MMS & the UN News-Feb 2017

Dear Readers,

The 55th Commission on Social Development was from February 1 – 10, 2017 with a priority theme: “Strategies for eradication poverty to achieve sustainable development for all.” The NGO Committee on Social Development, a coalition of organizations dedicated to working towards a people-centered social change and development through the UN, engage with this commission very closely. In fact, the Civil Society Forum that precedes the Commission is jointly sponsored by the NGO Committee Social Development and UN-DESA Division for Social Policy and Development.

We have come to realize that economic growth will not reduce poverty, improve equality or produce decent jobs. It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach people living in extreme poverty. Often the progress is temporary for those who have moved out of poverty.

“Understanding genuine causes and solutions to the various poverty traps demands a dispassionate and objective reflection on the inadequacies of longstanding development policies and practices, and calls for innovative structural and systemic changes…situating development at the heart of the UN Agenda calls for new understanding of the role of the state as an enabler of ‘a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all can thrive.’ The institution of Social Protection Floors is one of the clearest means of fulfilling the vision of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development for all.” (Civil Society Declaration to 55th Commission on Social Development)

Social Protection Floors are meant to convey at least minimum benefits to all people at every stage in their life cycle (children, elderly, disabled, etc.) through whatever combination of nationally designed and selected programs the government deems appropriate. How did the concept of Social Protection Floors come about? In April 2009, the UN Chief Executives Board agreed on nine joint initiatives to confront the global economic/financial crisis; pave way for a more just and sustainable globalization. Initiative number 6 was a “social protection floor” that would ensure “access to basic social services, shelter, and empowerment and protection of the poor and vulnerable.”  This initiative was coordinated by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and supported by UN agencies, international NGOs, development banks and other development partners.

Approximately 75% of global population lacked adequate social security and this undermines social cohesion, creates political instability, and increases the vulnerability of an already vulnerable population experiencing shocks from natural disasters, climate change and financial meltdowns.

At the 101st session of the ILO in 2012, governments, employers and workers representing 185 countries unanimously adopted ILO Recommendation 202. According to the ILO Recommendation 202, Social Protection Floors

are nationally defined sets of basic social security guarantees that should provide access to essential social services and basic income security for all those in need over the entire life cycle. It should include:

  • Access to essential health care, including maternity care
  • Basic income security for children (nutrition, education and other necessary services)
  • Basic income security for persons of working age who are unable to earn sufficient income (sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability)
  • Basic income security for older persons

Social Protection Floors is based on shared principles of social justice and refers to the Universal Declaration of Human rights as well as the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Governments should understand that financing for social protection is a wise investment opportunity rather than as a short-term service delivery. Even small programs produce positive results. “In order to ensure development reaches all people, people themselves have to be active participants in the process, from planning and implementation to monitoring and review. Citizen engagement in analyzing policies, reflecting on the capacities and realities of local communities and engaging in and monitoring the implementation of policies will allow for greater transparency, policy effectiveness and trust among members of society.”  (Civil Society Declaration to 55th CSocD)   Watch the Video:

The extension of social protection to all would play a pivotal role in relieving people of poverty and deprivation. Governments need a strong tax base to fund their social protection programs, but money isn’t everything in the social protection debate.  MMS are part of a Global Coalition of Social Protection Floors and raise the issue in all our statements.

During CSOCD we had several parallel events and one was about Global Citizenship education a conceptual and practical prerequisite to the eradication of Poverty. In our crowd sourced conversation 2 main respondents were: H.E: Hahn- Ambassador of S. Korea to the UN   Mr.Maxwell Hay Wood- chief of Cooperatives- UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

Celine MMS facilitated a section using the questions: What do you understand as “spiritual impoverishment”?  How does this connect with strategies for the eradication of poverty to achieve sustainable development for all?

Picture: Martha, Mr.Maxwell, Cecilia IBVM, Amba: Hahn, Celine MMS and Georgina. (Facilitators)

Standing Rock Pipe line struggle: Indigenous people of Dakotta- N.America- Standing Rock struggle to protect their water source – if the government is not for the people and planet????  , here is the link :

Pope Francis :  “Do not allow those which destroy the earth, which destroy the environment and the ecological balance, and which end up destroying the wisdom of peoples,” Pope said. Pope appears to back native tribes in Dakota Pipeline conflict.

SDG Corner

Last month we saw Goal 1: Goal 2 is well connected to SDG1 Poverty too.

SDG2:Goal 2 aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. It also commits to universal access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food at all times of the year. This will require sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices, equal access to land, technology and markets and international cooperation on investments in infrastructure and technology to boost agricultural productivity.

Watch the Video:

The Zero Hunger Challenge is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s vision of a world free from hunger and malnutrition, where all food systems are sustainable, women and family farmers are empowered, and everyone enjoys their Right to Adequate Food. Working together, we can make this vision a reality!

Willing to Join the Challenge?

SDGS in real life: The SDGS apply to all countries, extend to all members of the population, and build upon simultaneous success to achieve sustainability dependent upon inclusivity.

Stories of Country Implementation and UN Support are a publication that provides insight into mobilized efforts towards sustainability. The report includes a voluntary review of sixteen countries from five different regions of the world. These countries showcase efforts that have been made towards integrating the SDGs into national policies. Counties have also focused on promoting public awareness, allocating and tracking financial resources, as well as setting up strategies for data collection and reporting.

The inclusive nature of the SDGs means that achievements in one target will add to the successes of other targets linked to various goals.

Reminders: CSW 61

The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the UN Headquarters in from 13 to 24 March 2017. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world are invited to attend the session.
Priority theme: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work
Review theme: Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls
Emerging issue/Focus area: The empowerment of indigenous women

20 February : World Day of Social Justice : 2017 Theme: “Preventing conflict and sustaining peace through decent work”


Celine Paramunda