Part One of a Three Part Series

Migration, Human Trafficking and the Eradication of Poverty were among a few of the many topics discussed this week at the UN during the 49th Commission on Population and Development. Both the Canadian and US Federations had representatives present to speak, advocate and listen from a global perspective on these important issues.

The week began at the UN by members of the group attending the opening of the 49 Commission on Population and Development. Some of the key points of this Commission can be found by clicking here and by watching the video, “Leaving no one behind: Counting all people because all of them count” by clicking here.

CPD49 558x207This year’s theme is, “Strengthening the demographic evidence base for the post-2015 development agenda. Demographic data are fundamental to developing and assessing social and economic policies, including those focused on poverty reduction, and they provide an essential evidence base for national and local policymakers. The need for high-quality, timely, reliable and relevant demographic data has gained prominence in light of the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in which population-related issues underpin many of the goals and targets.”(Read More Here) Demographic evidence is essential to measure poverty and disease as well as to assess progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

This was a first visit to the U.N. for Colleen Dauerbach from Philadelphia. Colleen was impressed by the tenor of the Commission and the great respect that each country uses when addressing the Assembly. “On the Assembly floor there are a variety of opinions represented and each are respected. Being here is like being in a whole different world." Colleen also reflected that “the issue of Population and Development is very complex. You would not know what is needed unless you listen to what the needs are not what we may think the needs are.”IMG 2195

The group met on Tuesday morning in the office of the UNNGO, Justine Gitanjali Senapati,CSJ. The morning began with five presentations concerning:

  • Human Trafficking – presented by Winifred Doherty, a Good Shepherd Sister from Ireland.  As NGO representative at the United Nations she collaborates with other NGOs in efforts supporting poverty eradication, ending prostitution, human trafficking and violence against women and girls. She is a director of the Working Group on Girls, a core team member of the NGO Global Coalition for Social Protection, a member of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women and the NGO Committee for Social Development. 
  • Social Development - Daniel Perell joined the Baha'i International Community’s United Nations Office as a Representative in 2011. He has worked extensively on the Post 2015 development agenda. He currently serves the Chair of the NGO Committee on Social Development.
  • Eradication of Poverty - Cristina Diez Saguillo has been a member of the International Movement ATD Fourth World's full-time volunteer corps since 2003. Since 2010 she is the main representative of the organization to the United Nations and the Director of International Relations Training in New York. In her role she coordinates a team that follows sustainable development, social development, financing for development and human rights.
  • Migration - Emeka Xris Obiezu, OSA is a member of the Order of St. Augustine. He is the UN Representative of the Augustinians International and very active in the NGO community at the UN. He currently serves on the bureau of Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN. He also is the vice chair of the NGO Committee on Migration and contributes in MADE, a global civil society network on Migration and Development. Finally, he is on the International Steering Committee of the Civil Society Days of the Global Forum on Migration and Development.
  • Mining - Áine O’Connor, RSM, Ph.D., is a Sister of Mercy and serves as the Mercy Global Action Coordinator at the United Nations for the Mercy International Association. She is the convener of the NGO Mining Working Group (MWG). In partnership with its members and affected local communities, this NGO coalition advocates at and through the United Nations for human and environmental rights as related to extractive industries. The Sisters of Mercy and the MWG promote a rights based approach to sustainable development and the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This particular event was a highlight of the time spent these four days at the UN for many of the attendees. Doreen Glynn, CSJ (Albany, Carondelet) found these talks to be both informative and useful moving forward. For Barbara Murtha, (Brentwood) the time seemed t0 fly by. She especially found the information on mining to be very enriching. “I hadn’t considered the correlation between water and mining,” she said. All present during the morning were grateful to Justine for all the hard work and organizing that made the morning event such an enriching and informative meeting.

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