform.

Click here to read the publication.

Another publication launched today by UNDP is ‘Tackling Social Norms: A game changer for gender inequalities’ questioning pervasive bias and prejudice against women held by both men and women worldwide. The results indicate that almost 90% of men/women globally are biased against women. Read more HERE with links in French and Spanish

All of these publications are directly and explicitly related to our position papers and ministries. Explore them with the position papers in one hand and your strategic plan in the other. Happy International Women’s Day!