Ending week one -‘Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality’ – HLPF 2019.

My assessment of how the global community is doing ‘Empowering the girls, women and children Good Shepherd accompany and ensuring their inclusiveness and equality’ is not too well! The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 tells the story The question asked on the front page of the report is telling. ‘We must ask ourselves if our actions today are laying the right foundation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?’ The specific set of Goals reviewed this week were SDG 4, 8, 10, 13 and 16. Some of the headlines in the SDG 4 report are: Shockingly low proficiency rates in reading and mathematics signal a global learning crisis’; ‘Early childhood education offers a head start in school, but one third of the world’s children are being left behind’; ‘Progress has stalled in reaching out-of-school children’; ‘Too many schools in sub-Saharan Africa lack the basic elements of a good quality education: trained teachers and adequate facilities’; and ‘Despite progress, 750 million adults still cannot read and write a simple statement; two thirds of those adults are women.’ See SDG 4

I attended the side event SDG 4: At the Heart of Achieving the 2030 Agenda co-sponsored by groups that have education at the heart of their mission. The panelists presented a range of examples of inclusive, quality education. It was noted that injustice is inherent in the educational system.

Sr. Nakato Betty RSCJ outlined some principles underlying quality and inclusive education and depicted the current interaction of the system of education with the student to asking a fish to climb a tree!

Mr. Brian Fitzsimons with International Presentation Association presented a project ‘iScoil Ireland’ begun in 2007 that seeks to addresses the ‘shockingly low proficiency rates in reading and mathematics’ mentioned in the SDG report through interactive, flexible, and personalized learning using technology and multiple modes of assessment leading to a recognized accreditation with 82% receiving a qualification.

Kristin Hokanson, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur presented Education for Life with Sustainable Development Goals integrated into the virtual school.

Nick Newland, Associated Country Women of the World spoke to the situation of education in conflict affected and fragile states and this should be at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. I was reminded of an article in Global Sisters Report that you may help helpful to situate your self in the reality of the camp with the Society of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.

Nick Newland addresses the issue of education in conflict affected and fragile states.

The Spotlight Report was launched on Thursday morning. This is the 4th edition of the report which seeks to track progress across the Agenda and the individual goals. The findings are that progress is seriously off track. Progress has not and will not come with accelearation or resources. Rather a major shift in policy is required with serious attention being given to the role of the public sector in line with responsibility for human rights and the public resources required to implement the goals. There is a need for strong institutions and good governance for sustainability. In the Spotlight Report there is a chapter on SDG 4 By Antonia Wulff, Education International The chapter can be accessed here It gives a very good insight into what is really happening. “In practice, numerous actors are competing for influence, particularly on defining what works in education, as so-called knowledge-based economies, grapple for growth and hunt for quick fixes in education. The SDGs are to be implemented in a political landscape where the UN system struggles to assert its relevance and values; gone are the days when UNESCO was the obvious authority in education, to which countries would turn for policy advice. This matters because agreement continues to be sought as to what the broad priorities within SDG 4 mean in practice, such as quality education or relevant learning. Governments have committed to a shared level of ambition and set of priorities but at the end of the day it is up to each government to translate them into more specific national policy.”

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2019

While numerous actors are competing for influence – the World Bank, the OECD, the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission), and the London-based Varkey Foundation – NGO’s are at the cutting edge empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality as demonstrated at the SDG 4 event for individuals and groups within society but who notices, how counts?

I began the week on Sunday July 7th being a panelist at a Water Aid event – presenting an overview of SDG 4. My question to the participants was do we continues to advocate for our separate individual issues in relation to education or do we advocate for structural and systemic change? The Secretary General’s Report had some stark comments: “In 2016, one third of all primary schools lacked basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services, affecting the education of millions of school children, but particularly girls managing menstruation.” In 2018, one fifth of the world’s youth were not in education, employment or training… There is a stark gender difference. Young women were more than twice as likely as young men to be unemployed or outside the labour force and not in education or training.” I called for collective advocacy to challenge the unethical dimensions of the financial markets, financial institutions and an unscrupulous sector. When preparing for this I had access to two excellent presentations showcasing what Good Shepherd are doing in the Democratic Republic of Congo focusing on the education of children who were engaged in child labour and in Puket, Thailand with a focus on the education of children whose parents have migrated to Thailand. These programmes demonstrate holistic rights-based education.

Protecting the Human Right to Education
#ChildrenNOTMiners

NGO’s are often not recognized, not counted, not consulted, not included. But we do what we do best, ‘upholding the dignity of every person in the face of gross inequalities, violations of human rights, and the stubborn persistence of gender based violence against the girl child, women and children.

What took place at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at a glance.

HLPF in NumbersHLPF VNR's

The 8 days concluded with a Ministerial Declaration.  The Ministerial Declaration did not happen by consensus as was hoped for but required a vote.  It was adopted by 164 votes in favour and  2 against  (Israel and the United States) and no abstentions.

The Russian Federation requested a recorded vote to delete paragraph 16 on gender equality.  134 Member States voted to retrain the paragraph, 10 were against and there were 10 abstentions.

Vote

UN Water in its report noted that the world is not on track with water and sanitation READ  SDG6_SR_2018_3_highlights_web_ENG and makes suggestions as to what to do.   Secretary General, Antonio Guterres addressing the HLPF said that while much progress has been made, the world has also backtracked in areas that are fundamental to the shared  pledge to leave no one behind.  For the first time in a decade, the number of people who are undernourished has increased, gender inequality continues to deprive women of basic rights, and investment in sustainable infrastructure remains “entirely inadequate” – all amid runaway climate change, eroding human rights and persistent pockets of poverty.

If you have not already reviewed Good Shepherd engagement with the SDG’s the document is here in English and Spanish  Report HLPF 2018 GSIJP Office Final  and Spanish Report HLPF 2018 GSIJP Office Final

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The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 English, Spanish, and French

 

The Sustainable Development Report 2018 – English

Informe de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible 2018 – Español

Rapport sur les objectifs de développement durable 2018 – Français

This report is 40 pages, with some nice graphics and information concerning each of the 17 sustainable development goals

  • Overview/ Panorama general/ Présentation générale  Pages 4 – 13
  • Interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals/ La naturaleza de interconexión de los ODS/  L’interdépendance des objectifs de développement durablePages 14 & 15
  • A Data Revolution in Motion/ Una revolución de datos en movimiento/ La révolution des données a commencé  Pages 16 & 17
  • HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM GOALS IN FOCUS/ ENFOQUE EN LOS OBJETIVOS DEL FORO POLÍTICO DE ALTO NIVEL/ OBJECTIFS PRIVILÉGIÉS DU FORUM POLITIQUE DE HAUT NIVEAU

SDG – Sustainable Development Goals;  ODS  Los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible;   ODD  Les Objectifs de Développement Durable

SDG (ODS) (ODD)  6 Pages 18 – 21; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 7 Pages 22 & 23; SDG(ODS) (ODD) 11 pages 24 &25; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 12 Pages 26&27; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 15 Pages 28&29; SDG (ODS) (ODD) 17 Pages 30-33

  • Note to the Reader/Nota al lector/ Note au lecteur Page 34
  • Regional Groups/Agrupaciones regionales/ Groupements régionaux  Page 35

Regional Groups

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Good Shepherd Report    Spanish coming soon!

‘Raising the Needs of the Girl Child’ at the High Level Political Forum on July 12th

WGG HLPF 2018 Side Event Flyer July 12

The Working Group on Girls was honored to be joined by Her Excellency, Ambassador Sima Bahous of the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jourdan to the United Nations, to raise the needs of the Girl Child during the first week of the High Level Political Forum .  Her Excellency (center)  was warmly welcomed to the event by the Moderator Deisha, and Laura both Working Group on Girls, Girl Advocates.

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Her Excellency highlighted the fact that the SDGs do not exclude the girl child nor is the girl child confined to SDG 5.  In fact, the girl child is impacted for the better by implementation of all the goals but particularly by SDGs 6, 7 and 11,  under review this year.  The education of girls is key to their empowerment and further, girls are change agents in their communities and in society.  They are often affected by social stigma and misunderstanding.  We must never stop advocating for equality and justice.

Winifred Doherty introduced the theme from the perspective of the SDG’s under review.  Read the text Raising the needs of Girls

Panelists included Dr Rimah Salah, Former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, who starting by saying that in both peace and war the girl child is subjected to so much.  She lives in the ‘shadow of inequality’  relegated to care taking, cooking, childbearing, collecting firewood and fetching water – the unpaid labour, which is often not regarded as important by the society.   Peace and sustainable development are indivisible elements towards the girl child’s empowerment and well being.    These elements call for innovative and transformative approaches coupled with  social protection and the implementation of her human rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).  Girls are not a trivial group.  Migrant, displaced and refugee girls should not be criminalize.  In fact they are agents for peace.

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, CEO, Global Network of Women Peace Builders, shared with us the names and experiences of girls affected by war and how being engaged in the  “Girl Ambassadors for Peace” program brought healing, voice, empowerment towards leadership and being agents of peace.    Her sharing provided a moment of moving from head to heart and solidarity with girls who are most affected.   Mavic outlined some of the challenges helping girls who are illiterate to know and understand Security Council Resolution 1325.  Can you imagine the pain experienced when a girl child is a discriminated against as a  ‘terrorist widow’?   How promote a narrative of peace?  How change mindset from ‘violence is cool’ to ‘peace is cool’?  How shift the burden from the girl child to the perpetrator?   Techniques include participatory theater and economic empowerment.

Devika Kumar, presented an initiative she undertook following a visit to India and discovering the harsh reality for girls there during their menstruation days caused by lack of opportunities to use and have access to menstrual hygiene products.  In response to this reality Devika created the MAHI project See more here    Here are some statistics about the reality

  • 23% of girls in rural areas drop out of school due to menstruation
  • 53% of school girls were never provided any type of education about menstruation
  • 27% do not have access to pads, tampons, or other management materials

Laura

WGG Girl Advocate Deisha and Laura did a fabulous job – Deisha moderating and Laura responding to the panelists presentations.  Both Advocates recalled their experiences with WGG over the past two years from the ‘Girls Speak Out’ on October 11 to the Commission on the Status of Women and how they have developed and grown – deepening their understanding of the issues that girls face, assuming leadership roles and taking their seats at the table on behalf of all girls.

 

 

What is HLPF? A UN Platform to review Sustainable Development!

2018 HLPFThe 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.

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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?

Report HLPF 2018

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(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

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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     Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 4.00.04 PMa Companion document to Water & Sanitation – A People’s Guide to SDG 6 

DonatusIn 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)

Position-Papers-Poster-EN

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.

Position Papers       Française     Español

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.

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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

Ending of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF)

The UN mechanism for reviewing implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (High Level Political Forum – HLPF) ended on July 19th with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration.  The adoption of this declaration affirming what is already committed to was not without political tensions around two issues – foreign occupation and means of implementation.

It is interesting to compare our experience on the ground with all the rhetoric of 8 days.  Good Shepherd is present in 20 of the countries reviewed.  In a survey with 13 responses from the 20 of the countries making voluntary reviews there appears to be some discrepancy between the experience of the 8 days and reaching actual programs with people who are among those furthest behind.  Read our report on on efforts towards linking ministry with national implementation programs – Report HLPF 2017 GSIJP Office

Our analysis of 13 countries as an organizations was part of a bigger survey in preparation for the HLPF which was reported on July 17th  Grassroots

Cecilie was able to live stream the event on Facebook – Click on Event live-streamed

If you are interested in following up on what your government presented you have two options – look at the webcast or read the report.  The Voluntary National Reviews took place over three days July 17, 18 and the 19.  To find the relevant webcast  click HERE and then click on the date.

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July 17th – Voluntary National Review (VNR) 1 Nepal and Brazil;   Webcast    VNR  2 Indonesia and Japan;  Webcast VNR 3 Costa Rica and Kenya;  Webcast   VNR 4 Malaysia and Chile  Webcast

July 18th – VNR 5 Peru;  Webcast  VNR 6 Italy and Guatemala;  Webcast   VNR 7 Czech Republic, Thailand and Argentina; Webcast    VNR  8 Portugal and Uruguay; Webcast        VNR 9 Panama; (Webcast not available)

July 19 – VNR 10 Honduras and India;  Webcast and VNR 13 El Salvador; Webcast

The reports for each country can be accessed  HERE   Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 7.09.52 PM

A very full account of the proceeding has been prepared by TAP Network  (Transparency, Accountability and Participation Network)   Another very informative way of having some insight into the proceedings are notes from  International Institute for  Sustainable Development  (IISD) – Summary Highlights Daily Coverage. Click IISD   There are some great photographs too!

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