Linking the Parable of the Fig Tree with the experience of the Commission on the Status of Women

A quote for Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason at closing of the Commission on the Status of Women from the Irish Poet Seamus Heaney. ‘Walk on air against your better judgement”  and from Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women quoting Mary Robinson quoting Nelson Mandela on another occasion during the commission – “We are prisoners of hope” sum up some of the experience of the commission.    The Lebanon Representative quoted Simone Beauvoir ‘never forget it will be enough for one political, economic or religious crisis for women’s right to be questioned. These rights can never be taken for granted.  You must remain vigilant your whole life.’ 

I reflected on the above quotation against the backdrop of the parable on the fig tree Luke 13:6-9.  ‘…for three years I have come in search of fruit …but have found none.’  The Commission on the Status of Women has just completed its 63rd session.  See https://winifredd.wordpress.com for more reflections on the outcome. Susan Daily, an Australian Sister of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin (Loreto), an artist gave us this piece of art for Sunday’s reflection. I was struck by the color and the fruit. This reflects my vision for gender equality and the full recognition of the human rights of girls, women and children, indeed for all people to be in relationship of respect in the face of diversity and difference.

Susan Daily

There is an Ethiopian Proverb that says ‘little by little the egg walks’.  The Direction Statement of the Congregation (2015) states ‘We struggle to find a way to address global issues.  We identified the most pressing needs of today as poverty, human trafficking, migration, refugees, gender equality, violence towards women and children and religious intolerance.”   All of these issues are in one way or another part of what the two weeks of CSW and the Agreed Conclusions were about.  I/we who attended CSW on your behalf were struggling to address global issues through the framework of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Second Week of CSW 63

Second week of CSW 63 started this morning with attendance at the NGOCSW Morning Briefing. Side events commenced at 8.15 a.m and parallel events at 8.30 a.m. I am attending two parallel event this afternoon – one sponsored by the Women’s Major Group and the second an event on Human Trafficking organized by Mercy International.

All issues at the United Nations are interconnected. SDG 5 is central to the 2030 Agenda and mainstreamed throughout the other goals – girls and women in relation to poverty, food, heath, education , gender equality, water and sanitation, energy, decent work, resilient infrastructure (being addressed by CSW 63) inequality, cities, consumption and production, climate change, oceans, land, peaceful societies and partnership.
See SDG and Lent in English French Spanish
Today March 18th picks up SDG 5 and is reflecting on Human Trafficking.
A parallel event the leadership of Mercy International, the Permanent Mission of Belarus to the UN, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and Good Shepherd Welcome House, Cebu, Philippines! Check out two publications: I Have a Voice Trafficked Women – in their own words and Inherent Dignity – An Advocacy Guidebook
Your team Alexis and Winifred advocating for girls – on panels, at the Girls Caucus, and throughout the negotiation of the agreed conclusion which will be happening all of this week. We have been using the position paper on the Girl Child to inform our advocacy.

Day 3 of CSW 63 – Featuring the NGOCSW Morning Briefing

Webcast of NGOCSW Morning Briefing featuring Women’s Human Rights

Asa Regner is the Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. Asa is from Sweden and was appointed to this role in March 2018. Read more Andrew Gilmore is Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, heading OHCHR’s office in New York. He outlined the distinction between ‘pushback’ against women’s rights and ‘backlash’. Pushback is resistance to the human rights agenda whereas backlash is a reaction to the same agenda. We hear with increasing frequency these words both in discussion and examples in people’s lives. Reprisals are a growing phenomenon. Persons and groups are prevented from co-operating with the United Nations, and in some cases there are reprisals and punishments for having cooperated with the United Nations. Women Human Rights Defenders are particularly vulnerable to reprisals, on line harassment, sexual assault, and targeting of family members. Haydee Castillo was on the panel too sharing on the situation in Nicaragua.

Secretary General held a townhall meeting with women gather for CSW 63 yesterday March 12. “To promote human rights for all, as gender equality is a central instrument for human rights.  To ensure development for all, as gender equality is a fundamental tool for development.” Read more

Attended the US Women Caucus at noon today. Guest Speaker Elahe Amani who gave an outline of the recent history of the Women’s Conferences, CSW and UN Women. “We do not come to CSW to attend parallel events but to hold Governments accountable and to advance progressive policies which if implemented would make a change.”
Elahe Amani
See the website

Christmas Wishes -Voeux de noël -Deseos navideños

This mending blessing was in some advent reading I was doing –  I love it as I reflect on advocacy work.  ‘The work of repair is aching in its slowness and beautiful in the inches by which it will arrive!’   ‘To dream within the rending of the world that might be made.’

Christmas Card English

Cette bénédiction réparatrice était dans une lecture de l’avent que je lisais – je l’aime en pensant au travail de plaidoyer.  ‘Le travail de reparation fait souffrir dans sa lenteur, et émerveille dans les pas par lesquels il survient.’ ‘À rêver dans le déchirement du monde qui pourrait advenir.’

Christmas Wishes French

 Esta bendición reparadora estaba en una lectura de adviento que yo leía; me encanta pues permite reflexionar sobre la labor de incidencia.   ‘El trabajo de reparación es dolorosopor su lentitud, pero es maravilloso su avance,centímetro a centímetro,hasta llegar al éxito.’  ‘A soñar aun entre los escombros en que el mundo se podría convertir.’

Christmas Card Spanish

 

International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women and Girls

The International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women will be celebrated at the United Nations on Monday November 19th ahead of the the start of the 16 days campaign to end violence against women on November 25th which is a Sunday.

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The theme adopted for he 16 days is Orange the World: #HearMeToo     Under the theme Orange the World: #HearMeToo, the UNiTE partners are encouraged to host events with local, national, regional and global women’s movements, survivor advocates and women human rights defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, policy-makers and the public. As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the initiative.

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JuliaJulia Quick writes Good Shepherd Services in Malaysia have planned 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based violence focusing on girl-child.   Below is the write up by Ms Chin Poh Choo, Director of Good Shepherd Services, Malaysia.

*Good Shepherd Services, Malaysia Goes Orange*  They have been ‘Orange’ for a number of years.  This photo recalls 2016

Malaysia

This year, 2018 Good Shepherd’s 16 Days of Activism will shine a light on the Girl-Child.
A 16 Days Reflection Booklet containing courageous stories from girl-child survivors and reflection on perspectives of  sexual gender-based violence in the context of indigenous communities in Sabah, will be launched to kick-off the campaign on 25 November 2018 in Tambunan.  The printed booklet will be in Bahasa Malaysia while the English version will be available online.

A #HearMeToo 6km run along the scenic rice fields in Tambunan which is expected to draw a field of  about 400 runners from the district will follow after the official launch.

Tambunan is the site of GSS’ community-based program on the protection and safety of the Girl-Child which involves 18 villages over a span of three years.  Through the project we have managed to  engage  with state government agencies and key stakeholders in communities to dialogue on native customary practices and laws on the issue of SGBV.  It is hoped that at by the end of the third year, communities will be mobilized and
empowered to spearhead the advocacy for positive changes to the customary laws and practices that can provide a more comprehensive protection for the girl-child in indigenous communities.

Daily events  throughout the 16 days will be conducted across the various Good Shepherd  ministries, educations institutions and communities in Sabah and in Ipoh.

 

SutisaFrom Nong Khai, Thailand – Sutisa Utalun writes “I and all the Good Shepherd Team have just finished our third meeting with Government partners regarding the upcoming event on ending violence against women and children.  The event will be held on November 30th and we expect up to 5,000 participants in the event.  Sutisa posted some pictures on her Facebook on November 8th

Sutisa 4‘Thank you to the governor of Nong Khai, the great mind and the Deputy Governor of  Nong Khai,  who sees the importance of the collaboration of our brothers in all sectors, engaging  in joint resistance and opposition to all kinds of violence, including the slave trade in the form of human trafficking in this new era.   The event will take place at the cultural courtyard of the royal culture of the royal sirindhorn of the royal family of Thailand  from 13:00 pm -16:00 pm.”  Sutisa hopes to meet all the brothers and sisters. See you soon!

Orange the World

 

 

 

Mapping of the Sustainable Development Goals

An interesting mapping of the Sustainable Development Goals is available HERE

The UN Office at Geneva has mapped out the expertise on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) found across international organizations, NGOs and other institutions based in Geneva.  Good Shepherd’s main focus – contributing operations in the field to SDG’s 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,16, and 17.   Also, focusing on gender equality and poverty eradication in Norms and Standard Setting, Legal Frameworks and Support, Capacity Building and Training and Outreach, Advocacy and Communication! Well done Good Shepherd!  Check out the website – it is interactive and an interesting way to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals

Thanks to Sr Marie Halligon we have some french translation “Ah oui, mais l’avez-vous lu? ND de Charité du Bon Pasteur contribue aux opérations 1, 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 17 et 17 de SDG, en mettant davantage l’accent sur l’égalité des sexes et l’éradication de la pauvreté dans les normes et standards, les cadres juridiques et le soutien, les capacités Bâtir et former et sensibiliser, défendre et communiquer! Bravo NDC du Bon Pasteur!”

 

Mapping

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Another interesting website is the The Human Rights Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals   See Spanish:    La guía de los derechos humanos a los ODS  and French:   Le Guide sur les droits de l’homme dans les Objectifs de Développement Durable 

Attended – Special Meeting on “Towards sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies through participation of all” May 23, 2018

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On May 23 the President of ECOSOC H.E. Marie Chatardová, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic, held a Special Meeting entitle “Towards sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies through participation of all.”   Here is  the Agenda for the meeting.  I was privileged to have Joan Wu accompany me to this meeting. It was a full day.  The panelists were excellent and provided a wide range of perspectives and suggestions.  See who’s who in the  Biographies of the various panelists.  The ones that interested me most were H.E. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.  I liked her capturing of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as ‘an agenda of the people, by the people and for the people, and it is an agenda to be achieved with the people.’  To conclude Her Excellency said  ‘The 2030 Agenda needs the participation of all actors to ensure no one is left behind and that all can enjoy prosperity, dignity and opportunity in a world of peace.  Let us, therefore, join our efforts for a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future.’   A summary of Session 2 and 3 can be read HERE   If you prefer see and hear the WEBCAST   I added to the discussion see marker 1:18 focusing on ‘leave no one behind.’  “Many of the people whom Good Shepherd represents are outside the political arena.  Until such time as we address the divide that exists between this meeting here this morning and the people I represent in these countries,  whom I say are outside of the political arena,  I don’t think we will have movement and progress because of  growing inequality,  threat of conflicts, climate change and disasters, as some of the panelists have already noted.   We have to walk the talk by putting the resources at the most vulnerable, most excluded groups and bringing them into the political arena to talk about how they wish to participate and what can be done in these situation.  They work in groups in terms of their own empowerment but are not contributing to local and national development.   I would like to raise this issue this morning in the light of moving forward.  Thank you.”

Michale Shank the moderator of panel two offered 7 c’s with regard to citizen participation and community engagement.  Tactic (1 and 2);  Objective (3 and 4);  Process (5)  and Results (6 and 7)

  • campaign mode
  • crowd-sourcing – not merely using internet
  • consensus building
  • community wide engagement
  • communication – not PR or selling but reflecting back what the community is doing so the feel part of the process
  • concrete commitment
  • conflict prevention

Do you know about participatory budgeting?   This was presented by Francesco Tena.  Check out Participatory Budgeting

  • money that matters
  • grassroots leadership
  • inclusive design
  • targeted outreach
  • equity criteria.

What is e-governance and e-participation?  Listen to Dr Aroon Manoharan.

Session 4 was in the afternoon – a good opportunity to hear Andrew Gilmore,  Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Head of New York OHCHR Office.  Human Rights are paramount.  Session 4   I was interested to know that sometimes Parliaments don’t know about ‘Voluntary National Reviews’ (VNR’s) and it was noted by Tomáš Rákos that participation would be much more robust if quality civic education was imparted to all coupled with the existence of trust between people and government!    2018 ECOSOC 10

Toward the end of this panel Margaret O’Dwyer,  Daughters of Charity were able to share SEE