[UN-NGO] Sister Catherine Prendergast representing the Company of the Daughters of Charity at the United Nations, shares the news below from the UN in New York:
The Vincentian Family provided input into the United Nations’ 55th Commission for Social Development, February 1, by organizing a panel discussion on “The Triad of Grass Roots Engagement, Advocacy, and Systemic Change in the Elimination of Poverty.” The panel was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Ireland and the various members of the Vincentian Family at the UN. It was held at UN headquarters in New York.
Fr. Guillermo Campuzano, CM, spoke of the synergy between inclusiveness of grass roots engagement, participation in advocacy, and systemic change in addressing poverty. Dr. Linda Sama, from St. John’s University, gave examples of this dynamic from the GLOBE Project, which she initiated and which engages university students, in partnership with the Daughters of Charity, in providing microloans to persons living in poverty.
Dylan Corbett spoke of the HOPE Broder Institute in El Paso, Texas. HOPE is a grassroots community organization on the US-Mexico border focusing on research, reflection, leadership development, advocacy and action. Joseph C. Donnelly, NGO Representative for Caritas Internationalis, inspired those present not simply to know the plight of refugees and migrants, but to know their names. Teresa Kotturan, SCN, and NGO Representative for the Sisters of Charity Federation, served as moderator. The Daughters of Charity were instrumental in planning and organizing the event, as were the International Society of St Vincent de Paul and the International Association of Charity (AIC).
The theme of the Commission for Social Development is: “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all.” During the two-week-long event, panels addressed multiple topics, such as the potential for youth involvement in the Sustainable Development Goals, addressing the needs of persons with disabilities, policies related to poverty, examples of effective strategies in eliminating poverty, and much more.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on January 13, provided a report on CSOCD’s theme. He called for stronger efforts at the national and international level to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development. A significant appeal was to address root causes of poverty, from rising inequalities to insufficient policies, taxation concerns, trade issues, and social exclusion, among others. The report also calls for steps to address the needs of the most vulnerable, by such as strengthening access to land and the land rights of women and indigenous persons; promoting structural economic changes which bolster opportunities and raise standards of living and incomes; encouraging stronger public spending on agriculture and rural infrastructure; developing rural non-farm economies; and promoting more partnerships in achieving sustainable development.
Unemployment among youth was also mentioned by the Secretary General, who asked for stronger youth-related policies. In terms of persons with disabilities, Mr. Guterres said that they still face marginalization and significant barriers to their inclusion and participation in society and sustainable development. He recognized persons of disabilities as both beneficiaries and agents for change in all areas of development partnership.
Many nongovernmental organizations are appealing during the Commission for social protection floors. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), social protection floors are nationally defined sets of basic social security guarantees that should ensure, as a minimum that, over the life cycle, all in need have access to essential health care and to basic income security which together secure effective access to goods and services defined as necessary at the national level.