MDG LogoIn the year 2000, every country at the UN agreed on goals to work on until the year 2015.  We are now in the process of reviewing progress on the work on those goals. You could help by answering one, several, or all of the questions below. Please send your responses to:

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

What does poverty look like in your community? How does poverty impact girls in your community? Do people have enough food to eat in your community? Are you and/or anyone you know ever hungry?

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Do the same number of boys and girls go to school? How long do girls go to school in your community? If girls drop out, why do they drop out? What’s your hope for education?

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

What does equality mean to you? What does it look like in your school, community or family?

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality.

Do girls and boys have access to doctors and hospitals in your community? If not, what do you think girls and boys need in order to be healthy? If you are sick, where do you go or what do you to get healthy? What do you think a healthy family looks like?

Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

Are there young mothers or teen moms in your school or community?What struggles or difficulties do they face as young mothers? What would you want the UN to do to help them?

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other Diseases.

Have you ever been told about how to prevent HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other sicknesses? What does being healthy mean to you?

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Are your lands and waters clean and safe? Have you ever felt that your water was unclean? Do you grow food in your community, and if so, is there enough? Is there enough food to go around?

Goal 8:  Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Which persons and which organizations are most helpful to girls in your village or community, helping you with education and personal growth? Which government programs do this?


By Jo-Ann Flora, SNDdeN     During the week of February 10, 2014, I attended sessions of the Commission on Social Development (CSocD) at the United Nations. Despite interference from Mother Nature, Masako Miyake and I managed to attend three days’ worth of sessions.

Jo-Ann Masako CSocD crop
Jo-Ann Flora & Masako Miyake

One highlight of the week was my experience at the Civil Society Forum on February 10. The CSocD focus – promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration, and full employment and decent work for all – spoke to our mission as Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to people living in poverty. It was encouraging to be reminded again that we are supported in this mission by many other civil society communities and organizations. The afternoon session on “promoting gender empowerment in the post-2015 framework” also spoke to our SND mission to women and girls. I found this focus supportive of our work on the Post-2015 Task Force of the Working Group on Girls and our position statement calling for a stand-alone goal for girls in the post-2015 framework. Finally, of the many presentations during the Forum, Sister Margaret Mayce’s presentation from the NGO Committee on Social Development reflected the notable work that is being done by that committee and the religious NGOs at the U.N.

interfatih-harmony-171The other highlight of the week was the program on February 12 entitled World Interfaith Harmony: A Vital Key for Peace and Development. This program was inspiring, informative and enjoyable. The mixture of keynote presentations, panel presentations, and artistic performances provided a good balance. I appreciated the focus on the powerful influence the world’s faiths can have by working together in conflict resolution, rejection of hate crimes and speech, community development, fostering peace, building social trust, and putting the common good at the forefront, whatever the sacrifices may be. As an SND I especially valued the emphasis on goodness as an essential element in all faiths and the responsibility we all have to uphold and celebrate goodness in the other. I consider myself very fortunate to be living so close to the U.N. and able to attend events from time to time. They contribute greatly to my ongoing education on issues that relate to our mission as SNDs.


By Ines Prisca Bikindou, SNDdeN      “I work at St. Julie Billiart Hospital in Ngidinga, Democratic Republic of Congo, as an accountant and cashier. It is my first experience in this town where the population is predominantly poor, so that to pay for hospitalization is really hard. The political situation is sad, the majority of the population poor, the wages they receive cannot reach the end of the month, and to the east of the country there is always war, so we live in total insecurity. But God who is good always protects us. Despite the situation of life, God gives us the courage to move forward and we do not lose confidence that what we create is stronger.”


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“Social protection refers to a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty, vulnerability, and inequality. The UN takes a rights-based approach to social protection within the context of the Social Protection Floor (SPF) framework, which promotes universal access to essential social services and transfers along the life course.” With these challenging words the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, a coalition of more than 70 organizations, launched its proposal that governments adopt a first level of basic social protection for all and then improve the quality of protection as soon as possible. Some countries are already doing this with good programs that others could adapt to their situations.

Social ProtectionWhat needs to be included? Essential health care; nutrition, education, and care for children; income security for older persons and for active persons unable to work.


If I walk with the poor today, I may find a new person in me tomorrow.


By Amarachi Ezeonu, SNDdeN

Some Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), including the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, possess consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the organs of the United Nations system. The ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, part II paragraph 20 defines the purpose of the consultative roles of NGOs under ECOSOC and states:

“…Consultative arrangements are to be made, on the one hand, for the purpose of enabling the Council or one of its bodies to secure expert information or advice from organizations having special competence in the subjects for which consultative arrangements are made, and, on the other hand, to enable international, regional, sub-regional and national organizations that represent important elements of public opinion to express their views.”

ngosNGOs with consultative status with ECOSOC are able to attend events and sessions of the Council, its functional commissions and other subsidiary bodies. They participate in these annual sessions by:

  • Attending official meetings
  • Submitting written statements on relevant issues prior to sessions
  • Making oral statements during the sessions
  • Meeting with official government delegations and other NGO representatives
  • Organizing and attending parallel events that take place between the sessions
  • Participating in debates, interactive dialogues, panel discussions and formal meetings.

For further information, go to:


In September 2013 Indigenous Elders and Medicine People of North and South America gathered in Council to consider the continuing crisis in Fukushima. At the conclusion of four days of prayer and discussion, they made a formal statement. They stressed that “the Fukushima nuclear crisis alone is a threat to the future of humanity. Yet, our concern goes far beyond this single threat. Our concern is with the cumulative and compounding devastation that is being wrought by the actions of human beings around the world. It is the combination of resource extraction, genetically modified organisms, moral failures, pollution, introduction of invasive species and much more that are threatening the future of life on Earth. Powerful technologies are out of control and are threatening the future of all life.”

Fukushima CC crop

Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Sioux Nation presented the Council Statement at an NGO gathering at the Church Center for the UN in November 2013. At the same time a draft resolution was submitted to the General Assembly calling for an International Independent Commission of Experts to assist Japan in reducing radiation and minimizing public health risks. No action has yet been taken by the UN.

What you can do:

• Support the Council Statement:
• Read the UN Resolution:                   UNdraftFukushimaResolution.pdf
• Learn more about the workers:      fukushima-workers-special-report
• Take a video tour of the plant:

• Remember the people of Japan in a special way on March 11, the 3rd anniversary of ‘311’


Always consider how a particular decision affects the next seven generations.
Deodata Bunzigiye


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