We are gifted with one more year and like many of you I want to start the New Year with optimism but the world realities make me a bit worried optimist. The UN Security council’s adoption of a much needed resolution demanding an end to settlement building by Israel, indeed is good news while the GA agreement to give ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) an observer status, equal to Holy See and Palestine is very disappointing-since money can influence the shaping of UN decisions which the civil society is genuinely concerned. In spite of all this, Avaaz gives us one million reasons for hope in 2017:
Role of the UN in the world – a recap on 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2sck1yq5Wk
Gratitude to the Outgoing UN leaders : The UN was blessed with two great leaders-Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who made the ‘most impossible job’ a possible mission at an interview- News ID=55865#.WFxfRwbSn2J.twitter …
The Deputy SG Jan Eliasson – A respectful, compassionate leader with decades of diplomatic experience, always carried his copy of the UN charter so much so at his farewell, the UN diplomats waved him with their UN charter! Listen to his words of wisdom. http://bit.ly/2htOARJ
New SG António Gutierrez: On his first day in office, former UN high Commissioner of Refugees and United Nations new Secretary-General, called for teamwork, telling staff that it is not enough to “do the right thing, we need to earn the right to do the right thing.” He acknowledged that in some parts of the world there was a resistance and skepticism about the role of the UN. Hearty welcome to the new team!
On behalf of the Catholic religious men and women at the UN (RUN) which is part of the Civil Society, we send a welcome letter to the new Secretory General. (Attached)
I was asked by some of you “will the UN survive under the new US president?” here is a blog by Felix Dodds a long term Civil society advocate at the UN highlighting the words of former presidents of USA on the UN.
Nuclear Disarmament:The UN on Oct. 27, 2016 adopted a resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons, putting an end to two decades of paralysis in world nuclear disarmament efforts. 123 nations voted in favor of the resolution, 38 against it and 16 abstaining. http://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament- fora/1com/1com16/resolutions/L41.pdf
The resolution will set up a UN conference beginning in March 2017, which will be open to all member states, to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. The negotiations will continue in June and July this year.
SDGs reminders:From the new year onwards I would like to highlight one of the Sustainable Development Goals as a reminder and in line with the MMS 14 General Chapter priorities.
The SDGs are universal Goals and our invitation is to focus our involvements in some of these goals since the implementation is always on Country level (MMS GA accountability report 2015)
SDG 1: calls for an end to poverty in all its manifestations by 2030. It also aims to ensure social protection for the poor and vulnerable, increase access to basic services and support people harmed by climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.
Some of the targets to be met by 2030 are:
- eradicate extreme poverty (< $1.25 a day) for all people everywhere
- reduce by half the % of all people living in poverty
- Achieve substantial coverage of poor and vulnerable in social protection systems
- Ensure that all men and women have equal rights to economic resources and access to basic services; property rights, new technology and financial services
- Build the resilience of the poor and vulnerable and reduce their exposure to climate related environmental disasters.
Did you know that?
- Globally nearly half of those living in extreme poverty are 18 years old or younger
- Children from the poorest 20% of the population are twice more likely to die before they reach their fifth birthday than children from the richest 20%.
- More than half the children living in low – income countries live in extreme poverty as measured by less than $1.25 per day
- Alarming gaps exist in learning levels between children in the poorest and richest households with nearly 5 times as many children of primary school – age being out of school.
- The number of children affected by natural disasters related to climate change is likely to rise by 175 million per year over the next few years.
A recent study by Oxfam revels that 8 billionaires in the world have the wealth equal to the bottom 3.6 billion people; this extend is the inequality in the world!
“The face of poverty might change from one place to the next, but how poverty is felt is the same.” Youth Group New York
Goals 1, 2,3,5,9 and 14 will be reviewed at the high level Political forum (HLPF July 2017)
Countries (where MMS present) due for review include: Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru and the Netherlands.
Any information/feedback regarding SDG:1 is welcome for the Civil Society input after the country presentation.
Upcoming Meetings and reminders: 1 – 10 February: 55th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD55) 13 – 24 March: Sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) Registration last date is extended till Jan 19.
Celine Paramunda MMS