Earlier this year a report was released in which it was shown that around 1 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. Read more here “The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” Sir Robert Watson, Chair of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES),said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.” See the animated video showing the 5 direct drivers of change in Nature with the largest relevant social impacts so far.
High Level Political Forum July 9 -18, 2019 has just begun at the United Nations in New York today. The question is that is central to the debate is how are we doing? This year concludes the ending of the first cycle of implementation (2016 – 2019) and will culminate with a Summit in September under the auspices of the General Assembly.
Yolanda Joab Mori, youth leader from the Federated States of Micronesia, was the most impressive speaker this morning . “Today I look out to this room and I see power. I see people in a position to either make or influence the decisions and actions we need. But the world doesn’t need any more power.
What we need, if we’re ever going to come close to reaching our 2030 Goals, isn’t power, what we need now is action, and to get there we need some courage. Young people are starving to see some courage to see some courage reflected in our leaders. Leadership that has guts to take action. Leadership that is fearless enough to put people and planet above profit. Leadership that is inclusive, uplifts equality and empowers everyone, even a small island girl like me.”
“Indeed, we can call this the children’s HLPF!” Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children.
Najat explained that SDG’s 4, 8, 10 and 16 – directly affect the realization of the rights of children to the best start in life, an education of good quality and a childhood free from violence, abuse, neglect, while ensuring that no child is left behind. Najat noted that there are disturbing trends and emerging challenges that threaten the gains that have been made for children. These include climate change, long terms conflicts and more sever humanitarian disasters, increasing migration and the numbers of children on the move, discrimination, growing inequality and constraints in the availability of financial resources to provide quality services for children and the spread of terror.
The thematic review of SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” will take place later in the afternoon. You can catch up by watching UN Web TV later. Simultaneously there is an event ‘SDG 4: At the Heart of the Achieving the 2030 Agenda as indicated in the flyer below. With regard to structural and systemic issues we need to ask who is profiting when school fees are paid for children to attend school in the face of the concept of universal education as a human right? Who is profiting when children are exploited in the mines? The Secretary General’s report on implementation of the SDG in paragraph 16 “The nexus among inequality, injustice, insecurity and the lack of sufficient trust in Governments and institutions can further hinder the necessary conditions for advancing sustainable development” including education. We at the global level need to advocate against structures and systems that exploit people and planet. We need a strong ethic of solidarity, embracing the logic of the common good and the common dignity of people and care for the planet. We need to advocate for ethical and moral ‘boundaries’ around unfettered economic and financial markets.
Following the HLPF at the UN is usually a 12 hour day affair. The Women Major Group will have their side event from 6.30 to 8.00 this evening addressing systemic issues from feminist perspective.
Read the Women’s Major Group Position Paper – pages 1 and 2 are the executive summary. You can read the review of SDG 4 and recommendations on pages 23-25.
The United Nations High Level Political Forum 2018 (HLPF) commences on Monday July 9 and will finish on Thursday July 18. What is HLPF? It is a United Nations platform on Sustainable Development. The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) was mandated in 2012 by the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), “The Future We Want”.
The HLPF on Sustainable Development provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations. It follows up and reviews the implementation of sustainable development commitments and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It addresses new and emerging challenges; promotes the science-policy interface and enhances the integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
This year the theme is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. The thematic review will concentrate on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, and 17.
Good Shepherd reporting on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (see chart) tells us that we as an organization are not fully cognizant of the intersectionality of the goals. The SDGs under review this year appear to be the same SDG’s that we are weakest on. (see chart below). Reflecting on this leads me to ask where are the people in the goals currently under review?
(Chart from page 5 of Report HLPF 2018- GSIJP Office Report) See Report HLPF 2018
From my personal experience in grassroots ministry working on issues of water, sanitation, and energy for example were always at the core of community development, and women’s empowerment programs with the big focus on addressing the multidimensional aspect of poverty and gender related issues. The focus was people centered – the girls and women carrying water – negotiating with local government for water connections to enable girls to school and mother to have time to earn income. Witnessing fuel carriers (choosing some images from google to make my point) children
and girls carrying such weights, the impetus is to remove the burden from that child, that girl, that mother hoping that the systems and structures that created such dehumanizing conditions would soon change.
Drawing from the Secretary General’s Report Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (see pages 7 and 8) I ask how will the 844 million people around the world who still lack access to a basic drinking water source or the 1 billion without electricity be impacted by this session of the HLPF in 2018? The tension for NGO’s on the ground is between alleviating immediate dehumanizing conditions while waiting for political momentum and resources allocation towards reaching the loftiest ideals of ‘leaving no one behind’ and ‘reaching the furthest behind first.’
Cecilie Kern from the GSIJP Office with the Mining Working Group of which we are members has contributed to publishing a paper on Water, Women & Wisdom a Companion document to Water & Sanitation – A People’s Guide to SDG 6
In El Obeid, the sisters run two schools that have been upgraded from kindergarten to primary. A feature of these services is that they offer opportunities to children to attend school who otherwise would be excluded because of poverty. The school compound has some vegetation (flowers), is equipped with a reservation tank for water storage, and has toilets and clean water. During school holidays, tutorials are provided for the children. Apart from poverty, child, early and forced marriage is a problem that the sisters continue to encounter through education in both locations. (Excerpt from narrative report from Sudan)
It is interesting to see where the links of water, sanitation and energy are in our Position Papers There is no actual naming of SDGs 6 or 7 but reference to water, sanitation and energy are in the papers on Economic Justice and Integral Ecology. See Page 7 (f), Page 14 and page 15 (j) for reference to water and sanitation and energy on Page 15, Paragraph 6 (c) referencing the need for personal responsibility in the use of energy and water, a call to avoid non renewable energy and support low energy production and for support of political action on national energy policies and sustainable water usage.
In our survey report there was one response to SDG 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production. You will not find SDG 12 named in the position papers but the term production and consumption is referenced in Economic Justice and Integral Ecology. In Economic Justice (page 6, paragraph 4) we are challenged to support sustainable production and consumption patterns and the Integral Ecology paper (pages 14 and 15 ) challenges us to re-evaluate prior conception, previous understandings, and unquestioned practices. “We cannot ignore that the “dominant pattens of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of the species.” We see injustice when “communities are being undermined and the benefits of development are not shared equitably.” We know that “injustice, poverty, ignorance and violent conflict are widespread and cause great suffering.” The discord we experience within the very air we breathe, the water we drink, and among our communities calls for a response consistent with our mission of reconciliation which calls us to “join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace.” (Quotes excerpted from the Earth Charter, 2000) The last quotation is an echo of the three pillars of sustainable development – the environmental, the social and the economic – upon which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is founded.
Reference on page 14, paragraph 6 (c) and (i) are apt calling us to convert individual and communal behavior from ecological ignorance to environmental sustainability naming specifically waste and consumption and (i) evaluate and adjust personal and communal decisions in areas of consumption, production, and use of natural resources in the light of sustainability of the universe.
(Met some friends at the film)
Last evening a 40 minute film was premiered in New York and will be launched today across the globe. It is a new phase in the climate movement. It is the story of four communities preparing to participate in Break Free from Fossil Fuel actions in May 2016.
If you check out this link you can get access to a discussion guide that can help initiate discussion Click the tab Posters and More
This is a natural continuation of COP 21 which was held in Paris last December and the signing of the Paris Agreement at United Nations headquarters on Friday April 22nd, 2016.
It could be part of your celebration of Laudato Si which was published one year ago. Naomi Klein is also interviewed on this film. Have you read her book ‘This Changes Everything’?
Terrible news from Honduras regarding human rights defender, Berta Caceres. We will keep her in our thoughts and prayers. She is a victim of what we call the Extractives Development Model–the nexus of unscrupulous business, corrupt government and the devastating extractives industry. (Rosa Lizarde)
We are shocked and saddened to learn of the assassination of Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader of the Lenca people, Berta Cáceres.
Berta Cáceres’ faithful leadership of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH) reflected not only her dedication to nonviolent resistance to illegal logging and mega-projects that devastate the environment but also her deeply felt belief in the rights of indigenous communities to their land and livelihoods. Maryknoll
Photo: Berta Caceres, courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.
Berta Caceres (You Tube) Berta Cáceres, galadornada del Premio Goldman 2015, Honduras
Here are the links to the NGO Briefings during the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Wednesday February 10, 2016 See markers No 21 and 29
Thursday February 11, 2016 The co-chair for this NGO Briefing was Amber Williamson, an intern from Manhattan College, who is interning at the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office. Amber began last week of January and will continue two days a week until the end of May. Secondly, a panel presenter is Susan O’Malley, Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women. She has some interesting points to make around the definition of ‘gender’. See marker 33 for specific reflections. Another interesting concept is the role of the public sector.
Friday February 12, 2016 This is the last of the NGO’s Briefings. See marker 14 Bringing to the attention of the Commission that there are good resource documents for use at grassroots level. One is Making Human Rights Work for those Living in Extreme Poverty and a Hand book on Civil Society Guide to National Floors of Social Protection
Sister Yolanda Sanchez is currently in Paris, attending the COP21 climate change conference. Here’s her update from the first week of the conference, along with lots of pictures. Many thanks to Yolanda for representing us all in Paris!
Hermana Yolanda Sánchez se encuentra actualmente en París, asistiendo a la conferencia delcambio climático COP21 . Aquí está su reporte desde la primera semana de la conferencia, junto con algunas fotos. ¡Muchas gracias a Yolanda por representarnos todos en París!
Sœur Yolanda Sanchez est actuellement à Paris, assister à la conférence sur le changementclimatique COP21. Voici son rapport à partir de la première semaine de la conférence, ainsi que quelques photos. Un grand merci à Yolanda pour nous représenter à Paris!
COP 21: Climate change, change of the system and paradigms.
From November 30 to December 11, 2015, 195 countries are meeting at the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) having as their main objective to review the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change
This is very important, but even more important to me because I am participating in the space called “Climate Generations” (this place gives civil society, NGOs and other participant a space to bring an alternative voice to this Summit). From this it is clear to see that there are many people with a deep commitment to climate change and to changing present paradigms regarding this.
What I lived in this first week of the COP 21? I have signed petitions, I have heard about good practices and alternative initiatives being carried out not only in the developing countries but also in developed countries to reduce the impact of climate change in large and small cities; I have shared with many people who have come from all over the planet -young, less young, religious, people of all confessions- all animated with the desire to share experiences, express a concern in front of the indifference of Governments with regard to climate change and its consequences. Brothers and sisters of indigenous people have also brought their voices and concerns for the destruction of the land that they have inhabited for many centuries.
I have also participated in prayer initiatives carried out, among them the Ecumenical prayer at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. With joy I see that churches have undertaken this COP 21 to also assume the challenges on climate change and its consequences, assuming the responsibility of taking care of “our common home”.
What I have perceived in this atmosphere of COP 21?
On the one hand there is a serious commitment of many people who have become aware that must not only speak of climate change but also a change of system, of paradigms, of ways to consume, and of behaviors. Development must never mean destruction of nature and its resources.
Secondly, I see that the language of human rights appears in the text being discussed. It refers to respect, protection and promotion of human rights for everyone in all of the actions proposed for tackling climate change.
And what is coming after the COP 21? Although this Summit is a turning point and an opportunity to make concrete commitments this is only a part of the solution. Many communities on the planet are still being threatened by the increase in the sea level, deforestation, natural disasters, and pollution of water sources, and there are whole communities in a situation of great vulnerability who will be forced to migrate. Many multinational companies are responsible for the current crisis in which these peoples are living.
A serious and determined will by individual Governments at national level, with or without international agreement is needed to deal with all these situations in which real people are living. Someone said “we cannot wait to have an international agreement to start acting now and take action at the national level”.
Personally, I think that it is also time to engage much more in advocacy work, lobbying, pushing government policies at nationally and internationally level responding to the needs of the people. In this first week of COP 21 I met many sisters and brothers who are already actively engaged in this.
Finally I invite you to meditate, to deepen, and put into practice the teachings that Pope Francis brings us in the wonderful encyclical Laudato SI , it is a source of inspiration and guidance for all peoples of the planet. He invites us to act and to participate in the care of creation, accepting the challenge that he makes us in Chapter 6, number 203 and so on: Towards a new lifestyle – at all levels.
Thanks Yolanda for this write up.
You may be interested in this interactive website – Climate Change Conference in Paris. It is in English and French. Click here You can Learn – get to know the issue, Act – with suggestions as to what to do, and Follow the conference day after day.
Read another viewpoint from The Guardian December 4th and check what your national papers are reporting. Do look at the video in the middle of the article.