A LITTLE GOOD NEWS: THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER, SLOWLY BUT SURELY

Anne Kertz KernionAnne Kertz Kernion (www.cardsbyanne.com) is not present at the United Nations but her words of wisdom certainly apply to NGOs and all who are working for global change:

“Lately, I’ve been avoiding the news because I’m feeling beat up. Bad news streams to us every hour of every day, bombarding us relentlessly, and it all frays my spirit. So it’s a welcome relief to hear some good news for a change, and the latest statistics tell us this: the world is actually getting better in many measurable ways. The per capita rates of violence, poverty and disease are going down, while educational opportunities and childhood survival rates are going up. This data gives us reason to be hopeful. For example, violent crime has fallen 50% since 1992, more people are living in democratic countries than ever before, the average lifespan has increased worldwide, and more children go to school regularly. But good news doesn’t usually qualify as ‘news,’ so we don’t hear about all of these positive trends. Simply put, the drumbeat of bad news does not reflect the reality of the numbers. And numbers count. We ARE making the world a better place, slowly but surely.

I’m not suggesting that we should all retire and begin eating bonbons beneath the shade of a palm tree. ‘Better’ does not mean perfect. There is still a lot of work to be done for those suffering from disease, hunger, climate change, violence, etc. But let’s not lose sight of the progress we’ve made. Let’s continue to ‘keep on keeping on,’ using our human ingenuity to bring about even more improvement to our world. … And remember what the numbers tell us. The world is getting better in many ways.”

View UN Millennium Development Goals Progress Chart 2014:  http://bit.ly/1vxjJK3

Listen to Anne Murray’s A Little Good News:    

ORANJE HUIS: A NEW STYLE WOMEN’S SHELTER

Oranje Huis

Most victims of domestic violence are safe only if they go into hiding, which can intensify feelings of shame and isolation. In the Netherlands, a new style of shelter provides visible yet secure housing for women and families escaping from domestic violence. Oranje Huis residents are given specialized guidance, stay in touch with friends and family, and regain self-esteem.

Bringing the issue of domestic violence out into the open is a step in its prevention. So is education about the human right of women and girls to lead violence-free lives. Also, national and local laws must result in prosecution of abusers until no more domestic violence shelters are needed ever again. Speak up locally and nationally about the issue of domestic violence.

www.blijfgroep.nl/sites/default/files/infoFleafletengels.pdf

GIRLS: CRITICAL YET OVERLOOKED PARTNERS IN DEVELOPMENT

cropped-Smaller-Teen-Orientation-Pic-with-Phumzile-20142

At the United Nations in New York, the Working Group on Girls (WGG) recently submitted a compelling statement for consideration at the 59th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women to be held in March 2015. Along with many other NGOs, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur endorsed this statement in support of the need for girls’ voices to be “represented in all areas of civic life: education, employment, health, safety, economics, technology, environment, and peace building”. Girls are critical yet overlooked partners in development who cannot be left behind. The document contains six main recommendations for the participating governments to affirm in March:

  • Reject all forms of violence and harmful practices against women and girls
  • Recognize human rights of girls in all phases of the life cycle
  • Change deep cultural negative attitudes about women and girls
  • Address persistent feminization of poverty
  • Reverse both child and maternal mortality rates
  • End child labor in all its forms, including recruitment and use of child soldiers

What you can do

Read WGG statement:  http://bit.ly/1vxHPnY
View infographic on gender equality:  http://bit.ly/1pcS4Ln
Support access to technology for girls:  www.globalfundforwomen.org/be-the-spark
Speak up locally and nationally about the important issue of girls’ rights


The equation is simple: when girls are healthy and in school;
when legal frameworks and financial access support women;
when women’s lives are free of violence and discrimination, nations thrive.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

NGOS AND THE POST-2015 AGENDA

Amarachi Grace Ezeonu 1By Amarachi Ezeonu, SNDdeN

Efforts of NGOs to influence policy formulation have been very evident in the current discussion on the “post-2015 Agenda” on sustainable development at the United Nations. As the deadline for the well celebrated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws very close, it is clear that some countries have not and may not be able achieve many of these goals before 2015. For this reason, the UN member states are currently engaged in discussions on what shall happen after 2015 in terms of these unattained goals. This discussion is being tagged the “post-2015 agenda.” The overarching theme for the “post-2015 agenda” is sustainable development.

I was so fortunate during my time at the UN to attend the fifth and sixth sessions of the Open Working Group where member states and civil society organizations engaged in discussion on the “post-2015 Agenda” during the months of November and December. What was very evident to me was how hard NGO representatives worked during these discussions to submit their statements. They also organized different events during the sessions to push for pertinent issues to be included in the “post-2015 agenda.” Some of these significant issues included climate change, migration, human rights, poverty eradication, and empowerment of women. The NGOs present at these Open Working Group sessions networked to make their voices heard on these issues.

UNACCOMPANIED CHILD MIGRATION: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE UNITED STATES

Mary Jo TollSr. Mary Jo Toll, Chair of the NGO Committee on Migration at the United Nations, says “the UN is an essential forum for finding solutions to unaccompanied child migration because national politics make long-term solutions difficult to achieve in the United States. Immigration advocates are aware of increasing numbers of young people traveling alone seeking asylum status. Numbers of minor children crossing the US/Mexico border from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico have risen to 60,000 so far in 2014.

Unaccompanied minors

NGOs and Church groups assist these young persons with basic shelter and social needs and register them for school. Being able to attend classes had been out of the question for children afraid to leave their houses for fear of gangs. A great majority of these children are fleeing countries among the most violent in the world; grounds for asylum exist and the children require legal representation.”

 Read more:  ngo-migration.org/

 

WIDEN THE CIRCLE: PARTICIPATE IN UN MEETINGS IN 2015

Through the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur NGO Office, persons are able to participate in major UN meetings. There is no fee to attend these UN sessions, but participants are responsible for their room and board and transportation while attending the meeting. Funds are available to assist Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Latin America and Africa. If you are interested in attending a major UN meeting in 2015, contact Jean Stoner as soon as possible at SNDatUN@sndden.org.

WE’RE HERE FOR GOOD: WORKING FOR GOOD AND STAYING FOR THE LONG TERM

On my way to a UN meeting in midtown Manhattan a few years ago, I noticed a sign that said, “We’re Here for Good”. These words, posted in the window of the local YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), struck me as describing as well the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the United Nations. Both are also working for good and staying for the long term.

DPI NGO 2015As the UN gets ready to celebrate in 2015 the 70th anniversary of its founding, we are reminded of how much the world has changed since the original 51 countries signed the UN Charter. With 193 member nations today, issues addressed by the UN are significantly more complex than in 1945. The good news is that collaboration and cooperation continue to facilitate change on a regular basis around the world. And we NGOs accredited to the UN work together to advocate governments to honor their global commitments and eliminate inequities wherever they exist.

Nigerian sisters.jpgSisters and Associates of Notre Dame continue to proclaim God’s goodness and minister with those living in poverty as our first Sisters did more than 200 years ago. Our priorities at the UN — Education, Financing for Development, Migration, Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Development, Stopping Human Trafficking, Women and Girls’ Rights — insert us into networks advocating for change and celebrating what is being accomplished. We are here for good in the long term too.

We choose to live with less until all have enough.
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

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