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


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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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.”

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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


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.





Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office position on ‘Financing for Development’ – Addis Ababa July 13 – 16, 2015

3618_people_iThe Third International Conference Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – July 13 – 16, 2015.  What position will the Good Shepherd International Justice for Peace Office take?  In our position paper on Economic Justice we state ‘Create and/or Participate in networks and campaigns that call for Economic Justice and inclusion for all.’ The Third International Conference on Financing for Development is one such moment. As a member of the following groups – NGO Committee on Financing for Development, the Global Coalition on Social Protection Floors and the Women’s Major Group I will be advocating for Economic Justice and inclusion for all.  Here is the position paper of the NGO Committee on Financing for Development Click here decrying the fact that ‘international budget decisions and financial systems favor the few to the detriment of masses, and favor unjust private profits over the health of the planet.’  This point has been underscored in ‘Laudato Si’ and in the work of Noami Klein in ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. the Climate.’

Budgeting priorities demands strong political will.  Klein writes “our problem has a lot less to do with the mechanics of solar power than the politics of human power – specifically who wields it, a shift away from corporations and towards communities…” (page 25)  How we finance determines what we finance.  Privatization of profits but socialization of losses cannot be tolerated.

Laudato Si Paragraph 189 states ‘Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy.  Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.  Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery.  The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth.  But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world.”  The negotiations leading up to the Financing for Development Conference have not been change driven but slowly reneging on the commitment of the first paragraph of the Addis Ababa Accord.

“Our goal is to eradicate poverty and hunger in this generation, and to achieve sustainable development through promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment, and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. We commit to ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, to promote and protect all human rights, including the right to development, and to build an inclusive and equitable global economic system where no country or person is left behind, enabling decent work and productive livelihoods for all, while preserving the planet for our children and future generations.”

The signature campaign launched by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women – Law and Development APWLD points to the harsh reality of corporate greed … do consider signing the petition … every signature counts   Stop Corporate Lawsuits Against Human Rights:


Third International Conference – Financing for Development – Addis Ababa


The third International Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa July 13 to 16, 2015  It will be preceded by a two day Civil Society Forum on the same topic.  In the You-Tube see and hear what world leaders are saying.  Will the member states make it happen?  Can they be ambitions for the people and the planet?  Will this conference pave the way for transformative sustainable development ‘leaving no one behind?’  The Synthesis Report of the Secretary General called for 6 Essential Element: People, Dignity, Prosperity, Justice, Partnership and Planet.  The Sustainable Development Agenda proposes 17 Goals … this document will be negotiated during July and August prior to the High Level Summit in September 2015

Currently the proposed document for Financing for Development is being negotiated in New York.  NGO’s are following closely the negotiations.  A zero draft was produced on March 17th and it was followed by a text dated May 6th   Documents    The next session is scheduled June 15 – 19th.  An sample of what happens in negotiations is below.  Paragraph 6 is on gender equality …. the bold print indicates changes – working, stronger concepts etc

  1. We reaffirm that achieving gender equality and [delete and] empowering all women and girls [are basic human rights, fundamental values and issues of social justice and are] [and the full realization of the human rights of women and girls] [delete empowering all women and girls and replace with ‘women’s human rights and empowerment’] is essential to achieve equitable [and inclusive] sustainable growth and development [delete sustainable growth and development, replace by ‘sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth’]. We reiterate the need for gender mainstreaming [and targeted actions] in the formulation and implementation of all financial, economic, [environmental] and social policies and [delete and, add ‘. Gender equality is also a means for financing sustainable development and we therefore’] agree to take concrete [transformative] [replace to take concrete with ‘implement transformative’] policy actions to ensure women’s equal rights, access and [equal] opportunities for participation and leadership in the economy. [Public and private allocations and spending must be responsive to women’s and girl’s conditions and priorities. We are concerned by evidence of under-investment in gender equality in key sectors, particularly the economic and productive sectors. We will all track allocations for gender equality and take actions to address areas of under-investment in order to close gender gaps.] [and their role as drivers and agents of development.]

6bis. We recognize that investing in children is critical to achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable human development for present and future generations, and delivers benefits to society and the economy at large. We reaffirm that the general principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provide the framework for all actions concerning children.

6bis. We emphasize the unparalleled development challenge posed by fragility and conflict, which not only impedes but can reverse decades of development gains and lock countries in a conflict and poverty trap. We recognize that if we are to meet our commitment to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 and to achieve our broader post-2015 development agenda, we will need to enhance our efforts to address the specific financing needs of fragile and conflict affected states, including by prioritizing peacebuilding and state-building goals in the aftermath of conflict, developing and sharing best-practices in operationalizing sustainable development strategies in these situations. We affirm our commitment to approach these situations in a more coordinated and deliberate manner, consistent with the broad scope and urgency of this development challenge.

Paragraph 11 references social protection floors …