Join me in the launch of a new website – Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors

When: – Tomorrow February 3rd at 12.00 noon local time

How:  Use your e-mail, website, facebook and twitter accounts

We are hoping for wide distribution and creation awareness.  Use these pictures when posting.  It is critical that there are strong indicators towards implementation of National Floors of Social Protection in the new Post 2015 sustainable development goals. Social Protection is a human right.  Living in extreme poverty is a violation of human rights.  Implementation of national floors of social protection could be a transformative catalyst towards human rights based, inclusive, and more equitable societies. But it takes daring and political will and it is a national issue!

SPF 1 SPF 2 SPF 3 SPF 4 SPF 5  Suggested Tweets for use with hash tags

  1. CSOs call for #SocialProtection4All in #post2015: visit our website @undesadspd @UN_NGO@post2015 @isabel__ortiz
  2. Discover our network, our activities to promote #SocialProtection4All at @UN_NGO @post2015 @isabel__ortiz
  3. 2015: time to make #SocialProtection4All a reality. @undesadspd @UN_NGO@post2015 @isabel__ortiz @MimicaEU

Draft Agreed Conclusion as of March 21

Adopted by consensus just after midnight. Click here for the text              Good Shepherd Statement Click here

How does the text compare with recommendations made to the Commission in the written statement submitted by Good Shepherd?   Acceleration in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved now by:

  • Reallocating resources;
  • Cutting down on military expenditures and redirecting them to the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Addressing the debt issue. (According to data from the World Bank, in 2010 alone, developing countries paid out $184 billion on debt service, or about three times the annual resources required for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals);
  • Implementing and allocating a financial transaction tax for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Honouring official development assistance already pledged but not paid;
  • Implementing the full spectrum of girls’ and women’s human rights according to international human rights mechanisms and agreements, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime;
  • Implementing Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2011) and 2106 (2013) on preventing all forms of violence against girls and women;
  • Implementing International Labour Organization recommendation No. 202 on national floors of social protection, the Declaration on the Right to Development and the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights;
  •  Implementing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

With regard to reallocating resources we made 4 suggestions – two sources were referred to and two were not.  There is no mention of cutting down on military expenditures and no reference to the potential sources of revenue that can be gained from Financial Transaction Tax.   The agreed conclusions make reference to debt and official development assistance (ODA)

There are 4 references to debt.  Paragraph 21 The Commission expresses deep concern about ‘indebtedness’ in some countries and widespread fiscal strains that pose challenges for global economic recovery…  Paragraph 22 recognize that the long-term sustainability of debt depends on (my interpretation) business as usual model – ‘export prospects of debtor countries’ and ‘sustainable debt management’.  There is no hint of any structural transformation nor any mention of Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Paragraph 17 states that ODA remains inadequate to the task. Further austerity measures have impacted women and girls negatively. Paragraph 23 The Commission recognizes significant underinvestment  in gender equality and the empowerment of women  … that limits progress on the MDG’s for girls and women of all ages.  …It stresses that the available resources, through domestic resource mobilization and ODA, and their allocation remain a concern and are often inadequate to the task. Paragraph 25 has references to national machineries for the advancement of women and the need to endow these machineries  with the necessary human and sufficient financial resources to enable them to function effectively.

Under the heading ‘Maximizing investment in gender equality and the empowerment of women’ on page 21 (v) reads increase and ensure the effectiveness of financial resources across all sectors to achieve gender equality … through mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including domestic resource mobilization and allocation and increased priority to gender equality in ODA, and the creation of voluntary innovative financing mechanisms, as appropriate. Finally (z) reads increase resources and support for grassroots, local, national, regional and global women’s and civil society organizations to advance and promote gender equality.  What support are your receiving from your government to operate services promoting gender equality?

The weakness in all these references in the agreed conclusions is that no concrete funding has been identified for implementation of any aspects of the MDG’s.

The second set of recommendations concern girls’ and women’s Human Rights.  In the draft of February 4th, 2014 there was no mention of the Convention on the Rights of the Child nor the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking, Especially Women and Children.  I am happy to see them in the agreed conclusion.   The full list of Security Council Resolutions were names including the latest one 2122 (2013) that was passed after submission of the statement.  The Commission also added relevant Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict. Of course, CEDAW and  the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remain central to gender equality.  However during the negotiations some member states were invoking ‘sovereignty’ at national level in relation to the implementation of women and girls human rights?

Lastly, while ILO Recommendation 202 on national floors of social protection was not named there are six references to social protection. In paragraph 10 (MDG 1) notes the lack of access of people living in poverty to social protection and pensions.  Paragraph 12 (MDG 3) notes insufficient social protection and insurance coverage for women.  In the section under Realizing women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of all human rights (g) social protection is named as a way of addressing the multiple and intersecting factors contributing to the disproportionate impact of poverty on women and girls over their life cycle.   In (n) universal social protection is promoted and (o) prioritizes social protection policies  and lastly (r) that in crises funding for essential services and social protection systems be promoted.

NGO Committee for Social Development – Civil Society Forum

IMG_1952[1]The link to the webcast of the NGO Committee for Social Development Civil Society Forum – February 10, 2014 has been posted.  Following the official opening of the forum Winifred Doherty was moderator of the first panel on the priority theme      “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all“. This was a very interesting panel and you will hear much about the social protection floor.  Also listen to the presentation from Lilly John, Presentation Sister from India and to the third panelist Mr Jose Nunez speak about what empowerment is.

IMG_1936[1]      IMG_1938[1]     Civil society Forum 2014     IMG_1942


 IMG_1912       IMG_1911

After lunch there was a second panel focusing on women.  2nd panel   Do listen to Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships Bureau Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. Lakshmi lists the priority areas of UN Women  – ending violence against women, political participation and gender responsive budgeting and stated that gender equality is the biggest transformation that we must seek to achieve!  UN Women is calling for a transformative stand-alone goal on achieving gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment: Imperatives and key components in the new post 2015 development agenda. Access the full document here.

There is also a presentation on older women.  You might find this interesting.

The day ended with the adoption of the Civil Society Declaration.  Read the Civil Society Declaration

Commission for Social Development 52nd Session

The 52nd Session for Social Development starts on Tuesday February 11, 2014.  The priority theme of the commission is  “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all“.   You can read more here

In these two weeks it would be great if you could read Chapter 2 and 4 of ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis.  Access the full document here  Chapter 2 is entitled ‘Amid the Crisis of Communal Commitment’.  It runs from paragraph 50 to 109.  Some challenges of today’s world are found in paragraphs 52 – 75 .  Pope Francis says in paragraph 51 ‘… I do exhort all the communities to an “ever watchful scrutiny of the signs of the times”. This is in fact a grave responsibility since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse.’  These very processes are the issues address in the Commission for Social Development – the dehumanizing condition of living in poverty, of being excluded, of being unemployed or exploited for labor as a slave.  Pope Frances lists some of the challenges in these words ‘No to an economy of  exclusion,(53-54);  no the the new idolatry of money,(55-56); no to a financial system which rules rather than serves (57-58); no to the inequality which spawns violence (59 – 60).

“We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications.  At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences.”  In the Good Shepherd statement to the Commission for Social Development  we name those people as the people in the mines in Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission NGO 32  We choose one community to focus on but each of you in your ministries can put in your community’s name as all our ministries address the dire consequences of living from day to day.  In Pope Francis words “it is the struggle to live and, with precious little dignity.”  Further our Pope talks of the development of “new and often anonymous kinds of power.”(52)  Do you see these powers at work in your community?  Empowering people is I think one way to approach this.  Paragraph one of the statement offers a suggested definition. Can you see any parallel between the situation in Kolwezi and the words of Pope Francis in paragraph 53 “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality.  Such an economy kills. How can it be that is is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion.”  Aging is one of the issues that the Commission addresses and you can see that numerous statements from NGO’s that focus on that issue.  “Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving?  This is a case of inequality.  Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful are fed upon the powerless.  As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human being are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded.  We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading.  It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new.  Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even part of it.  The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.”

These words of Pope Frances are at the heart of the priority theme for the Commission for Social Development. Read up to the end of Paragraph 60 in the Pope’s apostolic letter.  Hear the Pope echo concern for the family – also an issue of the Commission.  Chapter 4 is the Social Dimension of Evangelicalism.  In paragraph 202 Pope Francis writes “the need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of it urgency for the good order of society but because society need to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises.  Welfare project, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses.  As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attaching the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter to any problem.  Inequality is at the root of social ills.”    (A note – in the NGO community we no longer use the phrase ‘the poor’ but rather  ‘persons living in poverty’.

Paragraph 203  “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.  At times, however they seem to be a mere addendum imported from without in order to fill out a political discourse lacking in perspectives or plans for a true and integrated development.  How many words prove irksome to this system! It is irksome when the question of ethics is raised, when global solidarity is invoked, when the distribution of goods is mentioned, when reference is made to protecting labour and defending the dignity of the powerless, when allusion is made to a God who demands a commitment to justice.  At other times these issues are exploited by a rhetoric which cheapens them.  Casual indifference in the face of such questions empties our lives and our words of all meaning.  Business is a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life; this will enable them truly to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all.  …. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth: it requires decision, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and the integral promotion of people living in poverty which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.  … the economy can no longer continue ‘to increase profits by reducing the work force and adding to the ranks of the excluded.”

Pope Francis reiterates over and over again the same points and prays in paragraph 205 for more politicians capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply appearances of the evils in our world!  Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it sees the common good. … It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”  Don’t you hear social protection floors in those words!

This I believe is also the raison d’etre of the Commission for Social Development where 46 member states (see the Commission Bureau and Members) on behalf of the whole  enter into dialogue on these same issues desiring poverty eradication, social inclusion and full employment and decent work. The emphasis this year is on ‘Empowerment of people’ and maybe what is lacking is an emphasis on the structural and systemic change necessary.  Good Shepherd Recommendations to the Commission are calling for the implementation of already agreed commitments – human rights based commitments,  nationally owned and designed floors of social protection, strong government regulation of mining companies; full compliance with CEDAW and ensuring the allocation of public resources to the achievement of the of aims of the commission as outlined in the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995 but going right back to the foundation of the United Nations – this being its 52nd meeting.

Is your country a member of the Commission for Social Development?  Are you praying for these representatives that they take courageous decisions for structural and systemic change?  What is your country doing to promote empowerment of people?  Is your country implementing Social Protection Floors?  Please share in the comment box.


Statement to Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance – ECLAC

———- Mensaje reenviado ———-
De: Marta López <>
Fecha: 31 de diciembre de 2013, 15:43
Asunto: Re: Invitación Regional Outreach Latin American and Caribbean Countries on the Work of the Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance – CEPAL

Estimada Señora:

Adjunto carta  invitación a la reunión Regional Outreach Latin American and Caribbean Countries on the Work of the Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance, que se llevará a cabo el día 15 de enero de 2014, en la sede de CEPAL en Santiago. 
Sin otro particular, saluda atentamente,  

Marta IrisMarta Iris represented Good Shepherd at ECLAC the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.  She delivered a statement on behalf of the Congregation contributing to the ‘Work of the Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance’ for the region.  The Statement is attached here in Spanish and English GS Presentation ECLAC January 2014  It urges implementation of National Floors of Social Protection and points to where finance could be available if there was strong political will to reallocate resources.

4th Session of the Open Working Group

Intervention make by Winifred during the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Fourth session (18 June 2013)  If you slide the cursor along to 38 you can hear the intervention.

Good Morning,  thank you co-chair for this opportunity.  What I am going to say is based on the experience of my Organization – Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd –working in 72 countries focusing specifically on girls living in poverty.  I don’t want to give the list or outline the problem statement but I want to say that girls while they are part of the youth population are the untapped potential at the bottom of the youth pyramid.  Education is the answer.  I would like to take up -of the cuff as it were- the co-chairs challenge with regard to nuclear energy and military expenditure competing with education and I will add to that profit driven corporations and multinational and gender inequality.   The High Level panel talked about transformative shifts and one of them is ‘that nobody would be left behind’ and I say ‘Leave no girl behind’.  Investment in girls is investment in sustainable development and one program that could answer this challenge is implementation of a social protection floor.  We talk of quality education, access to education that is part of the social protection floor together with access to health, together with access to some kind of income to enable people to come out of poverty. Girls are not even registered at birth.  So I think we have to bring the issues of the Dollar, versus people living in poverty versus the girl who is not educated to the table and we have to change our minds as to where the investment will occur.   Thank you.

Read the full Statement to OWG June 18, 2013

Launch of Secretary General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons Report on the Post 2015 Development Agenda

The report of the Secretary General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development Agenda  is being released today – Thursday-  and will be available on the website at 15:00 EDT.    A one pager highlighting opportunities to engage on the World We Want platform ( during the release of the Post-2015 High Level Panel’s report has been prepared.  World_We_Want_Engagement-_HLP_Report_Release   
There are suggestions as to how you might participate.  If you have a Facebook page  post a link on your Facebook to the HLP Report Page using this suggested text:      The Post-2015 High-level Panel has issued its report!  Download it and watch the livestream of  the public discussion event.  See how the report compares to individuals’ and civil society priorities for post 2015, and share your feedback! 
Watch the live stream of the launch event  “Discussion of the High Level Panel’s Report on the

Post 2015 Agenda” to be held 10am-­‐12pm EDT 31 May at UNHQ

If you use Twitter  Contribute to the event in real time on Twitter using #Post2015HLP

Check out the panel members.      Is this report receiving publicity in your country?  Check out the media?