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

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)

The final session of CSW 60

CSW 60The Commission on the Status of Women was held in New York from March 14th to 24th, 2016.  It was preceded by a one day event on Sunday March 13 the  NGO CSW  Consultation Day.  If you wish to see the web cast of the adoption of the Agreed Conclusion of the 60th Session of the CSW Click Here

The negotiations were only concluded before midnight on March 24th  You can access the document HERE   If you listen to the statement of the various member states you will get hints as to the stumbling blocks.  Saudi Arabia was the first to make a statement followed by the US, the EU, Egypt, Yemen, Mexico, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Canada, Iran, Colombia, Mauritania, and the Holy See.

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GSIJP Team at CSW 60 with Mission Partners from Taiwan and Emma.   From right to left: Cecile Kern, Winifred Doherty, Yen-Chu Chen , Emma Mackey,  Yu-Chia Chang, Cyan Chen and Clare Nolan 

This team presented a parallel event entitled ‘Economic Empowerment Strategies Addressing Systemic Issues affecting Girls and Women’ from Taiwan, to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Bolivia. From the Agreed Conclusion paragraph 16 “The Commission…emphasizes that no country has fully achieved gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, that significant levels of inequality between women and men, girls and boys persist globally, and that many women and girls experience vulnerability and marginalization owing to, inter alia, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination throughout the lifecycle.

The Agreed Conclusion “Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development” are captured here in a piece of art work submitted by Monique Tarabeth to NGOCSW Committee for the cover of the Handbook 2016.  We were not selected for the cover but were a divider inside the book.  Thanks Monique!

Handbook CoverWomen's-empowerment-and-its-link-to-sustainable-development-copyAnother Design

Apart form the cover the other art pieces were in black and white.  Beautiful expressions of empowerment!

 

Special High Level Event on Human Trafficking and upcoming Commission on the Status of Women

On February 9, 2016 the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking held an interactive discussion on the interdependence between the eradication of human trafficking and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  See more information at Mercy Global Action  where Sisters of Mercy call for a radical shift in understanding and addressing Human Trafficking.  Good Shepherd collaborated in the statement made by Angela Reed.

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The Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women is published in the 6 languages of the UN and can be accessed HERE  The statement was endorsed by a number of other ECOSOC accredited organizations.  “Our organizations wishes to address the Commission on behalf of one group of women and girls who are extremely vulnerable to the denial of their human rights and are often excluded from conversations about rights and sustainability; that group is prostituted persons. We do applaud and support the recent development of networks of women who have successfully exited prostitution and who speak openly of the exploitative nature of prostitution, its stigmatization and consequent discrimination.”

As you will see we are collaborating with Mercy International co-hosting a paralle event together with Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH).   The event will take place on 17 March, 2016 and is entitled ‘No Random Act: Human Trafficking and the Interplay between Systemic Oppression and the Individual Life Course’.

A second side event is in partnership with our Mission partner Nancy Fritche Egan Monday March 21st, 2016.

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2015 – Celebrating 20 years after the 4th World Conference on Women – Beijing 1995

CSW 59 X 3

The Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women (with the main focus on Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action), has been published in the 6 languages of the United Nations.  The following NGO’s at the UN supported the statement –  Dominican Leadership Conference, International Federation of Women in Legal Careers, International Federation of Women Lawyers, International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Passionists International, Religious of the Sacred Heart Mary, Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries,  Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and UNANIMA International.

“Today, the various Good Shepherd grass-roots services work with women and girls in 72 countries who are constrained by situations that are the same, or often worse, than those that existed in 1995. Under the current model of economic globalization, women and girls who are living in extreme poverty and denied access to basic services are highly susceptible to forces of irregular migration, prostitution, and trafficking for sexual and /or labour exploitation.

“Prostitution is a violence of human rights and constitutes violence against the person prostituted.”

To read the Statement go to the link: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/CN.6/2015/NGO/25

Good Shepherd organizes a parallel event during CSW 59 with the theme: “Advocacy and Networking Strategies for Legislative Reform: Ending Prostitution and Human Trafficking”

We are particularly happy that the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations supports the event and that Ireland’s Minister of State for Justice and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin will be present.  He may not be able to stay for the whole event but we look forward to welcoming and hearing from him. See the flyer for information.

Flyer for panel event CSW 59 Version 3

Quote from our Statement to CSW 59: 

​”We applaud the Member States that have ratified and begun to adopt these international laws at the national level.

We acknowledge and appreciate the many regional mechanisms and agreements that are in place.  But only when each country has integrated the international laws into national laws and collaborates across borders to ensure the human rights of every person will change be seen.

We acknowledge and appreciate the work and achievements of Sweden, Norway, and more recently France, Canada and Northern Ireland in addressing the human rights violations caused by prostitution.  Using a legislative basis, they have criminalized not only traffickers, but also the purchasers of sex and sexual services, insightfully defining the multiple layers of human rights violations in prostitution. We encourage all member states to do the same.  The debates engaged in during the legislative process bring complex gender consciousness to the public forum.”

NILS research report wins award second year in a row!

Congratulations to Good Shepherd Microfinance Australian for excellence in impact measurement.  Read about the award and the service providing women with access to safe, fair and affordable finance.  Sister Noelene White said: “We started with just $20,000 and a belief that the program would be a success.  Our sceptics said it wouldn’t work and that we shouldn’t expect to see any of the money again.  But that conventional wisdom could not have been more wide of the mark.  Here we are 34 years later, with 260 community partners in over 600 locations providing $30-million of NILS loans. The no interest loans scheme has reached more than 155,000 people and our repayment rate is consistently above 95 per cent.  It is a truly great achievement and one which we are very proud of.”

Michelle Crawford, Good Shepherd Microfinance’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer added: “We would like to acknowledge the continued support of National Australia Bank. In our 11 years of partnership they have invested over $130-million in microfinance in Australia.  Together, our goal is to provide fair, safe and affordable financial products and services to one million people living on a low income in Australia by 2018.”

Access to the full reports ‘Life Changing Loans at No Interest’

The Impact Measurement Awards are part of the Annual Measuring Social Outcomes Conference which provides practical guidance on progressing outcomes measurement.

A Program that Works – NILS – Australia

Caroline Price, Mission, People and Culture Team, Australia shares the following story which was on commercial television last night about the No Interest Loans (NILS) program.

The program began in the early 1980s when the Sisters gave seed funding to start it.  Now it is a program worth millions of dollars and has the support of one of the national Banks and the Government.

Video Link Here      Congratulations Good Shepherd and NILS!

Concrete practical steps towards ending poverty!  ‘Fair and affordable finance and services’ and the last words from the commentator ‘A terrific caring service.’