Keynote Address on the State of the World – HLPF July 17, 2017

Sec GenThe second part of the HLPF (High Level Political Forum) the High Level Ministerial Meeting began on Monday July 17th.  UN Secretary General António Guterres delivered a STATEMENT  on his understanding of the State of the World.  Mixed picture, deficit of trust, the need to find more legal avenues for migrants, financing development, and foresee what is coming.  Secretary General concluded  “And I think that looking at this Assembly, one can only be enthusiastic about the fact that there is a very strong commitment not only to the implementation of the agenda but a very strong affirmation of support to multilateral governance as the way to lead the 2030 Agenda respecting the leadership of member states but recognising that only working together we can rebuild the trust that is needed and we can make the Agenda 2030 that factor that brings the fair globalisation the world needs in the present times.”

This was followed by Jeffery Sachs with a key note address to the Member States. Access the  WEBCAST marker 34.45 to hear for yourself.  He started with the good news “the world output this year will be estimated by the World Bank at 127 trillion dollars – that is 17,000.00 dollars for every man, women and child on the planet.  If you prefer to read Meeting Coverage at the UN provides you that  opportunity.

“Despite the extraordinary wealth in the world, 1 billion people still struggled to survive every day, he said.  In the United States, the coal, oil and gas lobby had contributed $100 million in the election cycle.  “That is why we pulled out of our Climate Agreement,” he added, emphasizing that the world was witnessing the “corruption of our future”.”

Some of the forces referred to are directly responsible for the loss of life of Women Human Rights Defenders.  This fact was recognized in an action during week one.  A Press Release  names some of the women and provides background.  I was excited to see Dorothy Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame De Namur on the list.  She was murdered in 2005   SEE for more information

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Thanks to the Women Major Group for all they organized and prepared during this HLPF 2017.  The graphics are priceless, their statements clear and focused and more importantly on target.  10 Priorities for the Ministerial Declaration of HLPF 2017

Migration in Focus – Geneva – Berlin

The Third Informal Thematic Session in preparation for the negotiation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration took place in Geneva on 19-20 June, 2017.  This session focused on International co-operation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration.  Cecilie Kern from the GSIJP office represented us in Geneva and from there to Berlin for the Global Forum on Migration and Development.  See Full Report

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Statement from the Floor in Geneva

Mercy Global Action

Another Interesting Perspective from Mercy Global Action

MADE

Migration and Development Civil Society Network

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.

Some interesting blogs on the Human Trafficking

On Friday June 23 there was a multi stakeholder hearing on the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Person.  Both organizations – the Greek Orthodox Church and IBVM (Loretto) attended the event and did a summary. See Links below:

From the Greek Orthodox Church at the UN 

From the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) at the UN

As I write this I have just learned the the US Trafficking in Person Report is published.  The link to the report Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2017

TIP 3

“This year’s Report focuses on the responsibility of governments to criminalize human trafficking and hold offenders accountable. To that end, this Report is intended to assist governments in identifying threats so law enforcement agencies around the world can respond effectively and gain insight into where human trafficking remains most severe. The Report will also equip local and sub-national law enforcement agencies to better assist in efforts to target and prosecute those
who commit these terrible crimes.”  An interesting graphics – countries that have not yet ratified the Palermo Protocol.  Good Shepherd are present in 4 of these countries.

TIP 17

See our advocacy points at the UN  CSTIP Advocacy Doc for Global Plan of Action

Migration – 3rd Thematic Session on International Cooperation

June 19 and 20 at the UN in Geneva the 3rd Thematic Session on Migration is in progress.  The theme is ‘International cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration.’  The GSIJP Office is represented by Cecilie Kern.  She is accompanied by Colleen Cloonan of the Mercy Global Action at the UN.   Cecilie will delver a joint statement on behalf of both organizations.  The statement is a response to the Issues Brief #3 and supplemented by  experiences from Theresa Symons (MDO Office – Asia Pacific), Magdalena Saavedra from the Philippines and Mercy Global Action office at the UN.

Clare Nolan did an article for Global Sisters Report  in January 2017 based on the experiences of Theresa and Magdalena following the Global Forum on Migration in Dhaka, Bangledesh.

Colleen Cloonan, Cecilie Kern and Winifred Doherty 

Tomorrow June 20th is World Refugee Day 2017.  A separate compact is being prepared to address the issue of Refugees.  Read this article  “Crisis in South Sudan, world’s fastest growing refugee emergency.”

We express appreciation to Sr Regina Hanko of the Province of Austria-Switzerland and Czech Republic for preparing the prayer this month.   English  French and Spanish     See more at Spanish French and English

Here is another prayer in English that has come in my e-mail –  World Refugee Day 2017 Prayer Service

According to the United Nation there are an estimated 58 million people displaced worldwide, 2.3 million asylum seekers, and 34 million people have been forcibly displaced within their own countries. António Guterres announced “These truly are alarming numbers. They reflect individual suffering on a huge scale and they reflect the difficulties of the international community in preventing conflicts and promoting timely solutions for them. The time is NOW to show that the global public stands with refugees.” (Facts and figures: UNHCR assessed April 2016) Taken from the prayer service prepared by ‘Becoming Neighours, Toronto’  See more  

 

Reviewing the Agreed Conclusions of CSW 61

I was invited to do this for the NGOCSW Committee one month ago – it has taken so long to get around to posting it.  The reason whey it is surfacing again is that the NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child have invited me tomorrow to share the same reflection with them.  The key issues addressed in CSW61 can be gleaned from this graphic on the UN Women Website and interspersed throughout the analysis of Ms. Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.  The link is below.Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 8.22.00 PM

Agreed Conclusion of CSW 61 is a lengthy document and can be accessed HERE in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.   An understanding of the document and some key elements for Good Shepherd may be had from the analysis Here or a direct link Analysis of Agreed Conclusions of CSW61

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Link to the WEBCAST

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A fuller document is presented by Ms. Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women Report of CSW 61 and Analysis of the Agreed Conclusion

 

 

What was achieved at CSW 61?

CSW61_ClosingSession_Mar2017__RB_0460_675x450 (002)(Closing of the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.                   Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown)

UN Women sees the Agreed Conclusion as a Roadmap to women’s full and equal participation in the economy Press Release

The Commission on the Status of Women 61st session ended on Friday afternoon March 24th with Agreed Conclusion – a consensus document on ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.’ This in itself is an achievement.  The document is not yet published and was presented on Friday as an informal paper in English only. The negotiation of this document is an arduous work (the Australian delegated noted it was 107 hours of discussion) and its accomplishment is the result of long hours of discussion and negotiation, into the early hours of the morning each day of the second week.  A good overview of the situation can be had by listening to the UN TV  Webcast of the closing session.  It is about one and a half hours.  By listening to the webcast you will see how issues that affect  women and girls is highly political and fraught with all sorts of qualifications captured in the phrases such as according to ‘national laws’; ‘social norms’ does not enjoy global consensus   …. and the terms ‘sexuality’ is not acknowledged in national law or jurisdiction by a large number of member states nor in International law; express reservations on all principles that are not in accordance with the spirit of Islamic law. Another expression was that anything in the text of the agreed conclusion not in line with national laws is null and void and not applicable.  The Australian delegate noted that the discussion and link between SRHR and economic empowerment was profitable in coming to a process of understanding.  The Holy See interpreted the concept of ‘gender’ as being grounded in a person’s male or female biological sex, not in social constructions

The EU was largely disappointed with the outcome which it saw as an interpretation of the outcome rather than an negotiated outcome. Three issues were noted – limiting of the  space of CSO’s and NGO’s; the link between women’s economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) could be stronger by better references to the human rights component essential to gender equality; and emphasis on national policy space limited ambition and some language reflects the stereotypical role of women and girls and does not contribute to their empowerment and independence.  Despite this the EU will continue to work more to build consensus.

Here is the link to the US explanation of Position on Agreed Conclusions at the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The person who chaired the negotiations is Ms. Fatma Al Zahraa Hassan (Egypt), Vice-Chair (African States Group)   In her address she mentioned the main pillars towards women’s economic empowerment – education, legal measures, socio-economic measures, giving voice to women, achieving financial independence.  The document is 20 pages long and will be published in all 6 languages of the United Nations.  Seven pages use the following words to introduce paragraphs: reaffirms (6 times), reiterates, (2) recognizes, (16) emphasizes, acknowledges, (3) takes note, strongly condemns, expresses it concern, (5) reiterates its concern, recalls, (2) welcomes, and urges.

Reaffirms – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for action will make a crucial contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to women’s economic empowerment; commitments to gender equality and the empowernment of all  women and girls made at relevant UN summits and conferences; that the promotion and protection of, and respect for, the human rights and fundamental freedom of all women and girls,  including the right to development , which are universal, indivisible, interdependent and iterated, are crucial for women’s economic empowerment…; that the realization of the right to education, as well as to access to quality and inclusive education, contributes to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; the importance of significant increased investment to close resource gaps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and and girls.

Strongly condemens – violence against women and girls in all its forms in public and private spaces, including harassment in the world of work, including sexual harassment, and sexual and gender based violence, domestic violence, trafficking in persons and femicide, among others, as well as harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and recognizes these are major impediments to the achievement of women’s economic empowerment, social and economic development…

Expresses it’s concern – about the continuing significant gender gaps on labour force participation and leadership, wages, income, pension and social protection and access to economic and productive resources; structural barriers  including discriminatory laws and policies, gender stereotypes and negative social norms, unequal working conditions as well as about the growing high incidence of informal and non-standard forms of employment in many regions; occupational segregation; that the feminization of poverty persists; over the persistently low wages earned by women workers;

Reiterates it’s concern – over the challenge climate change poses to the achievement of sustainable development and that women and girls are often disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

The document is divided into the following sections:

  • Strengthening normative and legal frameworks
  • Strengthening education, training and skill development
  • Implementing economic and social policies for women’s economic empowerment
  • Addressing the growing informality of work and mobility of women workers
  • Managing technological and digital change for women’s economic empowerment
  • Strengthening women’s collective voice, leadership and decision making
  • Strengthening private sector role in women’s economic empowerment

The text was revised a number of time in the lead up to the opening of CSW 61 and during the formal negotiations of the two weeks.  In the initial text presented by the CSW61 Bureau there was a strong call for implementation of national floors of social protection – here is the reference:    (m) Establish universal social protection floors, in line with ILO Social Protection Floors recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), as part of national social protection systems to ensure access to social protection for all, including workers outside the formal economy, and progressively achieve higher levels of protection in line with ILO social security standards; (Based on E/CN.6/2017/3, para 49 (o))”  but this reference to ILO R 202 has not remained in the final version.

There are a number of references to social protection systems, social protection and pensions, social protection policies and in one instance including floors and ‘extending social protection and wages that allow for an adequate standard of living’… ‘without reductions in labour and social protections.’

w. Optimize fiscal expenditure for gender-responsive social protection and care infrastructure, such as equitable, quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education, child care, elder care, heath care, care and social services for persons with disabilities and persons living with HIV and AIDS, which meet the needs of both caregivers and those in need of care, hearing in mind that social protection policies play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality, supporting inclusive growth and gender equality;

x.  Work towards establishing or strengthening inclusive and gender-responsive social protection systems, including floors, to ensure full access to social protection for all without discrimination of any kind, and take measures to progressively achieve higher levels of protections including facilitating the transition form informal to formal work;

Argentina speaking on behalf of Latin American countries did reference social protection as important to women’s economic empowerment.

See UN Meeting Coverage and Press Releases

Youth

Youth leaders address the opening meeting of the 61st Session of the                        Commission on the Status of Women

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