Poverty shoe cropIn 2012 Franciscans International and ATD Fourth World realized that a handbook was needed to translate the legal language of the UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights into concrete suggestions to help those working at the local level to better understand the implications of human rights for people living in extreme poverty. Their useful manual is now available in English, French, and Spanish, and free pdfs are accessible here: franciscansinternational.org/handbook/. You will also find introductory videos with subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and German.

 We must talk about poverty,
because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it.
Dorothy Day




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



GFMD logo“Migrants whose human rights are duly promoted and respected, who are well integrated in the countries where they live, and who are able to exercise their talents and energy in productive employment and decent work can contribute mightily to the development of their countries of origin and destination.” [Global Forum on Migration and Development, 12-16 October 2015, Istanbul, Turkey]      http://bit.ly/1U6F7Sr

View a graphic display of migration patterns:  http://nyti.ms/1BDsXrS


Alla BaranovskayaBy Alla Baranovskaya, Intern in SNDatUN Office

Piracy off the coast of Somalia is not a very common topic for discussion for United Nations headquarters. However, it was very interesting to hear what organizations and governments had to share about the situation in the country. The piracy problem might remind us primarily of older times, stories that we have read in books and have seen in historical movies. For developing countries, taking Somalia as an example, the problem is still present nowadays. An important topic was discussed during a recent UN meeting: Somalia’s government needs to enforce the laws regarding fishing and sailing on the water territories of the country. While there are no strict laws in the country, whatever happens on a water territory can not be controlled. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Trust Fund, and other panel participants mentioned that Somalia needs some support from the governments of more developed countries who have already overcome that piracy problem. There are a lot of ways to control the majority of boats in the open sea. FAO shared an example of transparent boats that helped to solve a piracy problem in Italy. Another way of controlling the boats can be implemented if all the fishing partners in Somalia and surrounding countries report their boats so that most of the activities in the water can be tracked by high forces.

PiracyAnother great and powerful thought I have is that piracy is a crime and yet it is easy to commit. It only requires a few things: a boat, weapons, and a group of people. Young kids of Somalia who do not have a proper education can and will consider this type of income if their country’s conditions allow. Therefore, Somalia’s goal should be focused on not letting the conditions actually arise. Young kids are very vulnerable and they adjust quickly. Besides parents’ influence, a big part of their life knowledge will depend on what they see around themselves outside of their homes. If the rules are strict enough, most likely those kids will not want to give it a chance trying to cross legal boundaries. If piracy is, however, not controlled by strict government regulations, kids will not see a bad outcome of these actions, and, consequently, will most likely get involved in giving it a try to become pirates.

Watch a press conference by the contact group on piracy off the coast of Somalia:  http://bit.ly/1DD9Lvd


Nkoa 3By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

The Addis Ababa Third Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), which I attended recently (13-16 July) as a representative of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, wrapped up few weeks ago, leaving behind a taste of failure. Failure, since the general observation of CSO delegates is that, compared to Monterrey and Doha, Addis was regressive on many points. Tax issues have not been solved, ODA (Official Development Assistance) has not been clarified, PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) have been reinforced at the expense of people living under poverty, trade and debt issues have not been clarified, while the systemic issues of our world’s financial system and climate challenges and gender inequalities have been just brushed out. A survey of these issues is a clear sign that a lot has to be done and the fighting spirit does not relent.

Looking at DPR (Domestic Public Resources) reveals that developed countries are not ready to stop malpractice that goes on in that sector through illegal acts such as tax evasion, transfer pricing, trade mispricing,  national custom authorities reinforcement, as well as judicial systems. These propositions put together with a common agenda on fiscal cooperation and a different type of PPPs would have helped LDCs (Less Developed Countries), SIDSs (Small Island Developing States), LLDCs (Land Locked Developing Countries) to mobilize huge amount of resources at the domestic level which would have helped them to considerably solve the challenge of poverty. By refusing to address those issues, FfD3 denied to those above-mentioned groups the right to leverage at their level enough resources to implement local policies of development. The side effect of this is that it pushed them more towards a great reliance on IPF (International Public Finance). These countries have been weakened because in order for them to implement the SDGs the only valid option that is given is ODA, though the international community acknowledged that previous commitments to ODA of only 1 per cent of their GNI were not achieved. And this is the same ODA that is expected to solve all the problems on the way to SDGs. Big illusion. On the other hand, various forms of aid and assistance given to developing countries are either attached to conditions that don’t meet national policies of development of receivers or substituted for other commitments (real ODA most of the time) to give an escape door to donors who don’t want to meet their commitments. Challenges here are really great in as much as those attached aid and assistance favor PPPs.

FfD3 5

CSO rep at Addis Ababa FfD3

Why do we think it is wrong to allocate ODA to PPPs as promoted by Addis? The private finance sector should be clearly distinguished from the social sector because the social sector is not a sector where any investor can expect to make profits. We cannot expect private finance to invest in social sector and then make a profit and eradicate poverty by such kind of actions. Those two approaches are wrong since the social sector is there to serve the needs of citizens, more precisely those who are below a certain rate of income. The social sector serves them at points like water, sanitation, transport, energy, nutrition, education, communication, just to mention a few. So to privatize these is to condemn them to death since private investors in those sectors will never make enough profit to meet their initial investments and thus will close up their structures. Secondly, people living under poverty will pay twice for what they were supposed to get for free. The second point of the PF focus is that this will kill local industry because small and medium enterprises in developing countries are not strong enough to compete with huge multinationals that have all the resources (financial, human, technology and technology and skills) to gain all types of contracts.

These are clear signs that we made a big movement backward compared to Monterrey and Doha, and as a Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur delegate I do believe that more work is still waiting for us. Even if women are not clearly mentioned on these issues, the impacts that flow from them will considerably affect women if a clear stand against their implementation is not taken. So at SNDatUN our job is not yet completed; more work is still waiting for us.


worldreaderThe proposed Sustainable Development Goals include a focus on Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Providing books, an important facet of this effort, can make all the difference in a community.

Worldreader is on a mission to bring digital books to children and their families so they can improve their lives. This creative organization has programs in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe where the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are present. Learn about and be part of this program:


We need to be poor with the poor and re-appropriate
a kind and tender relationship with Mother Earth.
Then we will know how to act.
Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN

Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, posthumously honored in 2008 with the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, would feel right at home today with the UN’s current efforts to formulate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All of the goal focus areas of Dignity, People, Prosperity, Planet, Justice, and Partnership capture well the energy and commitment she brought to social and ecological change for which she was killed in the Amazon on February 12, 2005.

Today the pastureland where she died holds a simple community center, a community school, a tree nursery, and a small cocoa factory. More than thirty families now live there, collaborating to simultaneously protect the forest and provide a living for the people, ideals for which she gave her life.  http://bit.ly/1E24hZp

“When Sr. Dorothy died, there were 35 basic Christian communities; today there are more than 85. Now the people are unafraid in confronting loggers, gunmen, ranchers or local authorities who threaten the planet and the lives of their families. They have learned to do so with strategies and organized strength. The people challenge injustices and sustain a profound and irrepressible hope and belief in the future, their future, a future they remember and reverence as Sr. Dorothy’s legacy to them.”
Jane Dwyer, SNDdeN, Seeds Bear Fruit in Brazil: www.sndden.org/assets/Good-Works/GWNOV2014.pdf

Artwork: Margaret Hoffman, SNDdeN

Artwork: Margaret Hoffman, SNDdeN