Being in school makes children happy and improves individuals and society on many children laughing - Copylevels. Learning how to become global citizens is everyone’s challenge.

From May 30 – June 1, 2016 in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, the UN Department of Public Information for Non-governmental Organizations (DPI NGO) will bring together over 1500  NGO representatives from around the globe to focus on Education for Global Citizenship.

This 66th annual conference will include:

  • Roundtables: exchange ideas and experiences with diverse experts
  • NGO workshops: interact with NGO colleagues about your work
  • Exhibits: showcase your work and network with others who share your interests
  • Youth-led activities: build partnerships across generations
  • Networking: meet NGOs from other regions who share common interests and goals
  • Side Events: participate in side activities which reflect the theme of the Conference

Through the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur NGO Office, interested persons are able to participate in UN meetings. There are no fees to attend UN sessions, but participants are responsible for their housing, food, and transportation. Funds are available to assist Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Asia, Latin America, and Africa. If you are interested in this year’s DPI NGO Annual Conference in Gyeongju, please contact Jean Stoner as soon as possible at SNDatUN@sndden.org



Carolina Azevedo of the UN Development Program states: “Surprisingly, when I asked theE_SDG_Icons-01 group of New York City girls and boys from different cultural backgrounds what they thought poverty meant, they answered, in this order:

“Not having a proper house.”

“Not having a proper school.”

“Not having enough to eat.”

“In some places girls can’t go to school.” [A boy actually said that.]

“An earthquake hit my country and people lost everything.” [Child’s parents are from Nepal]

“Not having enough money.”

Note that only the last child mentioned money or income.”   http://on.undp.org/2BH      


E_SDG_Icons-10“Feeding the hungry is among our society’s most fundamental obligations, but we should also question why our neighbors are without nutritious food to eat. Housing the homeless is an imperative, but we should also question why our housing markets are so distorted. As a nation, we need more investment in education, but not without questioning educational disparities based on race, class and geography.”  Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation


2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


By Eucharia Ngozi Okoye, SNDdeN
During my visit to the Sisters of Notre Eucharia OkoyeDame de Namur Office at the United Nations, I had the opportunity to attend some of the events and committee meetings that our office participates in. One such meeting was the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons. I was also able to visit and reflectively read through the exhibition on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the third floor of the United Nations. Among the numerous human rights outlined in the declaration, one that especially struck me was Article four. It reads: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” It is quite disheartening that this Human Rights declaration has been infringed and is still being infringed on in various ways and means with slave labor, sex slaves, kidnapping, trafficking, etc.

Gift Box frontLastly, I visited a “UN GIFT Box” (www.ungift.org), an exhibition by the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons to portray scams used by human traffickers in luring unsuspecting victims into their heinous web. On the GIFT Box, people are promised heaven on earth which includes quality education, employment, food, good health, earn more money and support your family, life in abundance, etc. Once inside the box, visitors are exposed to the reality of false promises that can result in human trafficking. It involves exploitation in many forms: child soldiers, forced child labor, compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography, forcing victims into prostitution, and subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude. Making Gift Box insideillicit money and amassing wealth to the detriment of other peoples’ rights and freedoms in turn jeopardizes and ruins their future. 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.

  • Look out for the “fair trade” logo when you purchase products like coffee, chocolate and others. Fair trade products are items produced with raw materials not sourced using child labor, slave labor or the exploitation of the local people from where the raw materials are produced.
  •  Using different modes of communication like tweets, blogs, Facebook, and other electronic communication, speak up against the evils of human trafficking, child labor, and slave labor.
  • Create awareness of issues of human trafficking in our schools, parishes and youth groups.


Sustainable Development Goal 10:
To reduce inequality within and among countries
is at the Equality Equityheart of the challenge to eradicate poverty in all its forms. But trying only to make everyone equal, without taking into account unjust differences, doesn’t do it, as the graphic illustrates. Learn more:


Book launch

L to R: Joy Ogwu, Emeka Obiezu and Cecile                                      Meijer at the book launch

At a recent monthly meeting of Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests who are NGO representatives at the United Nations, a new publication was announced: “It Is Good for Us to Be Here: Catholic Religious Institutes as NGOs at the United Nations”, edited by Emeka Xris Obiezu OSA, Joan F.Burke SNDdeN, and Cecile Meijer RSCJ.

In Emeka Obiezu book coverher comments during the book launch, Professor Joy Ogwu, Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, emphasized the many contributions that men and women religious make in their advocacy efforts at the UN. “Groups from catholic traditions, especially those of institutes of religious life, have been the most influential faithbased NGOs. They have not only played a range of positive roles but have also affected UN decision-making and its approach to global issues by the moral and ethical consciousness they bring to the entire process of peace, security, and development. Nowhere is their constructive role in promoting the common good more evident than at the United Nations, the heart of international politics.”

United Nations leads joint action on disaster risk reduction and water

AliyaBy Aliya Yagudina, Intern in SNDatUN Office

“2015 is not just another year, it is a chance
to change the course of history.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The Second UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters took place on 18 November 2015 at the 70th session of the General Assembly, held at the beginning of the UN High-level Water and Sanitation Days and a day before the World Toilet Day. The opening remarks were addressed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mogens Lykketoft, President of 70th session of the General Assembly, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, and Dr. Han Seung-soo, UN Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water.

Water Aliya 1The meeting was set to highlight the issue of “Water and Disasters” and discuss the concrete initiatives for the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris (30 November-11 December 2015), World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (May 2016), and Habitat III in Quito (October 2016), based on the universal framework for sustainable development in the form of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The main objective of the event was to promote an international cooperation to take a joint action on disaster risk reduction and water along with other key global issues aimed to achieve sustainable development.

Children collect contaminated water in Haiti

Children collect contaminated water in Haiti

As the Secretary-General pointed out, SDG 6 on water and sanitation is at the core of the 2030 Agenda and is fully integrated across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which is directly linked to climate change, health, food security, access to energy, resilient infrastructure, ecosystem, and urbanization.

“Water is the source of life, health and livelihoods across the world. The provision of safe drinking water is one of the basic responsibilities of national and local government”.

The Secretary-General emphasized that water-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, tsunamis, and storm surges, account for 90% of all disasters that affected people since 1990. The catastrophes caused by water have influenced societies in both developed and developing countries. However, poor are the most vulnerable people have suffered “first and the worst”.

Water Aliya 2

A child plays at a dried-up pond in India.

Therefore, it is crucial for the international community to work unitedly and in partnership to tackle the challenges that threaten our planet and the entire humanity. The world governments along with the civil society, businesses and science must strengthen coherence and cooperation. It is necessary to prioritize common goals and targets, adopt effective mechanisms to address water and disaster issues, and to build a resilient society, able to analyze the risk to be better prepared for disasters.

As H. E. Ban Ki-moon concluded: “Solutions exist.  We have the tools. Our challenge is to connect the dots and work  in an integrated manner towards the goals we share.”


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