News Archives » Fr Daniel LeBlanc OMI
Fr Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, Moderates NGO Side Event at the 17th UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues May 3rd, 2018
The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held it’s seventeenth session from April 16 – 27. The theme for the 2018 forum was; “Indigenous Peoples’ Collective Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources.” According to the UNPFII, indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. Indigenous Peoples have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Several indigenous communities from around the globe were represented at the UNPFII. Many of them had opportunities to present statements on issues of concern to their different communities.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, in his opening remarks at the forum, painted the grim picture of the situation of the over 300 million Indigenous Peoples around the world. He noted that while Indigenous Peoples make up about 5 percent of the world’s population, they comprise 15 percent of the world’s poorest people. A situation he described as ‘shocking.’ Mr. Lajčák also highlighted some of the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples as violations of their human rights, marginalization, and violence they face for asserting their rights. Focusing on the theme of indigenous land, territories and resources, Mr. Lajčák pointed out that, “Indigenous Peoples are being dispossessed of the lands their ancestors called home,” often by big time and multi-national farmers and mining corporations.
In a recent report by Conselho Indigenista Missionaria (“Indigenous Missionary Council” – a subsidiary of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil), some of the challenges faced by a number of indigenous communities in Brazil (as well as indigenous communities around the world) include; high rate of of suicide, lack of health care, high child mortality, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of indigenous education and lack of general support from the State.
NGO Event at United Nations 17th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
As part of the Forum’s many side events, on April 18 Fr Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, moderated a session on “Spiritual Connection and Right Stewardship of Land, Territory, and Resources, including Water for Indigenous Peoples,” with panelists that included:
- Atilano Alberto Ceballos Loeza – Leader in sustainable agricultural practices and defender of land and territory in Yucatan
- Elvia de Jesús Arévalo Ordóñez – Member of the Council of Government of the Community CASCOMI (Amazon Community of Social Action Cordillera del Cóndor Mirador), integrated by native families and settlers of the parish Tundayme-Ecuador
- Augostina Mayán Apikai – Awajún indigenous woman leader born in Cordoncanqui is the president of the Development Organization of Border Communities of Cenepa – ODECOFROC. http://odecofroc-es.blogspot.com/p/nuestra-organizacion.html
- Leila Rocha – Guarani Ñandeva, member of the board of Aty Guasu Guarani and Kaiowá, Mato Grosso do Sul
- Sachem HawkStorm – Schaghticoke First Nations
The event was held at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City and organized by Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate; UN Mining Working Group; NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Congregation of the Mission; VIVAT International; Caritas International; Dominican Leadership Conference; Franciscans International; Red Eclesial Pan Amazónica (REPAM); Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI); Sunray Meditation Society
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: https://bit.ly/2pvCccv
UN News on Indigenous Peoples’ land rights: https://bit.ly/2H4EU1M
Conselho Indigenista Missionaria report on violence against indigenous peoples in brazil in English, Espanol and Portugese: https://bit.ly/2F1w133
Missionary Oblates and Vivat International, along with the NGO Committee on Social Development, the NGO Committee on Financing for Development (chaired by Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI) and a host of supporting organizations, including the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, are hosting an event on March 13, 2017 at the UN Conference on the Status of Women (CSW).
The goal of this event is to generate substantive discussions around the topic of financial inclusion as a tool for women’s empowerment and poverty eradication.
Frs. Daniel LeBlanc and Antonio Ponce Conduct Weeklong Workshop in Guatemala February 28th, 2017
Post-2015 Development Agenda Officially Launched October 15th, 2015
The United Nation’s 70th session convened in New York in September 2015 with the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by its 193 member states. The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the prevailing development agenda since 2000, which ended in 2015. Like its forerunner, the SDGs will have a 15-year timeframe and remain in effect until 2030. It is the result of an international consultative process that originated at the Rio +20 meeting in 2012.
Some see the SDGs as the UN’s boldest anti-poverty agenda yet, as expressed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon who called them “17 bold yet achievable goals that aim to end poverty.”
The 17 goals cover a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues: poverty and hunger, improving health and education, reducing inequality, and combating climate change. They have been hailed as a step up from the MDGs because they tackle more present-day issues and incorporate all countries rich and poor.
In addition to governments, civil society groups have actively participated in the processes leading up to the final adoption of the global agreement. In the last year and a half, Fr Daniel LeBlanc OMI, JPIC’s Representative to the United Nations collaborated with several Working Groups including the Mining Working Group, International Trade Union Confederation and the Indigenous Peoples Major Group. These groups worked for the inclusion of a human rights perspective in the final agreement. Some of these rights include the right to water and sanitation, the right to decent work, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the eradication of extreme poverty.
An area of particular concern for civil society and other stakeholders is the question of how the goals will be financed by individual countries. A separate negotiation process took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this year at the 3rd Financing for Development Conference. In Addis Ababa Fr Daniel LeBlanc OMI joined other civil society groups in pushing for a new and expanded follow-up process that will allow civil society to better monitor whether countries meet their commitment and provide support for struggling countries. Without the necessary financing, many countries will fall short of meeting their goals and targets within the 2015-2030 timeframe.
Additional resources on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be found at these websites:
1. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Background On Sustainable Development Goals
2. Caritas Internationalis Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS): Frequently Asked Questions
3. Download an Open Letter to Pope Francis from the UN Mining Working Group:
Thanks to Fr Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, Oblate representative at the UN, for this information