Posted on November 23, 2014 by Sister Jean Stoner
By 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.
Filed under: MDGs | Tagged: Sustainable Development | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 16, 2014 by Sister Mary Jo Toll
Sr. 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.
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/
Filed under: Children, Human Rights | Tagged: Migration | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 2, 2014 by Sister Jean Stoner
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.
As 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.
Sisters 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
Filed under: Change, Religious at the UN | Tagged: Sustainable Development | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 23, 2014 by Sister Jean Stoner
By Amarachi Ezeonu, SNDdeN
A few of the activities of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations include the following roles: policy advocacy, information dissemination, awareness raising, development education, joint operational projects, providing technical expertise, and collaborating with UN agencies, programs and funds. NGOs fulfill these roles individually or by networking with other like-minded groups to form committees and sub-committees on different issues such as Anti-Trafficking of Persons, Working Group on Girls, Financing for Development, Education, Social Development, Poverty Eradication, and various others. NGOs enrich the capability of the UN through providing their field experience and insights to various networks and during UN sessions and associations.
Statements (oral or written) by NGOs at UN sessions are often considered credible and valued because of their expertise and contact with people at the grassroots. According to ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31:
“Written statements relevant to the work of the Council may be submitted by organizations in general consultative status and special status on subjects in which these organizations have a special competence. Such statements shall be circulated by the Secretary General of the United Nations to the members of the council …”
Though most NGOs work with people at the grassroots, however, their presence at the UN is invaluable because this affords them the leverage to also influence policy formulation at global, regional and national levels on some of the issues which directly or indirectly impact on the lives of people these organizations work with. NGOs may not be able to directly challenge member states of the UN who have not lived up to their commitments to the conventions and treaties they have signed and ratified, but these countries are often very aware that the NGOs are watching. Therefore, this monitoring compels them to strive to honor their commitments.
For more information, go to:
Filed under: Communication, MDGs, Religious at the UN | Tagged: Advocacy | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 16, 2014 by Sister Jean Stoner
Highlight from previous issue (2012):
In 2000 the United Nations agreed on eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to address the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015. While efforts to achieve the original MDGs continue, the UN has launched a global conversation to determine steps after 2015. An Inter-Governmental Working Group is preparing Sustainable Development Goals, and a High Level Panel of twenty-six members of government, civil society and the private sector is working on a Post-2015 Development Agenda. Beyond2015, a coalition of 400+ organizations, is also addressing this issue. UN Agencies are leading nine thematic consultations and more than fifty national discussions. Countries participating in consultations include Brazil, Peru, Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa; plans are in place to add more countries to the list. For an overview of the entire Post-2015 process, go to www.beyond2015.org (in English, French, and Spanish).
An opportunity to participate in a collaborative effort between the United Nations and civil society: The World We Want Campaign invites people around the world to share their visions for the post-2015 world. Materials are accessible in multiple languages. Go to www.worldwewant2015.org/ and click on your language.
Filed under: Change, MDGs | Tagged: Millennium Development Goals, Poverty Eradication | Leave a comment »