HLPF 2017 (High Level Political Forum) has concluded

Yesterday, July 19th the HLPF ended with the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration but not without some challenges.  A vote was requested on paragraphs 4 and 21. Both paragraphs were retained the controversial issues being ‘self determination of people living under foreign occupation and language on multilateral trading systems.  A full account of the session can be READ HERE

The review of SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14 is contained in paragraphs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Ministerial Declaration  The various paragraphs state the reality, and indicate commitment to close the gaps.   Paragraphs 1 – 13 are a reiteration of promises already made through use of the following verbs  – reaffirm (2), recognize (4), commit (3), foster (1), stress (1), note (1) reiterate (1)  (the number after the verb indicates the number of times the verb is used.)

Paragraphs 20 recognizes that despite some positive development more is needed – coherent policies and an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels by all actors. The following listing is provided:  difficult macroeconomic conditions, low commodity prices, subdued trade growth and volatile capital flows, but  also natural disasters, climate change, environmental degradation, humanitarian crisis and conflicts.  Having said that yet there is conflict over paragraph 21.

The retention of the whole document is a step forward and much advocacy took place to ensure that there was a ministerial declaration.

 

I signed on this Statement by the Women’s Major Group calling for a strong declaration with full commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls with the Means of Implementation SEE

During the negotiations on the Ministerial Declaration June 15 and 16  I delivered the following statement on behalf of the Women’s Major Group  Statement

During the negotiations I had the following Advocacy Points   Reviewing the ministerial declaration you will see that they were not included.  The most disconcerting one is the continued mention of ‘targeted measures’ in paragraph 14 in the context of a declaration to eradicate poverty, accelerate the pace of implementation, and decisive action is imperative and in response the best we can do is ‘targeted’ measures!  While children and youth are recognized within the Major Group system and there are stakeholders on aging and people with disabilities and a strong emphasis on a life cycle approach I continue to hold that girls are most vulnerable to being left behind and being the ones furthest behind.

 

HLPF (High Level Political Fourm) July 11, 2017

Those of us attending the HLPF, now in its second week are overwhelmed with words.  Yesterday,  July 17th the National Voluntary Reviews begun, and continue today and tomorrow.

One highlight of the first week was our side event at the Irish Mission to the UN.Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.44.53 PM

IMG_3134It was a great event … great sharing, collaboration and real implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals from India to Kenya to Mexico – reaching the furthest behind! I will be forgiven by my other religious colleagues at the UN for saying that Donatus Lili from Kenya made an excellent

Presentation The event was live streamed on Facebook  and there were numerous photos.

 

 

 

 

The dedication and commitment of sisters  – Daughters of Charity, Presentation Sisters, Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loretto) and ourselves with our mission partners can never be underestimated.  This was truly an event illustrating the the words of the gospel – “the kindom is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” This yeast of ministry is truly the transformative agent toward the ‘world we want’ and full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.   Towards the end of the discussion there was a reference to spirituality that informs such commitment and Ambassador Donoghue concluded yes, but in the political arena it is a moral imperative.

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What is HLPF?

If you are at the United Nations these days all you will hear is HLPF! HLPF!  I know that many people do not like  or use acronyms.   So what is HLPF?  Well the acronym stands for the ‘High Level Political Forum’.  Not sure that was a help!   The High Level Political Forum is a meeting of all the Member States of the United Nations to assess how the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goal is being achieved.  The meeting this year is from July 10 to 19th and is divided into two parts – week one focuses on a thematic review – “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world“.  Each of the selected goals will be reviewed.  Related issues will also be discussed -(i) multi-dimensional poverty and inequalities; (ii) multi-stakeholders perspectives; (iii) countries specifics – small island states, (iv) least developed countries, land locked countries, and middle income countries; (v) science technology and innovations for SDG’s; (vi) leveraging interlinkages for effective implementation; and (vii) science policy interface and emerging issues .

The program for this year is focusing on achievements, gaps and challenges in implementation of Goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14 and 17.

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Week two of the program gives a pace to 44 countries to make their voluntary national reviews (VNR’s)   Afghanistan; Argentina; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Botswana; Brazil; Chile; Costa Rica; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; El Salvador; Ethiopia; Guatemala; Honduras; India; Indonesia; Iran; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Luxembourg; Malaysia; Maldives; Monaco; Nepal; Netherlands; Nigeria; Panama; Peru; Portugal; Qatar; Slovenia; Sweden; Tajikistan; Thailand; Togo; Uruguay; Zimbabwe.   Good Shepherd is present in 20 of the countries presenting  reviews.   Some are grouping together and presenting as panelist and some are making individual national presentations.

Are you interested in knowing what your country is reporting?  Many of the reports – are now available on the  WEBSITE    Some have the main message but many have provided the full report.

Monday July 17th

  • 11.00 – 12.30     Brazil, Luxembourg, Nepal –  Q&A
  • 12.30 – 2.00       Indonesia Q&A; Japan Q&A;  Monaco Q&A
  • 3.30 – 5.00         Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Kenya, Netherlands  Q&A
  • 5.30 – 6.30         Chile Q&A;  Malaysia Q&A

Tuesday July 18th 

  • 9.00 – 10.30     Belgium, Benin, Peru  -Q&A
  • 10.30 – 12.00   Guatemala, Italy, Zimbabwe – Q&A
  • 12.00 – 2.00     Argentina Q&A; Czech Republic Q&A; Jordan Q&A;  Thailand Q&A
  • 3.30 – 5.00        Belarus Q&A; Portugal Q&A;  Uruguay Q&A
  • 5.00 – 6.30       Nigeria, Panama, Sweden  Q&A

Wednesday July 19th 

  • 9.00 – 11.00   Ethiopia Q&A;  Honduras Q&A; India Q&A  Maldives Q&A
  • 11.00 – 12.45  Afghanistan Q&A; Azerbaijan Q&A; Belize Q&A; Denmark Q&A
  • 12.45 – 2.00   Cyprus, Iran, Togo  Q&A
  • 3.00 – 5.15     Botswana Q&A;  El Salvador Q&A; Qatar Q&A; Slovenia Q&A; and          Tajikistan Q&A

(The bold print are countries where Good Shepherd are present)    On Wednesday evening just before the closing of the session a ministerial declaration will be adopted.

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Sr Donatus Lili from Kenya – the NGO Regional Designate for Africa is currently in New York for the HLPF.  Kenya is presenting it Voluntary National Review (VNR) on Monday July 17th.  Donatus has been following the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development since her appointment in January 2017.

She has attended a review session with NGO’s at National Level and also was in Addis Ababa for the Regional Review at the Economic Commission for Africa.  It is interesting to read both reports.

Final Report_LNoB National-County Dialogue -May 9th 2017

Link to the ECA Regional Report

Donatus is a panelist at a side event entitled ‘Poverty to Prosperity: Shared Stories from NGO’s Working with Communities  Tuesday July 11th Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.44.53 PM

Another side event that we are co-sponsoring in collaboration with ATD4th World ‘Participation’

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Implementing  robust, well financed national floors of social protection is critical to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its goals.  The Global Coalition for Social Protection is active during the HLPF – with a number of side events.  These are collaborative efforts with Member States, UN Entities and NGO’s.

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Read the Concept Note_Universal Social Protection_July18_2017

  •   Keeping and accelerating the momentum behind universal social protection.
  •   Promoting sustainable financing strategies for universal social protection floors.
  •   Invitation to joint action for universal social protection.

SOCIAL PROTECTION IN TIME OF INEQUALITY PROTECCIÓN SOCIAL EN TIEMPOS DE DESIGUALDAD PROTECTION SOCIALE AU TEMPS DES INÉGALITÉS

In January 2017,  I participated in a global consultation on Social Protection and Diakonia at Sigtuna, Sweden, hosted by the Church of Sweden.  The word ‘Diakonia’ is a Greek term and equates with  ‘ministry.’   People from twenty countries gathered to discuss the issue of social protection and ask what is the role and voice of church and faith based actors in the issue of social protection – and how to relate this to the responsibility of States to fulfill everyone’s right to social protection.  Among the participants were members of Norwegian Church Aid.  Good Shepherd had long -standing relationships with them dating back to the early days in Ethiopia when they funding Bethlehem Training Center.

It was a privilege for me to be invited to participate in the discussion and reflection integrating scripture and social policy.  The statement is the outcome.  I suggest that this could be a reflection/prayer/discernment document for use by sisters and mission partners on social protection and taxation.  It is certainly integrating spirituality and social policy and the sustainable development goals.  As you know I have been a long time advocate on the need to implement national floors of social protection – moving from poverty to prosperity.

A video and statement has been prepared – and are now in three languages – English, Spanish and French.

Short Version – English only   Video

English  Video  

Spanish Video

French Video

Statement in three language:

DIAKONIA IN THE TIME OF INEQUALITY  DIAKONÍA EN TIEMPOS DE DESIGUALDAD

DIACONIA AU TEMPS DES INÉGALITÉS

We call on churches and faith based organizations everywhere to stand up and demand for fair redistribution of wealth and social protection as a matter of social justice and human rights. We affirm that social protection is an essential requirement for a just society, regardless of nationality, legal citizenship or the level of economic development in a country. We also believe that taxation is a fundamental instrument for redistribution and for financing the common good so that all can have life in dignity.

On The Brink of CSW61!

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The Commission on the Status of Women 61st Session will open officially on Monday morning March 13th at  10.00 am in the UN General Assembly Hall. The NGO’s will start with Consultation Day on Sunday March 12 from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 in the afternoon.  Already participants are beginning to arrive delegates from the various member states and groups of women from all over the world.  8,600 people have pre-registered to attend – a record number.  Yesterday afternoon the Chair of the Commission H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), gave a final briefing to NGO outlining what is planned.  Of particular interest to me was information on the current status of the outcome document.  The first reading is completed.  Ms. Fatma Al Zahraa Hassan (Egypt), is the chair for the negotiations.  This first reading was based on the compilation text of February 28   We are awaiting a new version based on the first reading.

This years’ CSW  is breaking new ground addressing the issue of women’s unpaid care work.  It was noted that there is a lot of similar language and common ground  in a document that went from 6 pages to over 70 pages.

During the briefing I made two observations: one in relation to social protection and the second about girls.  There are over 31 references to social protection systems but only two times is there reference to  social protection floors.  We need implementation of social protection floors as a tool towards women’s economic empowerment as social protection systems are tied to employment.  I asked that this be noted in the ongoing negotiations.  Secondly, there are multiple references to girls but always tagged to women … ‘girls and women’ or ‘women and girls’ but there is no stand alone paragraph on empowering girls through education as the surest way of empowering the women of the future.

There are many references to ending trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation .. noting that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced labour, services and other forms of exploitation, and recognizing the link between migration and trafficking in persons.

 

 

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session – March 13 – 24, 2017

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Spanish link

The annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session begins on March 13th and concludes Friday March 24th.  The theme this year is ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.’  There is a small of library of information on the UN Women Website Preparations  i)  Regional CSW61 Preparatory and Consultative Meetings ii) Multi-Stakeholder Forum and iii) Expert Group Meeting

Perspectives of NGO can gleaned from 220 statements on the Official Documents page.  I would like to draw your attention to Statement No 13 in all official languages of the UN – French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.  This is the statement submitted by ‘Good Shepherd.’  Does it reflect your view and experiences?

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French Link

When I wrote this statement I had just listened to  Ms. Dambisa Moya ,  a global economist speak at the Second Committee of the General Assembly.  Dambisa suggested six ‘headwinds’ that indicate a growing disadvantage for women and girls seeking economic empowerment.  The results of the ‘headwinds’ are i) a jobless underclass; ii) continuing population growth and underinvestment in quality  education; iii) reinforcement of pre-existing obstacles to girls and women including; lack of women’s access to land rights, girls’ disproportionate time in carrying  water, and increasing feminization of agriculture;  the green economy/green growth has not led to more equitable land and resource distribution; iv) income inequality; v) the impact of austerity measures further impoverishes women and girls;  and vi) economic policies that actually widen inequalities and impact most negatively on those ‘left behind’ posing a threat to the future of the planet.

Are the girls and women  that you work impacted by one or more of these headwinds?   Where do human rights and dignity, gender justice, economic justice and climate justice fit in?

Women’s economic empowerment must pay attention to the plight of girls, who are the agents of change for the future.  We are calling for improved nutrition, health and education for all girls.  If not today’s generation of girls will continue to populate the jobless underclass, work in the informal sector, receive low wages, be landless and be vulnerable to exploitation and gender-based violence.

The accompaniment of girls an women who are furthest behind is the hallmark of our Good Shepherd Ministries.  See Maisha Documentary film based on our project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Recall the #16Days16Stories project of the 16 Days to End Violence Against Women.  Read I Have A Voice – Trafficked women in their own words  These are ongoing projects addressing the headwinds on a daily basis.

What can you do:  It is not too late to take the link to the statment and send it to your national delegation who are attending CSW 61.  There are very specific asks at the end.  i) Fully resource and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;  ii) Urgently invest in girls’ economic empowerment;   iii) Challenge and dismantle the power structure that subjugate girls and women – an example of this is the new law in Ireland decriminalizing women in prostitution but persecuting the buyer of sex.  A long struggle but worth the effort.  When I came to the UN in 2008 Ireland had not yet ratified the Palermo Protocol (2010) and now the Nordic Model is being implemented. (2017);  iv) Implement National Floors of Social Protection (ILO Recommendation 202)                                                               csw61-banner-en

English Link

Reflecting on week one of the Commission for Social Development

Friday, February 3 was the last day of week one of the Commission for Social Development. Overall, it was an interesting week which commenced on Monday afternoon with the opening of the Civil Society Forum.  This forum continued on Tuesday morning with panel presentations followed with the continuation of Monday’s discussion in the afternoon.  Both these session are webcast.  Civil Society Forum – January 31st and Part 2 Afternoon session  civil-society-forum

The formal opening of the Commission took place on Wednesday February 1st  – all sessions are webcast – Opening Session (Meeting 2)  There were three statements presented – one from the President of the General Assembly (PGA) H.E. Peter Thompson (Fiji), the President of the Economic and Social Council H.E. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava (Zimbabwe) and a statement on behalf of the Secretary General Antonio Guterres.  Points noted from these statement are the following:  The Commission is taking place at a time of global contradictions.  While significant progress has been made in eradication extreme poverty, conflicts are reversing gains in social well-being and the gap between the rich and poor was growing (Sec General) The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the “masterplan for people planet and prosperity,” and is “firmly within our reach.” (PGA).  “Today’s generation can be the one that eradicates poverty and turns the tide on inequality, exclusion and environmental degradation…” (President of ECOSOC)   ANA HELENA CHACÓN ECHEVERRÍA, Vice-President of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, said that despite all achievements, many countries had been left behind and growing global inequities challenged the universality of human rights. Poverty was a system and people living in poverty continued to be deprived, above all, of the capacity to claim their inalienable rights.  Human dignity must be at the centre of any sustainable development process.  Further the vice-president said  respecting, promoting, and protecting rights required Governments to take positive action, which in turn, demanded national compliance with international obligations, particularly the 2030 Agenda.

In the afternoon at Meeting 3  the Vice-President of Costa Rica was a member of the panel during the interactive discussion on “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all.”  She stressed the need to design public policies to meet the needs of people facing constant hunger, exclusion and poverty.   No development can be sustained if millions of people are left behind.  Poverty is a flagrant violation of human rights.  Social policy must  end the income gap and move towards peace, justice and inclusion.  Costa Rica is poised to eliminate extreme poverty in less than 10 years.  Costa Rica has developed social maps to track impoverished areas and understand the prevailing socioeconomic conditions. This coupled with a poverty index was used to measure poverty beyond income poverty and to take into account shortages in education, health care, water and housing.

Nigeria, both Government and civil society perspective were presented and Brazil noted that their nation had been removed from the FAO Hunger Map.  The new challenge for Brazil is to sustain the gains.Through Bolsa Familia cash transfer programme 13.6 million low-income people received stipends on condition that they kept their children in school and followed a vaccination schedule. This year a National Strategy for Social and Productive inclusion was launched by the Government to build professional skills and generate income.  The Happy Child Programme was launched in 2016 that gives regular assistance, including home visit to 530,000 children in 2017 and 1.5 million in 2018

Good Shepherd continue to promote implementation of social protection floors as a good strategy for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all. There is growing interest in and concrete action towards implementation.
See http://bit.ly/2kttxSM which ‘showcases 16 experiences from 12 countries which have achieved universal or near-universal social protection coverage in the areas of health care, child allowances, maternity benefits, disability benefits and old-age pensions. Good Shepherd are in 5 of the Countries Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, South Africa, Thailand.

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February 2nd  Meeting 4 and Meeting 5  and  February 3rd Meeting 6  and Meeting 7. These meeting focused on “Promoting Integrated Policies for Poverty Eradication: Youth Development in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (meeting 4) Meeting Coverage and “Leaving no one behind: poverty and disability” Meeting 6. Meeting Coverage

Side events are taking place throughout the Commission focusing on a myriad of topics related to the theme.

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Side events where I have been a panelist:

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If you wish to see your country statement to the commission for Social Development Papersmart UN Meetings