UN General Assembly 78th Session – High Level Week – The Stakes are High

The words of the UN Secretary General at a press conference following the opening of the 78th Session of the General Assembly

” My appeal to world leaders will be clear: 

This is not a time for posturing or positioning. 

This is not a time for indifference or indecision. 

This is a time to come together for real, practical solutions.

It is time for compromise for a better tomorrow.

Politics is compromise.

Diplomacy is compromise.

Effective leadership is compromise.

If we want a future of peace and prosperity based on equity and solidarity, leaders have a special responsibility to achieve compromise in designing our common future for our common good.

Next week here in New York is the place to start.”

All you every need to know about the General Assembly and what is taking place from September 16 to 29

JCOR have prepared a very informative guide in Powerpoint to help us navigate at home and at the UN Headquarter in NY. It is available in four languages English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Get a sense of when your national leaders are going to address the assembly on Slides 6,7 and 8. Social media with sample messenging are towards the end.

Read about the Sustainable Development Summit and the Sustainable Development Action Weekend in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese

My proposed scheduled

Saturday September 16: Mobilization Day: Opening Session of the SDG Action Weekend followed by ‘Towards a Rights-Centered Gender-Transformative Economy, including a new International Financial Architecture” organized by Women’s Major Group, with the suppor of UN Women. It will be live on UN Web TV from 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm. EST. This is followed by a side event at 2.15 pm. entitled from SDG Summit to Summit of the Future: building the UN we Need in Conference Room 4 and lastly at 4.15 pm EST : Towards the Realisation of SDGs: Multi-stakeholder, Intersectional and Intergenerational Approach.

Sunday September 17th: I will attend the Global People’s Assembly at the Church Center. 9.00 am EST Opening Plenary; 11.15 am Which Financial Architecture for Economic Justice; 1.30 pm Linkages of Pushback, Linkages of Resistence: Gender, Climate, Migration and Democracy and at 3.00 p.m. join the Climate March.

Monday, September 18 is the first day of the SDG Summit with a leaders dialogue taking place in the UN. From 9.00am – 11.00 am EST I will attend the second day Global People’s Assembly in a session entitled Feminist Economy. The conclusion of the day is around Civil Society Networking followed by Final Plenary and Public Action at 6.30 p.m. EST Concurrently, Religions for Peace have an event TRILATERAL PARTNERSHIP OF REGIONAL FAITH-BASED NETWORKS FOR THE SDGs: Register HERE to attend virtually. Register HERE to attend in person.

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 – 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.

Advocacy Campaign #TaxJustice for Women’s Rights

The Campaign #TaxJustice for Women’s Rights has just launched a 15 page CAMPAIGN TOOLKIT  #TaxJustice for Women’s Rights – Global Days of Action – 8-24 March 2017.  ¿QUÉ ESTÁ EN JUEGO? en español

I am going to highlight some points of entry as I can hear you say “I don’t have time to read 15 pages.”  “I  don’t know anything about tax.”  “What is #TaxJustice?”

Page 8      7 Reasons Why We Need #TaxJustice for Women’s Rights   Print out the sheet for reference.   #TaxJustice is when taxes are fairly raised and fairly spent.

  • Tax is the key building blocks of society
  • Tax is the most sustainable source of Government revenue
  • Tax avoidance and tax breaks to big business costs developing countries
  1. #TaxJustice helps girls get a better education
  2. #TaxJustice reduces women’s and girls’ unpaid care burden.
  3. #TaxJustice helps women get life saving health services.
  4. #TaxJustice reduces violence against women and girls.
  5. When multinational corporations and the very rich don’t pay their fair share of tax, it hurts women most.
  6. #TaxJustice helps access to clean water that keeps women safer and builds their economic power.
  7. #TaxJustice provides social protection for women.

Focus this topic in a community meeting, a justice prayer, a Lenten reflection, a capacity building session with girls and women.  Use the  Powerpoint – Getting the Conversation Started.  How does #TaxJustice for Women’s Rights link with our Position Papers?

If you use social media there are many suggestion as to what to write – for

  • Facebook: go to page 12 of the toolkit … pictures that you can use are already prepared In English, French and Spanish  Alternatively like me on Facebook and share my Facebook posting with your friends.
  • Twitter see pages 9, 10, 11 and 12   Pages 11 and 12 are prepared tweets  My twitter handle is @winifreddoherty @gsijp  retweet the messages.

If you are a little more adventurous get engaged in a national campaign – Write a letter – the template is prepared.

Lastly there are key dates to be aware of:

  • March 2 Oxfam International will launch a report on women’s economic empowernment
  • March 8th International Women’s Day
  • March 13 -24 is the Commission on the Status of Women – Theme:  “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.’
  • March 15 ActionAid International will release a new report on macroeconomics and violence against women
  • March 16 #TaxJustice for Women’s Rights forum in NY
  • March 22 World Water Day – Ensure the Human Right to Water.

Your GSIJP Team in New York will be fully engaged in CSW 61.  We are delighted to welcome Sr. Jane Joan Kimathi from Kenya to join us.



Social Development

” … Almost 40 years later, on 3-12 February 2016, CSocD will meet again under the Romanian chairmanship and, as Ambassador of Romania to the UN, I will chair this 54th session. The reform of the UN social sector is once more on its agenda, this time in the context of implementing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted last September. After all, as the UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson remarked a few days ago: “Development is a work in progress. Development is never finished”.   Read more here


H.E. Mr. Ion Jinga Ambassador of Romania to the UN (center) is chair of the 5 member-state bureau of the Commission for Social Development.  There other members are Mr. Andreas Glossner (designate) Germany; Ms. Amina Smaila. Nigeria;  Luz Andujar, Dominican Republic; and Mr. Mohammad Hassani Nejad Pirkouhi (designate) Islamic Republic of Iran.

For each Commission the Secretary General prepares a report on the theme of the Commission.  For the 54th session the theme is ‘Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world‘  It is in Spanish, English, French, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.

There are 5 sections including Introductions and Conclusions and Recommendations.

Section 2:  Social Policies for sustainable development has two subsections.

  • A. Supporting a people-centered, inclusive, and integrated 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and
  • B. Eradicating poverty, promoting equality and decent work and respecting human rights.
    • A universal policy framework centered on social justice, inclusion and participation. 2
    • Promoting inclusion through special, targeted measures.

Principles and values are well enunciated – people-centered, inclusive, integrated, equality, human rights, and social justice.  However, the challenge is how to close the gap between the values and the reality.  One mechanism that Good Shepherd is supporting is the implementation of National Floors of Social Protection reference in Paragraph 19 as one example of a concrete action, and it is achievable but requires political will.  Such implementation Social protection floors is an intergal part of the right to social security coming form Article 22 of the Declaration on Human Rights .     Article 22  “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”  It is encouraging to read of the movement towards universal health coverage in Indonesia, Rwanda, Thailand and Vietnam.

  • C.  Promoting inclusive institutions and participation
  • D.  Social policies as a means for inclusive growth and environment protection.

Section 3 Strengthening coherent approaches to policymaking for sustainable development

This is a direct challenge to the silo approach focusing only one policy to the detriment of others.  The Secretary General report call for the aligning of macroeconomic policy frameworks with social and environmental goals. (Paragraph 34)  What could be the scenario in Kolwezi where the documentary  Maisha – A life outside the mines  was filmed if in the first instance macroeconomic policy was aligned with social and environmental goals?  Even today, how can the empowered people of Kolwezi move towards participation in decision making in all that affects the life of the community at the social, environmental and economic level, locally, nationally and internationally?  Maisha CSocD Side Event Concept Note (1)   The end of Paragraph 35 suggests that  social and environmental policies should be integrated into macroeconomic policy frameworks.  This, in my opinion is to continue with the same model that caused the problem in the first place.   Rather,  we should be attempting to integrate the macro-economic policy into robust social and environmental policy framework thus addressing ‘the underlying structural causes of development challenges’ (Paragraph 5).  Social injustice, environmental injustice, systemic exclusion, poverty and inequality are largely the results of dominant macro economic policy.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has the vision but do we have the will and the courage to implement it?

Section 4 Financing a social perspective on development  

Successful implementation of any policy requires sufficient and sustainable financing. Resources are in abundance.  There never appears to be shortage of resources for military operations.  The cleft between richness and poverty is gross.  A human rights framework underpins true social development with the principles of equity, social justice and solidarity that were the foundation of the World Summit for Social Development.

Some quotes from Laudato Si on Inequality

Para 48  The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.

Para 49  … Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

Para 82  Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination.  When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society.  This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up on the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all.  Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, and peace.

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From the Financing for Development Conference Addis Ababa July 13 – 16, 2015

Just about now the official opening of the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development will take place at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) amid high security.  I will not attend the opening as passes for Civil Society are very limited for the opening session.  However 500 passes will be available from 1.00 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis.  I think this is adequate for the numbers attending.  Last evening completed the two day civil society forum which was held at the Dessalign Hotel and it was preceded on Friday by a Women’s Forum at the Dreamliner Hotel.  I attended the afternoon session and then went to the Dessalign Hotel for the official opening of the Civil Society Forum.  There are eight to 900 participants.  Many are from Africa as the Conference is in Africa.  Yesterday afternoon Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon addressed civil society.  He recognized that CSO’s speak on behalf of millions of people for a better world and his hope was that world leaders listen to our voice.  He said that expectations are high but negotiations are difficult and the robust engagement and advocacy of CSO’s was required.  He noted that the financial world is very complex but that this is the time for Global Action for people and planet ending abject poverty and caring for the planet. The Secretary General sees success in a tripartite relationship between Government, the Private Sector and Civil Society. If any of the three are missing then success is hampered.  He reiterated ‘You are the voice of the people, make this world and its people sustainable.’

On a personal note, when I attended Eucharist yesterday (Sunday) the homily was very affirming of I being in Addis for this conference on behalf of Good Shepherd throughout the world.  In Ethiopia, the liturgical year is a few  weeks behind the Roman calendar so the readings and Gospel were the same as celebrated in Angers on the last Sunday of the Chapter (June 28th). The homilist spoke about social sin – exclusion, discrimination, accumulation, lack of reconciliation and forgiveness.  He said we are all entangled in social sin and have responsibility for it. For me, making the links I felt that this was truly my mission here in Addis, on behalf of you all,  during this week to confront this social sin of greed, growing inequality, continual gender inequality, exclusion, discrimination, lack of human rights, and lack of accountability.  It was in the words of the direction statement ‘a movement of the Spirit impelling us (me) to respond with even greater urgency to the cry of our wounded world.’ Attending the Conference is one way ‘ to address global issues’ as enunciated in our chapter statement poverty, human trafficking, forced migration, refugees, gender inequality, violence towards women and children, and religious intolerance.’

As negotiations of the outcome document for Financing for Development is negotiated between now and Thursday evening we are hopeful that there will be consensus and agreement.  We hope that the negotiations will truly tackle the structural injustices in the current global economic system.  The document as it currently stands does not yet ‘rise to the challenges that that the world is currently facing.  Some of the giant issues that need to be addressed are Debt, International Trade, Systemic Issues, private finance and domestic resource mobilization.  Each of these is a big topic in itself.  The CSO leadership are very expert in all areas and it is indeed heartening to witness their dedication in long hours of meetings, and writings and presentations.  Equally, the Women’s Working Group for Financing for Development (WWG on FfD)  is very active calling unequivocally for the human rights of women and girls in their own right as persons and not in the cause of ‘smart economics’ and profit. Unpaid care work is not addressed currently in the proposed outcome documents.  There is mention of the issue of migration and human trafficking.  Human Trafficking is addressed under illicit flows …. so money is the issue and not the people trafficked. But this is a systemic cause of human trafficking.

Much discussion is about the application of a human rights framework.  Addressing the balance of power between the systematically significant countries and those that are not is what is making discussion so difficult.  Another systemic issue is  how to balance ‘the role of the state as duty bearer against the privilege of private capital, the benevolence of philanthropy and the ambiguity of multistakeholder partnership.’  (Realizing Women’s Human Rights in Development – Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development- June 2015  Friedrich Ebert Stiftung)

Ferew Lemma, our mission partner in Ethiopia is also attending the conference with me.  It is a challenging time with no internet connection or Wifi.  I am writing this from his office while the opening ceremony is taking place.  It is a smaller version of the annual Commission on the Status of Women in New York each year.  There are multiple side event in hotels adjacent to UNECA.  Within ECA there is the plenary sessions, roundtable tables – morning and evening,- and of course the negotiations.  We plan to attend a few side events in the afternoon –  Social and Solidarity Economy, Financing for Development Justice, Girls in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (Name of the official document) and Mission Impossible: Development without Public Service.

Ferew has just brought in a TV to the office – the official opening is televised on local TV.  I have some pictures on my phone but unable to transfer to this laptop.

Invest Ahead for People and Planet! Financing For Development 3

FfD pictureFollow the Financing for Conference;   Press Conference today with Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs on the International Conference on Financing for Development.

The moderator of the event: Ms. Margaret Noviki of the Department of Public Information.

See for more details

#FFD3  #Action2015


Read Prepared Remarks by Naomi Klein at the Vatican

Naomi Klein was attending the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican.  Click here   “We can save ourselves, but only of we let go of the myth of dominance and mastery and learn to work with nature – respecting and harnessing its intrinsic capacity for renewal and regeneration.”

“The truth is that we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us badly, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom.  They produced models that placed scandalously little value on human life, particularly on the lives of the poor, and placed outsized value on protecting corporate profits and economic growth.”   ….   “And because our current system is also fueling ever widening inequality, we have a chance, in rising to climate challenge, to solve multiple, overlapping crises at once.  In short, we can shift to a more stable climate and fairer economy at the same time.”  … “In our conviction that you cannot call yourself a democracy if you are beholden to multinational polluters.”


Conference Secretary General for Financing for Development Wu Hongbo attempting the final push for milestone event

“I urge you to keep in mind that Addis presents a historic opportunity – on that we cannot afford to miss … there are a number of proposals and ideas on the table that are truly transformative.  They should meet the high hopes and expectations that we all have …  We need to ensure an ambitious and meaningful Conference outcome for the future of the peoples and planet” Secretary General Wu Hongbo stressed.  Read more here

The real issues is not lack of resources.  The knowledge and the money to finance sustainable development do exist.  The challenge is to channel these resources to areas and sectors of greatest need.  Naoimi Klein in her book

this Changes Everything‘This Changes Everything’ shows very adeptly that indiscrimate economic growth is the reason why agreements cannot be reached.   The problem is structural. Poverty in the midst of plenty is unconscionable. The effects of climate change are largely ignored.  Greed and the limitless pursuit of profit for the few underlie the current situation with little or no interest in global wealth redistribution or the preservation of the planet.  The conflict exists due to prioritizing values and goals such as achievement, money, power, status and image, and implementation of austerity measures to the neglect of the dignity of each person, human rights, solidarity and the promotion of the ‘local’ and the ‘grassroots’.

Can the new opportunity provided by the Financing for Development Conference be truly transformative  ushering in a new era of equality, ‘leaving no one behind’?  Will this conference challenge the growth of the corporate sector, and the privatization of public sphere by heralding a new era of human rights based sustainable development for people and the planet?