Global Forum on Migration and Development – Invitation to send your ideas to Good Shepherd Representatives attending the forum by writing in the Leave a Reply box below.


Global Forum on Migration and Development  will take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 10th – 12th  and is preceded by 2 civil society days, Thursday and Friday December 8th and 9th.  Good Shepherd will be represented by  Sr Maria Magdalena Z. Saavedra from the Philippinies and Ms Theresa Symons, Regional Manager,  Mission Development Office Asia Pacific. (Malaysia)

Both women are accomplished and experts in the fields of Migration and Human Trafficking and bring this expertize and insight to the Global Forum on Migration and Development on behalf of ‘Good Shepherd.’  Magdalena is with Religious of the Good Shepherd – Center for Overseas Workers (RGS-COW) in Davao, Philippines. Read about RGS-COW    Theresa in her own words ‘bringing broad and deep experience to a new regional role‘ within the Mission Development Office.

The concept_paper_gfmd_2016_civil_society_programme_final en-1 provides good information as to what will be happening in Dhaka.  The background to the GFMD can be found at the bottom of page 1 and top of page 2 from the UN perspective.  The overall theme is “Migration that works for Sustainable Development for All: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda”

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein made this statement on September 19, 2016 and I quote the following ‘A human rights-based migration governance framework should include attention to addressing the drivers of precarious migration, such as climate change and extreme poverty.  It should ensure due attention to saving lives in transit and ensuring human rights at borders. It should enhance safe and regular pathways to entry. Measures should be taken which provide specific protection of the rights of migrants, and would include measures  to decriminalize irregular migration and to regularize the status of irregular migrants.  And it should seek to collect disaggregated data on the human rights situation of migrants, including specific data on migrants killed, injured, or victims of crime while attempting to cross maritime, land or air borders.” These outline some of the critical  issues.  How does this compare with our gs_position_on_migration?  The 30th Congregational Chapter and the  Direction Statement expressed deep concern about refugees and migrants.  One recommendation was ‘that the CLT establish working groups to develop corporate responses to issues of global importance.’  Migration today is one of these issues.  We have two representatives attending.  The theme of the civil society days is  “Time for Action: Doing rights-based governance of migration and development in our communities and across borders”

On November 25th  U.N. Says 2016 Will Be Deadliest Year Ever For Migrants Crossing The Mediterranean  What is your response?  What questions do you want our representative to ask?  What change do you wish to see?

For further information see my blog posts of September 13, 16, and 19, 2016


UN Commission for Social Development


Summary of what the Commission will discuss and deliberate on -Promotional-Article

Good Shepherd have submitted a statement to the Commission.  It is on the Commission Website in the 6 languages of the UN.   Statement 54th Session of Commission for Social Development (English)   Français   Español

The statement addresses the causes and effects of poverty and its consequent human rights violations, and disempowerment of women, girls, children and local communities on a daily basis. It is our experience that when people are at the centre of their own development they can and do move out of poverty to enjoy quality life and well-being.

This statement will be further elaborated through our documentary ‘Maisha – A new life outside the mines’ illustrating the ministry of our mission partners in Kolwezi, DRC under the leadership of our Mission Development Office in Rome and its director Cristina Duranti.


“The second project is a new development within the already successful ‘No Interest Lending Scheme developed by Good Shepherd Microfinance in partnership with the Australian Government and banks. Good Shepherd Microfinance offers loans and other people-centred financial programs to people on low incomes at 650 locations across Australia. People are enabled to define and then realize their own economic well-being and feel valued and in control of their finances and lives. The new development, to be launched in early 2016, is an insurance scheme that permits people flexibility in what to insure and in how to pay. It is Australia’s first insurance product for people on low incomes. In their May 2015 Budget, the Australian Government made a commitment to develop the country’s first Financial Inclusion Action Plan programme. ‘Essentials by AAI’, developed by Good Shepherd Microfinance and Suncorp, showcases what can be achieved when community-based organizations and an ethical corporate sector work together in collaboration with governments. Essential by AAI   These partnerships are based on inclusion, respect and shared commitment to justice and equality.”

The statement concludes with 5 Recommendations.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter why not start a conversation on what does social development mean in the contemporary world?  A significant part of our contemporary world is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

SDGs_poster_new1‘Laudato Si’ has much to say about the contemporary world, poverty and growing inequality.  A quote from our statement  “There is a need for people-centred socioeconomic policies to alleviate inequality, reform public services and pensions, create good jobs and better labour conditions, address low living standards, enact land reform, and secure the human rights to food, water, energy, transportation and housing, among others. Social justice should be at the core of every effort and a strong focus should be put into tackling the root causes of poverty and inequality.”

laudato_si 2

Expressing dismay over the choice of keynote speaker representing CSO’s during 25 September opening plenary UN Sustainable Development Summit

My organization together with 28 others have expressed dismay over the choice of keynote speaker representing CSO’s during 25 September UN Sustainable Development Summit.  See full list of Speakers  We addressed a letter to the President of the General Assembly 69th Session, H.E. Mr. Sam Kutessa with copies to UN NGLS and UN DESA, civil society section.  Copy of signed letter


“It is with a sense of dismay that we read that Mr. Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International is selected as the keynote speaker during the 25th September opening plenary of the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 on behalf of CSOs. The dismay results from the recent controversy over the adoption on August 11, 2015 of a resolution recommending that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution or what Amnesty International calls “sex work.”

While we welcome the decriminalization of all women engaged in prostitution and the protection of their human rights, we note that this resolution fosters the decriminalization of the ‘commercial sex industry’ that includes pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sex, who are the main perpetrators of violence and abuse against those in prostitution. Prostitution is not ‘decent work’ and is rather a denial of the dignity and worth of every woman and girl. Prostitution is a continuation of a patriarchal system, a form of slavery, and violence against women. The existence of the ‘sex industry’ is one of the root causes of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.   Amnesty International’s proposed framework to decriminalize pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sex is in direct violation of the 1949 Convention on the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, CEDAW, the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is regrettable that your selection of Mr. Salil Shetty as the keynote speaker was made at this time. During the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Abba (July 2015) CSOs were expressing concern about the strong tendency towards the instrumentalization and commodification of women in the economy and the market place. This Resolution proposed by Amnesty International is in direct opposition to the United Nations aspiration to leave no woman or girl behind in our collective quest to achieve gender equality. Amnesty International’s resolution in effect is endorsing male demand for ‘sex’ and ensuring the availability of a supply of women framing the argument within a distorted Human Rights Framework.”

After sending the letter to the President of the General Assembly there have been six more signatures: .

  1. The Women’s Front of Norway, ECOSOC Status
  2. Ruhama, Ireland  – Sarah Benson CEO
  3. Dr. Oranna Keller-Mannschreck,
  4. Anna Fisher
  5. RadFem Collective
  6. Davis Wendy,



Update on Human Right to Water and Sanitation

621 Groups HRTWS Map (2) 621 Organizations from 60 Countries supported this call including Good Shepherd from 10 specific Countries. Angola, Portugal, France, Ireland, Malta, Myanmar, Malaysia/Singapore, United Kingdom, South Africa and the Philippines.  Sisters from Latin America supported regionally and the International office spoke for ‘all’ of us.  Well done!

You can access the letter and full list of signatories in 4 languages English, Spanish, Portuguese and French HERE

Is there more that can be done? Yes.  Some suggestions:

Note other groups in your country who have signed.  Contact them and continue to advocate for the human right for water and sanitation at your national level.

Keep updated on the issue – see the Facebook page Post-2015 Human Right to Water and Sanitation  If you are on Twitter @HRtoH2O use #DeclareHRTWS  and tweet to your country representatives who are engaged in the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.  Over the next number of weeks the intergovernmental negotiations will be ongoing.  May 18 – 22; June 22-25; July 20 – 24 and July 27 – 31.   Do you like the Logo?   Human Right to Water and Sanitation.

Right to water

Migration Issues …

Campaign for Peoples’s Goals for Sustainable Development writes  “Development Justice is the transformative development framework that aims to address the inequities – between countries, between the rich and poor within countries, and between men and women – that maintain the current nature of migration and the exploitation of migrants.
Through the following foundational shifts composing development justice, the condition for a development that shall address forced migration can be created:
1. Redistributive Justice will ensure that in countries of origin, resources and opportunities can be accessed by the people, and they will not be forced to seek them overseas
2. Economic Justice will ensure decent living including decent living for immigrants and their families in countries of destination
3. Social Justice eliminates all forms of discrimination and marginalization including the economic, political and social exclusion of migrants and immigrants in the host countries
4. Environmental Justice presses countries and elites historically responsible for climate degradation to own up to their greater responsibility to stop environmentally damaging production and consumption
5. Accountability to the People that will ensure that migrants are part of free, prior, and informed decision making in all stages of development processes.
Migrants should be present in the development discussions. We were left behind when development goals were set. We were still left behind when actions to achieve the set goals were implemented.
We shall make sure that in the post-2015 development agenda, migrants as stakeholders are involved and migration as a problem of maldevelopment is addressed.”  Click here for the full statement    Would love to know your views on this statement. Leave a comment in the comment box.

NILS research report wins award second year in a row!

Congratulations to Good Shepherd Microfinance Australian for excellence in impact measurement.  Read about the award and the service providing women with access to safe, fair and affordable finance.  Sister Noelene White said: “We started with just $20,000 and a belief that the program would be a success.  Our sceptics said it wouldn’t work and that we shouldn’t expect to see any of the money again.  But that conventional wisdom could not have been more wide of the mark.  Here we are 34 years later, with 260 community partners in over 600 locations providing $30-million of NILS loans. The no interest loans scheme has reached more than 155,000 people and our repayment rate is consistently above 95 per cent.  It is a truly great achievement and one which we are very proud of.”

Michelle Crawford, Good Shepherd Microfinance’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer added: “We would like to acknowledge the continued support of National Australia Bank. In our 11 years of partnership they have invested over $130-million in microfinance in Australia.  Together, our goal is to provide fair, safe and affordable financial products and services to one million people living on a low income in Australia by 2018.”

Access to the full reports ‘Life Changing Loans at No Interest’

The Impact Measurement Awards are part of the Annual Measuring Social Outcomes Conference which provides practical guidance on progressing outcomes measurement.

Proud to be Irish!

The Column from today invites us to meet the Irish man managing global change on behalf of everyone on the planet.  Click here to read the column  I have come from a day long meeting at the United Nations – a Post 2015 Stakeholders Preparatory Forum.  This was a gathering of NGO’s sharing concerns and view points with regard to the next steps in the process.  Part one of the Webcast of the morning’s proceedings have been uploaded HERE

It was a good day with the various perspectives of member states and NGO’s ‘s being shared.  The programme for the day can be had at the webcast page.  Ambassador Donoghue was not present today but the Deputy Permanent Representative Tim Mawe was present for the cosing of the session.  Returning to the Column do read it “Their aim is to get UN agreement on a visionary set of goals to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, fight corruption, and transform the global economy towards a more sustainable growth path.”

See the website Action 2015 referred to in the column.



UN to commence the last stages in finalizing the New Post 2015 Development Agenda

On December 4th, 2014 the Secretary General launched an advanced edition of his Synthesis Report entitled ‘The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet.’  I like the title, do you?  The official version is now available in six languages Synthesis Report of the Secretary General on the Post 2015 Agenda.  An outline of the report was posted on on December 18th.

The Working Group on Girls has posted a response to the Synthesis Report.  You can access all the responses here.  Another response that you may be interested in is the Women’s Major Group Response. You will find it posted on Website dated December 20, 2014  These will give you some perspectives on the issues of concern about girls and women  in the Post 2015 Agenda.

On Friday 16th January there is a stakeholders preparatory Forum.  The session from 11.00 – 1.00 p.m. will focus on the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report.

The afternoon session will begin to deal with ‘Means of Implementation and global partnership for development.”  This will be making reference specifically to Goal 17 Goal-17

Easy access to the Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals can be had HERE

The 17 goals and targets listed.  Towards the end of the document is Goal 17 divided into the following subheading Finance with five targets;  Technology with three targets; Capacity Building one target; Trade with three targets; and Systemic Issue with the following subheading: Policy and Institutional Coherence has 3 targets; Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships has 2 targets; and Data, Monitoring and Accountability has 2 targets.

Would love to hear if you have opinions about any of the above?  Why not post a comment in the comment box.


Beyond 2015 ‘Call for Participation …’

Congratulations to 37 ‘Good Shepherd’ led initiatives in 27 countries for engaging in the  ‘Beyond2015’s Call for Participation’  showing to our governments that we want to remain engaged during all phases of the setting of the post-2015 agenda.  To see the list of 826 organizations who signed including your own Click here!  Good Shepherd is significantly on board for the new development agenda.  Implementation will be at the national level.

The intergovernmental modalities were agreed yesterday December 17th.  The dates of significant meetings are

  1. Further decides on the following provisional indicative roadmap:
    (a) 19-21 January 2015 [3 days] – Stocktaking
    (b) 17-20 February 2015 [4 days] – Declaration
    (c) 23-27 March 2015 [5 days]  Sustainable Development Goals and targets
    (d) 20-24 April 2015 [5 days] – Means of Implementation and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
    (e) 18-22 May 2015 [5 days] – Follow up and review     (f) 22-25 June 2015 [4 days] – Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document                       (g) 20-24 July 2015 and 27-31 July 2015 [10 days] – Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document.

The initial draft of the outcome document on the post 2015 development agenda shall be prepared by the co-facilitators  on the basis of views provided by member states and shall be presented to member states by May 2015 for the intergovernmental negotiations.   The co-facilitators of the process are Ambassador Kamau of Kenya and Ambassador David Donoghue of Ireland.

ambassador Kamau   Ambassador-David-Donoghue-114px

If you are interested in doing a little reading see the Synthesis ReportSynthesis report of the Secretary-General on the post-2015 development agenda “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet.  It will be available in all UN languages in January 2015  To read more click here

The United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held from 25 September to 27 September, 2015, in New York and convened as a High-level Plenary meeting of the General Assembly.  This will coincide with 70 years of the United Nations.

The President of the General Assembly also has scheduled some relevant sessions:

i) High-Level Thematic Debate on Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 development agenda (9-10 February 2015)
ii) High-Level Thematic Debate on Advancing Gender equality and empowerment of Women in the Post-2015 development agenda (March 6,2015)
iii) High-Level Thematic Debate on Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation (6 or 10 April 2015 tbc)
iv) High-Level Thematic Debate on Strengthening Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations (May 15, 2015)
v) High-Level Event on Climate Change (29 June 2015).

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development – to be held in Addis Ababa from July 13th – 16th 2015 will hopefully impact positively the means of implementation in the Post 2015 Development Agenda.  See More


H.E. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations to co-chair the new Global Development Agenda

H.E. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations to co-chair the negotiations towards the new global development agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. This appointment was announced by the President of the General Assembly yesterday.   H.E. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya has also been named as co-chair. Ambassador Kamau was a very effective co-chair during the Open Working Group process.  Check out the document that will lead into the discussion at the sustainable development website.  17 goals have been presented. We are awaiting the report of the Secretary General which is expected by the end of the month.