UN2The invitation is out! Using the title “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda” and carrying the theme of “The role of civil society in the post-2015 development agenda”, the Department of Public Information (DPI) is setting the stage for a transition to a “bold new generation of people-centered and planet-sensitive development”.

Constituencies will be working on the issues of climate change, sustainable development effectiveness, environment, economic justice, human rights, and gender equality. It is a rare opportunity for NGOs to strengthen existing networking and good practices, and create new ones as they move toward achieving a “new social contract that reflects a strong and radical movement of hope and transformation”. It will be yet another opportunity for civil society to contribute its vast diversity in support of the post-2015 negotiations. The Sisters of Notre Dame, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame are making an application to sponsor a workshop on quality education entitled, “Four Zeros Add up to Positives for Education”, the four being: zero exclusion, zero discrimination against girls, zero child labor, and zero child marriage. We will again reflect the responses from Nari Gunjan.


.ngo  .ongNew domains for Non-government Organizations (NGOs) will be available in early 2015 along with an International Directory of Validated NGOs.  http://pir.org/domains/ngo-ong-domain/


April 30th to May 6th marked the beginning of a new chapter of collaboration among Notre Dame “cousins” related to St. Julie. Invited by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, their country JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) leaders were joined by congregational JPIC coordinators of the Amersfoort and Coesfeld branches, along with UN representatives Jean Stoner and Mary Jo Toll. Motivated by input from SND de Namur congregational leader Teresita Weind, Donald Dorr, M.A.D.D., and Isabel Mary Smyth, SNDdeN, participants seriously explored international, regional, and local means of networking in order to strengthen possibilities of people-centered development and to counter violence which is destructive of human rights and growth. Additional very special experiences were a visit to St. Julie’s birthplace in Cuvilly and time spent in the new heritage center at Namur.


Water_ENMore than 300 Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), including ours, recently sent a statement to the General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to explicitly affirm its commitment to protect and promote the human right to water and sanitation within the SDG framework and implementation. Our statement emphasizes the following points:

“We join the repeated and insistent calls from civil society around the world to ensure that the SDGs are explicitly aligned to the human rights framework. For the post-2015 development agenda to reach its objective of being just, people-centered, and sustainable, the goals must prioritize—for present and future generations—the human right to water for health, life, food, and culture over other demands on water resources. This is even more critical given the key role of water for achieving other sustainable development objectives such as sustainable energy and food production, gender equality, and climate change mitigation.

childdrinkingwaterSDGs must be designed to catalyze increased capacity and political will for States to fulfill their legally binding obligations to respect, protect, and promote the human right to water and sanitation. Our organizations fear that the human right to water and sanitation continues to be contested within the context of a global competition for scarce water resources. We are concerned that a development agenda that is not explicitly committed to upholding this vital human right may end up undermining it.”


The truest measure of compassion lies not in our service to those on the margins,
but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them.
Gregory Boyle


Mary Jo TollSweden hosted this year’s Global Forum on Migration and Development from May 9-16 in Stockholm. This meeting included participation in the grass roots Peoples’ Global Action and the launching of the Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE), an effort to link NGOs regionally from countries of origin to the diaspora in the country of destination. MADE creates new initiatives that promote personal development and respect for human rights and labor rights as well as migrant participation in policy considerations for good governance.   www.gfmd.org/

GFMD logoCivil Society Days, Common Space (joint meetings between NGOs and countries), and Government Days focused on ethical recruitment and employment practices, empowering migrants in crisis in transit and at borders, protecting and empowering children in the context of migration, and migration’s place in the coming Sustainable Development Goals. More information about these issues will be shared as efforts are made to create and replicate good practices.

Meeting highlights: good representation from all regions of the world and governments pursuing issues for which we have been advocating such as human rights for migrants regardless of status and recognition of contributions of migrants (for example, in the United States, 13% of all new small businesses are started by immigrants). Hopeful signs: real progress in dialogue, communication, and trust level; migrants themselves are more involved; governments and other stakeholders are listening to them; leadership is more creative, responsible, and responsive.

For a recent report by youth migrants,
go to: http://tinyurl.com/pe4d4gx (choose your language)


Girls MDGsIn the last newsletter, you may remember a list of questions asking about the experience of girls regarding fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We received a very thought-provoking response from Manju, Sindhu, and Poonan with the assistance of Dr. Pooja Kandula at Nari Gunjan (Danapur), the school begun and directed by Sr. Mary Sudha of the Patna province of the Sisters of Notre Dame. This response, together with other submissions, was given as testimony at a UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting sponsored by Canada and Turkey. The information sent to us by the girls in many countries was gathered and presented by the Girl Advocates of the Working Group on Girls.

Girls Nari GunjanGirls from Nari Gunjan are very articulate on the ways in which village girls are excluded from education, health care, and nutrition. Descriptions of effective education at the school, overcoming discrimination due to caste and the pressure to marry early, made a deep impression on the audience. One of the ministers from Canada is also a pediatrician and she was very vocal in support of the passion evidenced by the Girl Advocates as they shared what had been sent to them. Our girls from Nari Gunjan in Danapur shared further about the work that they do when they go back to the village for holiday: teach their younger siblings to read and write, teach numeracy to their parents, share what they learn about HIV/AIDS and malaria and how to prevent it, and the need for nutritious food and clean water. They worried about the needless deaths due to girls giving birth at an early age and envisioned a crèche for those mothers and babies who survived so that the young mothers could learn to care for healthy children.


At UNThrough the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur NGO Office, interested persons are able to participate in major UN meetings in New York City. There is no fee to attend these sessions, but participants are responsible for their own transportation, room, and board. Some funds are available to assist Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Latin America and Africa. If you would like to attend a major UN meeting in New York in 2014, contact Jean Stoner as soon as possible at SNDatUN@sndden.org. You can also follow these UN meetings by webcast at www.webtv.un.org

**65th DPI NGO Annual Conference — August 27-29, 2014
UN Department of Public Information (DPI) with Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Theme — 2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda
outreach.un.org/ngorelations/2014/04/15/65th-dpingo-conference/   (English only)

**World Conference on Indigenous Peoples September 22-23, 2014
UN General Assembly High Level Plenary Meeting
Themes — Indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources; UN action for the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples; indigenous peoples’ priorities for development
wcip2014.org/world-conference-on-indigenous-peoples-september-2014  (English, Español, Français)

**UN Climate Change Summit — September 23, 2014
UN General Assembly High Level Meeting
Theme — Catalyzing action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society
www.un.org/climatechange/summit2014/  (English only)



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