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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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March 22: World Water Day March 21st, 2013

logo_celebrationsWorld Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Designated by the UN, it is an international day to celebrate freshwater.

In 2013, in reflection of the International Year of Water Cooperation, World Water Day is dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water.

In February of 2013, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) held a Roundtable in New York on the Human Right to Water and Community Engagement. A gathering of companies, community representatives, investors and NGO representatives, the Roundtable was a successful beginning to a process of dialog around corporate impacts on scarce water supplies.

For information on the UN World Water Day events and materials, visit World Water Day 2013

To learn about the ICCR Water Roundtable, click here.

For Lenten faith resources on water, visit the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches, which has an online compilation of biblical reflections and resources on water.


Access to Water and Sanitation Needs to be Prioritized February 26th, 2013

The United Nations and its partners today called on the international community to prioritize ensuring access to water and sanitation to vulnerable populations in the ‘post-2015’ development agenda, stressing this would help combat inequality and promote human rights and sustainability.

Following the Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, the United Nations started an open consultation process to identify priorities from citizens around the world for the post-2015 development agenda, as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their target date in 2015.

Water was chosen as one of the 11 thematic areas in the global consultation process. Given the importance of water, especially due to the fact that water underpins most of the other MDGs and any future goals, it is deemed critical that there be an insightful and informative debate on the role of water in the post-2015 development agenda.

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2012 Fall/Winter JPIC Report Available November 8th, 2012

The Fall/Winter Issue of our bi-annual print newsletter is now available on-line. (Download the PDF)

This issue includes articles on Faith Consistent Investing, social justice education in Sri Lanka, campaigns against torture and the effort to ban conflict minerals, Oblate work in the Peruvian Amazon, faith-based principles for US immigration reform, JPIC network updates, the impact of climate change on the poor, the state of faith-based community organizing and the bountiful Oblate garden in Washington, DC.

We hope you enjoy this issue, and would welcome your feedback on the newsletter. Comments can be left below.


Italian Constitutional Court Blocks the Privatization of Water July 23rd, 2012

In an important ruling, the Italian Constitutional Court has declared unconstitutional the privatization of water and local public services. In a ruling issued July 20, the Court ruled against Article 4 of the Decree Law 138 of August 13, 2011, by which, the Berlusconi government re-introduced the privatization of local public services. This ruling also blocks all subsequent amendments, including those of the Monti government.

The ruling strongly confirms the citizens’ will, expressed in the referendum of 12 and 13 June 2011. On those dates, a nationwide popular referendum was held in Italy on four questions, two of which concerned the privatization of water. Turnout was reported to be high, reaching 56.9%, with clear majorities of 94.6% to 96.1% in favor on all questions. The Vatican has come out strongly in favor of the human right to water, and opposed the efforts to privatize the vital resource. Cardinal Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said water distribution should be a service provided by governments to their citizens as part of their role in protecting the common good. 


New On-Line Course on Water at Duquesne University July 10th, 2012

An exciting new course is available on water in Duquesne University’s free on-line program in Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.

Entitled “Water, Environment, and Development,” the course addresses three common problems with water: sufficiency, availability, and quality, gives helpful suggestions for addressing these problems, and challenges students to think through approaches to solving water problems in their own circumstances.

Dr. Stanley Kabala of Duquesne’s Center for Environmental Research and Education, who developed the course, is an expert on global environmental concerns.

To learn more about Duquesne University’s distance-education program in Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation or to take the course on water, go to

Click here for the Water, Environment and Development Course information page.

Oblates Active in ICCR AGM in Boston June 10th, 2012

Simmons College, Boston, MA

The Oblates participated in the Annual General Meeting of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) that met at Simmons College in Boston from June 4-8. The corporate engagements over the last proxy season were evaluated – with successes celebrated, and plans laid for the 2012-2013 season. Areas in which the Oblates are active include: access to finance, extractives, global access to health, water, human trafficking, toxic chemicals, corporate governance and supply chain (labor) issues. John Ruggie, Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the UN Special Rapporteur behind the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business was honored at a reception Wednesday evening.

The work on the financial services sector continues to be a high priority for ICCR members and has generated significant media attention. Resolutions and statements by religious investors continue to draw attention to the extensive moral and ethical responsibilities that corporate actors in this space assume. The enduring impact of the destruction of nearly 17 trillion dollars of wealth since the near financial meltdown of September 2008 is a clear justification of the need for such vigilance. This work by ICCR members has strongly supported the efforts of numerous homeowners in places like the San Fernando Valley CA and Prince William County in VA to stay in their homes and restore their communities.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI and Sr. Judy Byron, OP at ICCR

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