UN 75: 24 October, United Nations Day
On October 24th 2020, United Nations Day, Mercy Global Action affirmed and acknowledged the important work that the United Nations has undertaken over 75 years. The Sisters of Mercy have held Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council for almost 25 of those years and have remained steadfast in seeking justice for Earth and People, especially those most marginalized.
Some would argue that the United Nations system is irrelevant and ineffective, but although it often falls short of its aspirations, it must be remembered that the United Nations is a unique global forum that provides a space for 193 states to represent their country and work multilaterally for the benefit of the world. There is no doubt that the United Nations needs reforming. For example, there are strong positions that hold that the UN Security Council is ineffective, and only when the permanent membership and its veto powers is reviewed, will there be a genuine opportunity to engage in real solutions for peacemaking. Nevertheless it is important to remember that the Security Council is only one forum of the UN. Whilst we do need to push for UN reform, we need also to remember the significant achievements that the United Nations has made in order to fulfil its mandate, grounded in the UN Human Rights Charter.
The Sisters of Mercy continue to have a presence at the United Nations because we believe that civil society and faith based organizations such as MIA Global Action, have a significant contribution to make. Over the years, through grassroots experience, theological reflection and critical social analysis, Mercy has contributed to substantial policy agenda. Mercy has made oral Interventions and written statements at many UN events, especially at the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women. They have also hosted and attended many side events highlighting significant social, economic and environmental concerns. Alongside this they have networked with UN diplomats and other NGO’s in the hope of contributing to a more just world. Significant events and processes that Mercy has contributed to over the years include; the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, the Paris Agreement in 2015, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016 and the Global Compact for migrants in 2018, to the most recent victory in which the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will come into force in January 2021.
This month, MIA Global Action signed onto A Faith-Based Vision for the UN at 75 & beyond. This Reform statement drafted by Catholic Religious NGO representatives to the UN and endorsed by over 100 faith-based organizations was submitted to UN Secretariat offices, agencies, and Member States on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations
In MGA’s recent publication ‘Hope in a Time of Pandemic’, there are recommendations for governments which cannot be met without global solidarity, cooperation and inclusive partnerships. This includes calling on governments to:
- Leverage this moment of crisis and to take bold steps to steer the world towards a profound systemic shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.
- Lead with strong political will and to mobilize resources to invest in policies and institutions that can turn the tide on inequality
- Recommit to multilateralism and increase international coordination for the research, development and distribution of COVID treatments to support less developed countries; to implement monetary, fiscal and trade policy for inclusive economic recovery; and to improve planning and resilience for future disasters (SDG 16. a and 17.6)”
Messages to: Angela Reed rsm - Head of Mercy Global Action