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Report by Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, Missionary Oblates – US Province, Representative to the United Nations
(The High-level Political Forum, is the United Nations’ central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals).
On Tuesday July 7th, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) began with the intervention of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Mona Juul of Norway. The title and subtitle of her speech brought us into line with what had been the first week of the forum. The title was: “Launching a decade of action in times of crisis: putting the focus on the SDGs while combating COVID-19“. Read more about the the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF): https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf/2020
This year’s version of the HLPF was designed to re-launch 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals following last year’s review, and to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN). At the end of last year’s meeting and until January 2020, everything sounded like a new impulse for the Agenda and a renewal of structures, both of the UN and of the ECOSOC. We cannot say that COVID-19 has stopped the impulses of renewal, but it has slowed down the momentum. The HLPF is being carried out, almost entirely, through virtual meetings. This new modality, although it represents the unequivocal decision to move forward, does not cease to represent a lesser degree of intensity than in previous years when the dialogues were face-to-face.
The review of the progress of the SDG of Agenda 2030 has been carried out this year from the perspective of COVID-19; that is, asking how the Coronavirus is and will be influencing the achievement of each objective. The analyses have been coincidental: much of what had been achieved, with much effort, in the fight against social inequality, is going to be affected very negatively. Children and adolescents have had to stop going to school; millions of jobs, formal and informal, have been lost; there is a health crisis with hundreds of thousands of deaths by COVID-19 infections; incipient and “coming” famines, etc. I could go on listing each and every of the 17 goals of SDG2030; all have been affected. This is a global tragedy that is happening in every country and impacting every person.
In the face of this catastrophic situation, the dialogues, presentations and seminars held during this week responded in a unified manner: the path to overcome this world crisis comes from what is contained in the Agenda2030. The challenge is global, and the response must be global, as is the Agenda itself. Having said this, there is a second point that can be found in SDG Goals 10 and 17: it is necessary to act decisively against the inequalities within each country and between countries and, for this, international collaboration is necessary. Multilateralism emerges, once again, as the only viable path; but multilateralism is not based on the will of each country to build it and shape it effectively.
We finished the first week and started the second week. The second period of meetings focused on the voluntary reports of each country – Voluntary National Review (VNR) – on the implementation of the Agenda; beginning with those corresponding to Armenia, Samoa, Ecuador, Honduras and Slovenia.
We will wait, as every year, for the conclusions of the HLPF-VNR, but this year we will have to wait for something more. The whole world, by country and area, is in the midst of the shock caused by COVID-19. Until the confusion caused by this public health war is dispelled, we will not know how the world is truly reorganized as we are in the midst of the fog, climbing a great mountain. I trust that the much worked out Agenda 2030 and the UN’s own multilateralism will be the answer we find at the top.
Aucayacu, PERU: We are building space dedicated exclusively for the treatment of Covid 19 patients June 19th, 2020
by Radio Amistad June 19, 2020
The community which is organized in a Committee from different sectors have come together to support the Aucayacu’s Health Community Center to fight Covid-19. Soon they will deliver to the Health Community Center all the different items they obtained that will help them in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Everything is going according to the schedule previously approved and published. The Committee that was created to support Aucayacu’s Health Community Center to fight Covid-19 has begun phase 3 of its plan. The transportation of the different items that were bought was completed thanks to the services of Transportes Céspedes Cargo. Most of the things that were bought are already in the city of Aucayacu, Peru. They arrived yesterday afternoon and were transported to Aucayacu’s Heath Community Center.
The items that were bought are essentials items to help patients to fight Covid-19. Items such as: clinical beds, transport stretchers, pulse oximeter, cabinets, multi-purpose car, serum holders, oxygen concentrator, nebulizers and personal protective equipment for health workers, among others things for the new room that is being built to treat patient with Covid-19.
For the members of the committee that support Aucayacu’s Health Community Center it is a priority to build a new room to treat patients sick of Covid-19. This new room will be 250 mts 2 (2690.9 ft2), this will be located among the corner of street San Martín and Mariscal Cáceres in the city of Aucayacu.
This new room will have a perimeter fence, floor, roof, bathroom, and gardens that will provide a better quality of services to the people of Alto Huallaga. It is important to have in mind that Aucayacu’ Community Health Center also serves people of nearby districts like José Crespo and Castillo. Also, that means people from districts such as La Morada, Pucayacu, Santo Domingo de Anda and Pueblo Nuevo might also come to ask for services.
The multi-district committee is going to give a press conference where they will make the official donation of the items and will offer a detail account of what was bought and explain how the money was spent. The committee thanks everyone that was involved: people of good heart, families, friends, small business owners, entrepreneurs, local authorities, and church entities. We hope to continue receiving more support to reach our goal. Let us remember that the money that we gathered in Selvatón 2020 was about 106 thousand soles [31 thousand and 800 hundred dollars]. Thanks to that donation we are building this new room that will have what is necessary to treat patients affected of Covid-19 during this global pandemic.
Covid-19 won’t go away soon, and we need to learn to live with it. Once we have overcome this global pandemic it is hoped that in the future this room will be used for treatment of senior people and vaccination of children. That is the decision we have reached as a multi-district committee.
(Among the initial group of additional funders are CommonSpirit Health, the Oblate International Pastoral Investment Trust and the Franciscan Sisters of Mary).
Sixteen U.S. congregations of Dominican sisters have pooled more than $46 million to establish a new investment funds initiative aimed at financing solutions to address climate change and assist communities worldwide most at risk.
The new Climate Solutions Funds are a collaboration five years in the making between the Dominican sisters and prominent investment firm Morgan Stanley. The sisters provided initial seeding of $46.6 million in 2018 for the funds, which with additional capital investments have grown to $130 million. The money will be directed toward global projects pursuing solutions to climate change as well as achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Read the full story at National Catholic Reporter’s EarthBeat.
Introducing the Lavista Learning Garden June 17th, 2020
Since its inception in 2001, La Vista Ecological Learning Center has taught that how we eat determines, to a great extent, how we care for creation. That is why we were aligned with the Community Supported Garden at La Vista for 15 years. Since that project ended in 2019, we have established La Vista Learning Garden under the umbrella of the Oblate Ecological Initiative.
The Learning Garden will be a model and gathering place for novices and area participants to learn and practice:
- sustainable gardening skills like creating a garden plan organic soil preparation and fertilization crop rotation choosing vegetables and their planting times methods for harvesting vegetables growing fruit trees native flower propagation a variety of composting methods
- raising and caring for chickens
- backyard beekeeping
- cooking and nutrition
- hand-carving kitchen utensils
- DIY recycled garden decorations
Vernon DePauw is our head gardener and teacher. He is a nationally known wood carver as well as a backyard gardener, poultryman, and beekeeper. Vernon has been a presenter at the Learning Center for several years. Vernon is faithfully supported by his wife Kathy who is also a volunteer.
Sister Maxine collaborates with Vernon to plan, organize, advertise and execute programs.
Volunteers – A small group of volunteers contribute their skills.
This project has been made possible with the support, encouragement and help of Seamus Finn, OMI, and OMI Novitiate Leadership: Pat McGee, Frank Kuczera and Humphrey Milimo.
OMI JPIC Joins Investors Urging the SEC to Mandate Disclosures on COVID-19 Risks & Responses June 16th, 2020
Investors and the general public are struggling to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the economy and the financial markets. At the same time, the federal government is distributing trillions of dollars in financial support to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
OMI JPIC recently joined 98 investors, state treasurers, public interest groups, labor unions, asset managers & securities law experts to urge the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to institute new disclosure requirements that would allow investors and the public to analyze how companies are acting to protect workers, prevent the spread of the virus, and responsibly use any federal aid they receive.