Some reflection question in preparation for the Civil Society Forum – Jan 30 and 31st

 

Have you read the Civil Society Declaration to the Commission? civil-society-declaration-csocd-55th-session  The civil society declaration addresses the theme of the commission and responds in four parts: (1) Introduction (2) A strategy to eradicate poverty (3) …and achieve sustainable development …for all (4) A call to action.

The Good Shepherd Microfinace No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) in Australia is one  strategy that has been effective in implementing Social Protection policies in Australia.   Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission in English, French and Spanish

Case Study:   Universal social protection policies that benefit all of society must reach women and girls who are in the most vulnerable situations, for whom barriers tend to remain even when services and national human development averages improve. These programs must empower girls and women, strengthen their citizenship, and equip them with the knowledge, spaces and networks with which to claim their entitlements. The Good Shepherd Microfinance No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) in Australia provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable loans for essential goods and services. Participants recognize that repaying their loan means that those funds become available to someone else in the community — consequently, the repayment rate is consistently 95-97%. Follow-up analysis shows that four out of five NILS participants are moving away from crisis and hardship towards stability and resilience — achieving economic mobility. In Australia, more and more women are turning to high cost, predatory payday loans, suggesting that a growing number of women are being excluded from the financial mainstream. NILS focuses on improving opportunities for women and girls, with women representing 67% of NILS participants. Microfinance programs promote gender equality through financial inclusion, and are essential for ensuring women living on low incomes and their families are able to enjoy improved quality of life. The NILS commitment to education and financial literacy is also empowering for women. The loan process begins a conversation about money and household finances with each microfinance applicant. These conversations lead to increased financial literacy and confidence dealing with money. This improves women ’s selfesteem, and participation in decision-making processes.

Étude de cas:  Les politiques de protection sociale universelle profitant à l’ensemble de la société doivent prendre en compte les femmes et les filles les plus vulnérables, celles pour qui les barrières ne tombent pas, y compris quand le niveau mo yen des services et du développement humain dans leur pays progresse. Les différents programmes doivent autonomiser les filles et les femmes, renforcer leur citoyenneté et leur fournir les connaissances, les espaces et les réseaux nécessaires pour revendiquer leurs droits. En Australie, le programme « No Interest Loan Scheme » de Good Shepherd Microfinance donne aux individus et aux familles à faible revenu un accès à des prêts sûrs, équitables et abordables leur permettant de bénéficier de biens et servic es essentiels. Les participants étant conscients que le remboursement de leur prêt permet de réaffecter les fonds à d’autres membres de la communauté, le taux de remboursement s’établit entre 95 et 97 %. L’analyse de ses effets montre que quatre participants sur cinq au programme « No Interest Loan Scheme » parviennent à opérer la transition d’une situation de crise et de pauvreté à une situation de stabilité et de résilience, jusqu’à parvenir à la mobilité économique. Dans ce pays, de plus en plus de femmes se tournent vers des prêts sur salaire aux conditions abusives et au coût élevé, ce qui donne à penser que le nombre de femmes exclues du système financier traditionnel progresse. Le « No Interest Loan Scheme » met l’accent sur l’amélioration des perspectives pour les femmes et les filles, les femmes représentant 67 % des participants au programme. Les programmes de microfinancement favorisent l’égalité des sexes par l’inclusion financière et sont déterminants pour permettre aux femmes vivant avec un faible revenu et à leur famille de jouir d’une meilleure qualité de vie. L’engagement du programme « No Interest Loan Scheme » en faveur de l’éducation et de la culture financière contribue également à l’émancipation des femmes. Le processus de prêt commence par une conversation sur l’argent et les finances du ménage avec chaque demandeur d’un microfinancement. Cet échange renforce les connaissances de base en matière de gestion financière et la confiance quant à l’utilisation de l’argent, ce qui a pour effet d’améliorer l’estime de soi chez les femmes ainsi que leur participation à la prise de décision.

Estudio de caso:   Las políticas de protección social universal que benefician a toda la sociedad deben llegar a las mujeres y las niñas que se encuentren en situaciones más vulnerables, para quienes las barreras tienden a permanecer, incluso cuando mejoran los promedios en materia de servicios y desarrollo humano a escala nacional. Estos programas deben empoderar a las niñas y las mujeres, reforzar su condición de ciudadanas, y dotarlas de los conocimientos, espacios y redes que les permitan reclamar sus derechos. El programa de préstamos sin interés con fines de microfinanciación de nuestra organización en Australia proporciona acceso a préstamos seguros, justos y asequibles para la adquisición de bienes y servicios esenciales a las personas y familias de bajos ingresos. Los participantes reconocen que el reembolso de su préstamo supone que esos fondos estarán disponibles para otra persona en la comunidad, por lo que la tasa de reembolso oscila sistemáticamente entre el 95% y el 97%. Un análisis del seguimiento indica que cuatro de cada cinco participantes en el programa de préstamos sin interés con fines de microfinanciación están saliendo de la crisis y las dificultades y se encaminan a la estabilidad y la resiliencia, logrando la movilidad económica. En Australia, un número cada vez mayor de mujeres están recurriendo a préstamos depredadores de alto costo a corto plazo, lo que indica que un número cada vez mayor de mujeres están siendo excluidas de las corrientes principales de financiación. El programa de préstamos sin interés con fines de microfinanciación se centra en mejorar las oportunidades de las niñas y las mujeres, y estas últimas constituyen el 67% de los participantes en el programa. Los programas de microfinanciación promueven la igualdad de género mediante la inclusión financiera, y son esenciales para garantizar que las mujeres que tienen bajos ingresos y sus familias puedan disfrutar de una mejor calidad de vida. El compromiso del programa con la alfabetización y la educación en materia de finanzas también está empoderando a las mujeres. El proceso de préstamo se inicia con una conversación sobre el dinero y las finanzas de la familia con cada solicitante de microfinanciación. Esas conversaciones dan lugar a un aumento de los conocimientos financieros y de la confianza para abordar cuestiones monetarias. Eso permite mejorar la autoestima de las mujeres y su participación en los procesos de adopción de decisiones.

Read more at Good Shepherd Micro Finance

 

 

55th Commission for Social Development

See the website – English only

See our statement to the Commission in – English, French and Spanish

The posters are in three languages:  First  giving you the dates, theme and link to the Good Shepherd Statement; the second set-  describes the Commission and the third set answer the question what is Social Protection?

The first commission I attended was in February 2008 – the 46th Commission on the theme of  “Promoting Full Employment And Decent Work For All.”  47th and 48th Social Integration, 49th and 50th Poverty Eradication, 51st and 52nd   “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all,” 53rd and 54th  “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world.”

‘Prostitution affects all of us, not just those in it.’

The title of this post comes from the last summary point of a well research and informative article by Melissa Farley entitled ‘Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.’  The article has a number of headings addressing the various issues that arise when we talk about decriminalizing prostitution and addressing DEMAND which drives prostitution.  Taking a holistic approach realizing that prostitution affects all of us and not just those in it is worth considering.

There is another summary point ‘at the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.’  All of these systems are root causes of the persistence of violence against women.  Prostitution is one of these violences.

Another comment that you may wish to explore and determine how to answer is ‘Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.’    Read the full article here

UN – High Level Political Forum 2016

HLPFThe High Level Political Forum (for those who love acronyms HLPF) starts on Monday July 11th.  Full details of all that will take place is on the website Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform  If you have a smart phone you can down load the app HLPF and have immediate access.  The website is only in English (apologies). The HLPF is the central platform for follow up of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  By clicking HERE you can see easily the sustainable development goals which is the subject of the review.  Commitment to implementation began in every country on  January 1, 2016.  The theme of this years’ review is ‘Ensuring That No One Is Left Behind.’   There are the official meetings of the HLPF and multiple side events.

Part of the official meeting is the presentation of 22 national reports on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Good Shepherd is present in 1o of the 22 countries -Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Venezuela. A direct link is HERE and the reports are in French, Spanish and English depending on the language of the country. (The French report is not yet posted)

Apart from inputs from governments there are inputs from Intergovernmental Bodies and Forums – including the Commission for Social Development,  Commission on the Status of Women,  Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women  (CEDAW),  Human Rights Council ,    Human Rights Treaty Bodies, International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Dialogue on Migration  These are points of contact that the GSIJP Office follow at the United Nations throughout the year. The full list can be accessed here

A third group is  Major Groups and Other Stakeholders   We are members of the Women’s Major Group and have signed on to that paper.  Click HERE  The paper is divided into six areas 1. Introduction; 2. The Women’s Major Group; 3. Addressing the systemic causes of ‘being left behind’; 4. Key areas of action for implementation, follow-up and review to ensure no one is left behind; 5.Ensuring that the Review of 2030 Agenda Leaves No One Behind; and 6. Conclusion.

The focus on addressing systemic causes of ‘being left behind’ is central to our work at the United Nations. ‘Identifying and responding to the intertwined systemic issues of neoliberalism, fundamentalisms, militarism, racism and patriarchy, and their correlation to inequality and gender inequality, are essential for the successful implementation o the 2030 Agenda and shout be an important focus of follow up and review processes at all levels…” and address the systems that negatively affect the lives and lived realities of all girls and women of all ages.

In section 4 there is a call for a) inclusion and participation of grassroots women’s organizations in planning, implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda at the local and national level.  The advice of 19 year old Berryl from Kenya sums this up quite succinctly:        “Bringing girls and young women to the table during the discussions about the SDGs is important because girls are the experts in their own lives. Girls and young women in the communities should be taught about the SDGs and how they affect their lives so they can monitor the implementation and how well the governments are doing. I think that world leaders need to:

  •  Give better support to girl advocates by providing resources and encouragement.
  •  ….allocate budget[s] for implementation of the SDGs, especially Goal 5 and Goal 16.
  • Invest in girls and their access to education

An educated, empowered girl is good not only for the family but also for the community, country and the world.” 

b) Financing and capacity building for women’s rights groups at all levels.

c) Gender disaggregated data

Section 5 states that women’s groups must be meaningfully engaged at all levels of the implementation, follow up and review from the national level to the global.

We also have a voice in the Major Group of Non Governmental Organizations  See HERE

Another set of inputs can be found in Partnerships and Voluntary Commitments

GSIFThroughout the HLPF the GSIJP Office are using the brochure prepared by the Good Shepherd International Foundation ONLUS ‘Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children.’ highlighting  Participation, Empowerment, Livelihood and Human Rights in programs focusing on  community development and economic justice; child protection and education; girls and women’s empowerment; and migrant and anti-human trafficking.  See the brochure by clicking on the link

GSIF Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children

Good Shepherd International Foundation Brochure – Where are the SDGs?
How We Help

  •  Community Development and Economic Justice
  • “Projects to eradicate extreme poverty” (SDG 1)
  •   Market research, business training and planning, micro‐finance and micro‐credit to start micro-enterprises to raise level of income (SDG 8)
  •  Advocating to change unjust structures discriminating women and to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation (SDG 5)
  • Children Protection and Education
  •  “Programs protect and promote the rights of the most vulnerable children” in a holistic model of care
  • Psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Nutritional Support (SDG 2)
  • Remedial education to be mainstreamed in the school system (SDG 4)
  • Awareness of human rights and activities for social cohesion and peace building (SDG 16)
  • Girls and Women Empowerment
  • Projects “help to achieve SDG no.5”
  • Engaging women and girls living in poverty (SDG 1), at‐risk of exploitation or victims of violence (SDG 16)
  • Counseling, psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Reintegration in formal education (SDG 4)
  • Skills training, access to micro‐finance and micro‐credit, support to income generating activities (SDG 8)
  • Migrants and Anti‐human Trafficking
  • Programs to protect children, girls and women who have been trafficked or victims of commercial sexual exploitation (SDG 5, 8, 16)
  • Programs in border areas, where the rights of children, girls and women migrants are most at risk (SDG 8)
  • Psycho‐social support programs for children and women refugees (SDG 3)

NGO Briefings Continued

Here are the links to the NGO Briefings during the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday February 10, 2016   See markers No 21 and 29

Thursday February 11, 2016   The co-chair for this NGO Briefing was Amber Williamson, an intern from Manhattan College, who is  interning at the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office.  Amber began last week of January and will continue two days a week until the end of May.  Secondly, a panel presenter is Susan O’Malley, Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women.  She has some interesting points to make around the definition of ‘gender’.  See marker 33 for specific reflections.   Another interesting concept is the role of the public sector.

Friday February 12, 2016  This is the last of the NGO’s Briefings. See marker 14  Bringing to the attention of the Commission that there are good resource documents for use at grassroots level.  One is Making Human Rights Work for those Living in Extreme Poverty and a Hand book on Civil Society Guide to National Floors of Social Protection

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Photos for today February 3, 2016

Photographs with NGO friends from Afria and Asia before the NGO morning briefing prior to the opening of the Commission for Social Development.  Read Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission published in the UN Journal today Statement No 58

See the video on Commission for Social Development   Good practice is evidence based and data driven!  People must remain the center of global, national and local efforts

#MaishaCSoCD  Maisha – a new life outside the mines is one such good practice.

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

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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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A New Resource – Handbook

A new resource, a hand book for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights has been published.  Since I came to the GSIJP Office in 2008 you in the networks have been engaged in collecting information for the then Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights – Magdalena Sepuleveda (2008 – 2014) The Handbook has been published by ATD 4th World and Franciscan International and is available in French, English and Spanish

The book is in four parts:  Part 1 – The basics;  Part 2 – Key principles for engaging with people living in poverty; Part 3 – Empowering people in extreme poverty to claim their rights; Part 4 – Monitoring and ensuring accountability.

This handbook will be very helpful to you in your various ministries with people living in poverty.  It is a human rights perspective and suggests actions that can be taken with local government and other sectors of society to ensure that rights are respected and protected.  The focus is on the barriers that prevent people living in poverty from enjoying many fundamental rights such as the right to food and nutrition, housing, work, heath and education.  These are the subject matter of the new Sustainable Development Goals that came into force throughout the world on January 1, 2016

There you’ll also find links to the introductory video with subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and German HERE

Pilot implementations/trainings are being explored in 6 countries, tentatively: Benin, Kenya, India, Philippines, Argentina, Bolivia.  If you want to be part of these implementations/training let me know.

Chapter logo30th Congregational Chapter Direction Statement “In response to the most pressing needs of today such as poverty … we commit ourselves, on unit, regional and congregational levels, to: Develop clear strategic plans integrating spirituality and justice and peace with the best ministry practices.  This includes holding ourselves accountable to monitor and evaluate the results.   See Part 4 Monitoring and ensuring accountability.  This Handbook is an excellent resource, making human rights work for people living in extreme poverty, bringing about structural and systemic change.

Making Human Rights Work

English, Spanish, French

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A newly released documentary “Maisha: A New Life Oustide the Mines”.

A newly released documentary “Maisha: A New Life Oustide the Mines” connects the story of a Good Shepherd Sisters’ project in Kolwezi, located in the DRC’s mineral-rich Katanga region and its great results, with the larger picture of human rights violations in the mining sector and the international advocacy work of many NGOs to change this situation.  The film was launched in Rome on Thursday, October 29, 2015

Here are links to an interviews with Italian and US Media

Italian:

English – go to 13.20 an interview with Sr Brigid Lawlor.

Vatican Radio also did a piece.   The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See sponsored the film and at the screening Ambassador Hackett told Susy Hodges why there is an urgent need for greater awareness and transparency about the global supply chain of “digital” minerals and about the horrific exploitation of these miners in the DRC.    Read and hear more here

Congratulation to the Sisters Catherine, Jane, Margaret and all Mission Partners in Kolwezi who day by day journey with the local community in making a difference.  The support of the  Fondazione Internazionale Buon Pastore ONLUS towards the mission under the leadership of Cristina Duranti is admirable.  One advocacy point in the Statement of the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office to the Commission for Social Development is 

  • Launch the ambitious, forward-thinking and sustainable policies required for a paradigm shift by challenging current models and policies of economic development, trade agreements, land grabbing, extractivism and engaging with models of economic development that democratize ownership of resources and economic gains, and solidarity-based forms of ownership and management.