The high lights of August were as follows:
Special event, MDG Momentum– Aug.18 marked the 500-day milestone of the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. With Malala Yousafzai by his side, UN Secretary-General called for more accelerated action from governments, international organizations and civil society groups on MDGs for sustainable development far beyond 2015. ABC News anchor Amy Robach moderated the event. “The ideas and inspiration of young people have been especially critical in this effort and their role must grow even more,”said Mr Ban. Malala was indeed inspirational with her mature and relevant remarks and challenges to the participants. She said “ each one of us can and should make a difference in the world; some of us are more famous but it does not mean that we are better than any one; I am just like you, I play with my I pad, I fight with my brothers”. She stressed the importance of quality education, comparing her situation in Pakistan and the school she attends now in London. She requested the governments to invest more in education and responded to the questions from the audience eloquently.
August 19th World Humanitarian Day : the fact is that humanitarian work is becoming more dangerous – a theme which the United Nations picked up in deciding to commemorate August 19th as World Humanitarian Day. On this date eleven years ago, the U.N. headquarters in Iraq was bombed, killing 22 people. According to some reports, the number of humanitarian workers killed in action has tripled in the past decade. The UN is seriously concerned about this issue.
August 27-29, The Annual Conference of UNDPI– (Department of Public Information) had the Theme: Our Action Agenda, 2015 and beyond. After 7 years, the DPI conference is back to New York, the last one in Bonn – Germany was in 2011. Over 2000 participants from 120+countries gathered in different conference halls due to space constriction due to the remodeling of the GA hall. On the opening session US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power was the keynote speaker. Civil society speaker Casey Gerald, the founder of MBAs Across America (a movement of MBAs & entrepreneurs working together to revitalize America) . He was applauded loud and wide for his remark: “ We live in a messy world of violence and killings; the world is in need of spiritual healing. We must push beyond passing laws to push love. Let us put spiritual awakening as the core of our Action Agenda. It will lift our eyes to collective Conscience” .
There were 2 round tables per day with various topics: Eradicating Poverty, Fighting Inequalities, the Resource Nexus: Food, Water and Sanitation and Climate Justice in Action were some of the topics. Several workshops were conducted by various NGOs. One of the workshops high lighted the ethical and Spiritual values a missing link in the SDGs. The speakers from various traditions highlighted the need for a realization that we are all one and have the same source – Global Ethical Consciousness’ . Speakers often quoted great environmentalists and theologians like Fr. Thomas Berry and Teilhard de Chardin. One speaker talked about the interspiritual movement; a sign of new consciousnes which is pivotal to face the challenges in the world today.
On the final day a civil society declaration was accepted to be included in the Secretary General’s synthesis report to the General Assembly.
There was great energy and consolation to know that many in their own ways are working as “leaven”/yeast for a better world amidst chaos and sufferings. We can be grateful that MMS are part of this process in our own realities and places.
Up coming events:
Sept 5: Panel discussion – Child, Early and Forced Marriage World wide
Sept 9: High Level Forum on Culture of Peace. live web cast: http://webtv.un.org
Sept 19: The Things that make for peace
Sept 21st: International day of Peace – People’s Climate March in New York.
ref: people’s climate.org
Sept 22: General Assembly with World leaders on ICPD beyond 2014
Sept 23: World Climate Summit
Sept 22-23: World Conference on Indigenous peoples