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NOGs and Religious Groups Call for Inclusion of Human Right to Water and Sanitation in SDGs July 7th, 2014
More than 300 Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), including Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, recently sent a statement to the General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to explicitly affirm its commitment to protect and promote the human right to water and sanitation within the SDG framework and implementation:
“We join the repeated and insistent calls from civil society around the world to ensure that the SDGs are explicitly aligned to the human rights framework. For the post-2015 development agenda to reach its objective of being just, people-centered, and sustainable, the goals must prioritize-for present and future generations-the human right to water for health, life, food, and culture over other demands on water resources. This is even more critical given the key role of water for achieving other sustainable development objectives such as sustainable energy and food production, gender equality, and climate change mitigation.
SDGs must be designed to catalyze increased capacity and political will for States to fulfill their legally binding obligations to respect, protect, and promote the human right to water and sanitation. Our organizations fear that the human right to water and sanitation continues to be contested within the context of a global competition for scarce water resources. We are concerned that a development agenda that is not explicitly committed to upholding this vital human right may end up undermining it.”
Click here for good resources on the UN Human Right to Water: Human right to water and sanitation | International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015
USCCB Infographic to Stop Slavery! July 2nd, 2014
Please watch this new info-graphic from the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference Anti-Trafficking Program, and take action today!
“Investing for the Poor: How Impact Investing Can Serve the Common Good in the Light of Evangelii Gaudium” June 16th, 2014
Faith-based and Socially Responsible Shareholders Call on Google to Pay Fair Share of Taxes April 8th, 2014
The Missionary Oblates co-filed with ethical investor Domini Social Equity fund, in a shareholder resolution calling on the multinational firm Google to pay its fair share of US taxes. NEI Investments LP, Robert Burnett, and Investor Voice, SPC joined as co-filers. Google recommended a vote against the shareholder proposal, which argues that “Google’s tax practices have come under scrutiny in the United Kingdom and France, leading to regulatory pressures and reputational damage.” The shareholder proposal cited as one of its arguments for the proposal, a Bloomberg article headed “Google cuts billions off its tax bill each year by sending profits through Ireland to a mailbox in Bermuda.”
The proposal stated, “Although most Google engineers are US-based, where much of product development takes place, Google’s intellectual property is held in Bermuda, which does not levy corporate taxes.” It went on to state: ‘Tax haven’ jurisdictions are characterized by low tax rates, financial secrecy and light regulation. Tax havens facilitate financial opacity and illegal activities including tax evasion and money laundering.”
The proposal has received coverage in The Sunday Times in London and the Independent.ie an Irish news source. Although it is not expected to pass, the proposal will once again attract attention to Google’s low tax outlay against multibillion revenues.
The Vatican Press Office released a statement regarding Thursday morning’s meeting between Pope Francis and U.S President Barack Obama. The statement notes that the two leaders discussed “current international themes” and expressed the hope that “in areas of conflict there would be respect for humanitarian and international law and a negotiated solution between the parties involved.”
The statement goes on to say that in the context of bilateral relations between the U.S. and the Holy See, the Pope and the President discussed “questions of particular relevance for the Church in that country, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform.”
Finally the statement notes that Pope Francis and President Obama spoke of a “common commitment to the eradication of human trafficking. Text from the Vatican Radio website.
Ukraine Economy and US Leadership at Stake
190 policy experts, business and academic leaders, and former Senate-confirmed appointees who had oversight responsibilities for organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank yesterday delivered a unified message to Congress: promptly enact IMF quota reform legislation. Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI signed the letter on behalf of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Oblates have long supported New Rules for Global Finance, which works for fundamental reforms at the IMF.
The broad-based bipartisan letter to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid comes at a time when Congress is considering a $1 billion bilateral emergency assistance package for Ukraine to help the country stabilize its economy during its crisis with Russia. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) displayed the foresight and joint leadership to respond strongly to the Ukraine crisis by introducing the Ukraine relief bill, which includes the IMF quota reform legislation. Ukraine is also seeking IMF assistance directly.
Treasury Under Secretaries Tim Adams, David McCormick, David Mulford, and Jeffrey Shafer, and five IMF Executive Directors that served under Republican Administrations, among other former senior government officials, support the IMF reform legislation. “The IMF has played a crucial role in the global approach to recent financial crises and in navigating the world economy through severe threats. While the United States is on a path to recovery, threats remain…and the IMF has been called upon to support reform in Ukraine. In times like these, a financially strengthened and reformed IMF is in the U.S. interest,” notes the letter.
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