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INFORMATION SHARED by Fr. Daniel LeBlanc OMI, (Missionary Oblates’ representative at the United Nations)
“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.” Laudato Si’ 76
The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a meeting of the Member States of the United Nations under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The 2018 forum will be held from July 9-18. The HLPF is tasked with the central role of the follow-up and review of the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. And the highlight of the forum is the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). As part of the follow-up and review mechanism of the SDGs, the VNRs facilitates the sharing of experiences and lessons learned and challenges by the Member States with a view to implementing the SDGs. Forty-seven countries will be conducting the National Voluntary Reviews during the 2018 forum. The HLPF platform provides opportunities for partnership among the Member States. Civil society organizations, UN agencies, the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders also actively participate in the forum.
The following goals, including goal 17 (Strengthen the Means of Implementation and Revitalize Global Partnership for Sustainable Development), will be reviewed during the 2018 HLPF. The central theme for the 2018 HLPF is, “Transformation Towards Sustainable and Resilient Society.”
- Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf/2018
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
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
Sustainable Development: The World We Want February 3rd, 2015
- Dignity: to end poverty and fight inequalities
- People: to ensure healthy lives, knowledge and the inclusion of women and children
- Prosperity: to grow a strong, inclusive and transformative economy
- Planet: to protect our ecosystems for all societies and our children
- Justice: to promote safe and peaceful societies and strong institutions
- Partnership: to catalyze global solidarity for sustainable development
2015 is the last year for the millennium development goals, which were launched in 2000 to make global progress on poverty, education, health, hunger and the environment. UN member states, on the basis of a broad international consultative process, are finalizing sustainable development goals to replace them. What do the SDGs aim to achieve? How are they different from the MDGs? What progress was made in meeting the Millennium Development Goals? See how the MDGs have shifted into the SDGs, and explore each SDG in more detail: An Interactive on The SDGs: all you need to know
For more information on the SDGs, read the UN Secretary General’s 2015 Report: The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet
Thanks to Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, Oblate representative at the UN, for this information.
NGOs Raise Alarm About Hydroelectric Dam in Guatemala October 15th, 2014
The Missionary Oblate JPIC Office has joined other international organizations in a letter of concern to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples about construction of the Santa Rita Hydroelectric Dam in Guatemala. The dam was registered as a project under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – established under the UN’s Kyoto Protocol – in June 2014. According to the letter, “Numerous violations against the indigenous Q’eqchi´ and Poqomchí communities have been reported prior to and since project approval, most recently in violent incidents from 14 to 16 August 2014 resulting in several injuries and deaths.”
The letter notes that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Rapporteur on indigenous peoples’ rights recognized “that the current licenses for mining and hydroelectric plants were granted without the State having implemented prior, free, and informed consultation with affected indigenous communities, as it is obligated to do under international treaties signed by Guatemala”.
Biodiversity Preservation Lagging October 6th, 2014
The world is severely lagging behind targets set in 2010 to preserve biodiversity, according to a new report issued by the United Nations. The report said in addition to high profile campaigns to save certain animals, preserving biodiversity also means pursuing goals like reducing nutrient pollution in rivers. Much more efficient use of land, water, energy and materials are needed to meet globally-agreed targets by 2020.
“Bold and innovative action is urgently required if governments are to meet the globally-agreed Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its Aichi Targets by 2020,” the Montreal-based Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said referring to the 20 biodiversity goals agreed upon in 2010 in the Japanese city of Nagoya in Aichi prefecture.
“The challenge of achievement of many of these targets stem from the reality that based on current trends, pressures on biodiversity will continue to increase at least until 2020 and that the status of biodiversity will continue to decline,” according to this latest progress report by the CBD. The report cautioned “that continuing with ‘business as usual’ in our present patterns of behaviour, consumption, production and economic incentives will not allow us to realize the vision of a world with ecosystems capable of meeting human needs into the future.”
The report, Global Diversity Outlook 4 was released today at the start of the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP-12, in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.