MMS & UN News Update-September 2019

Dear Readers,

September was the busiest month at the UN with the 74 UN General Assembly high-level week, from 21 to 27 September, and other events. World leaders gathered at the UN creating very high security and traffic jam in NYC. 

Secretary General had asked leaders to announce concrete plans of action that can boost global ambition. “If we want our planet to remain the same – healthy and able to support prosperity and opportunity for all – we will have to completely transform our world.” Heads of States and Government are using their 15 minutes at the podium not only to underscore modern challenges and garner action to curb global ills facing today’s and tomorrow’s world but also accusing one another which has become a trend recently.  

International day of Peace: Every year celebrated on Sept 21 and the theme for 2019: Climate Action for Peace and on 21 we took to the street with young ones. We celebrated 30 World Peace Festival and an interfaith Panel at the UN on Sept 5-Spiritual Healing, inter faith culture of Peace. I was the only Catholic speaker in the panel.   

12 September 2019 –Secretary-General António Guterres launched the United Nations Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sitesduring an informal briefing to Member States This Plan of Action emerged on 22 March 2019 in the aftermath of the tragic terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. More

Climate strike March on September 20: As many as a 250,000 people marched on the streets of New York City for a youth-led climate strike inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Globally, as many as 4 million people took to the streets in hundreds of countries.  Among the many who represented their organizations for the rally were our new Intern Lea and me. The solidarity march was very energizing, and the leadership of hundreds of Teens and youth gives much hope. 

Main Events of September
International Peace day
UN General Assembly-Youth Climate Summit
UN Climate Action Summit
SDG Summit & Action Zone
Universal Health Coverage
HLD on Financing for Development
Civil Society Forum Peoples Assembly – UN Church Center 

Youth Climate Summit Sept 21: On Saturday1,000 youth gathered from168 countries and hundreds of them shared their projects and initiates to combat climate crisis. A Canadian Teen girl announced she prefer not to have babies once she grows up. Many parents and adults felt very sad. During the discussion with World Leaders many youths raised very relevant questions and got not only the answers but also commended for their thought/concern for the global issues.

Climate Action Summit on Sept.23 was kicked off by a passionate cry from Greta Thunburg

 Greta’s speech is here :  many world leaders spoke in support of Greta’s initiates and underscore the urgency of the issue by committing to concreate action. New Zealand Prime Minister- Jacinda Ardern was the first to speak, followed by German’s Angela Merkel. I had the opportunity to personally thank  PM Ardern for her leadership and courage.

SDG Submit:We must ACT NOW – for people and our planet. The Sustainable Development Goals provide a blueprint for the transition to a healthier planet and a more just world — for present and future generations. The SDG Summit is the first UN Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals with world leaders since the adoption of the landmark 2030 Agenda in 2015. It is a critical opportunity to accelerate progress on the 17 Goals and their targets. Amidst the strict security a special colorful SDG Zone was set up for the first time for the official meetings. A separate Media Zone is used mostly by the private sector and companies to showcase their activities. 17 SDGs are depicted colorfully and widely all over the UN.  A video message created for the world leaders :   

High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage. The world leaders adopted a high-level United Nations Political Declaration on universal health coverage (UHC), the most comprehensive set of health commitments ever adopted at this level. WHO welcomed this landmark declaration:

People’s Assembly: Sept 24&25: Strong Civil society voices  from the grassroots spoke out at the two-day Peoples Assembly held at the UN Church Center. The world’s most vulnerable are bearing the brunt of conflict, inequality, injustice, environmental degradation and human right violations. A statement was made at the Civil Society Forum at the UN and a public demonstration was held in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza by various civil society representatives. A well thought declaration was carved out of the meeting to strengthen advocacy both at the National and at the UN. ( see Pic)

Financing for Development Sept 26
: Mobilizing enough financing remains a major challenge in realizing the 2030 Agenda, and investments that are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals remain underfunded. The High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development brings together leaders from government, business and the financial sector to help unlock the resources and partnerships needed and accelerate progress.

From our  new Intern: My name is Leakena Khy, I like to be called Lea. I was born in Cambodia and  when I was six years old, my mother and I moved to the USA. I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Studies at Marymount Manhattan College and I aspire to work for the UN one day! I am very excited to accompany Sister Celine, as the Youth Representative of Medical Mission Sisters, to various meetings and other UN-related events, in which I can learn more about the interconnectedness of this world and to understand the complexity of international issues. Genuinely, I desire to be a part of something bigger than myself and to do what is needed for the betterment of humanity.

Best, Celine and Lea

September in New York in pictures:

Peace Day Panel- Spiritual healing, interfaith culture of Peace

SDG Action Zone
Greta at the UN Climate Summit 
Climate Strike
Peoples Assembly demonstration