"If one day, you see..." About blind and sighted people ODS17 EN

"If one day, you see..." About blind and sighted people


Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf



Every morning I receive an email from the UN with the main news from around the world. I encourage you to subscribe to the mail; it links to the page https://news.un.org, in ten languages; yours is undoubtedly one of them. The pages of this United Nations website are full of news from all over the world. There we can find, today July 1, 2020, news like these: "The COVID-19 pandemic may mean decades of delay in sustainable development"; "In Colombia peace is another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic"; "A super cyclone threatens India and Bangladesh amid the coronavirus pandemic"; "Africa needs peace to defeat the coronavirus." These are all news from the official UN communications body, "News.un.org."


During this second week of the HLPF, we have been able to see the Voluntary Reporting Presentations (VNR) on the implementation of the ODS2030 in each country. For me, this is the third consecutive year that I have heard these reports, and the most interesting part of the presentation is the question session of the Major Groups & Stakeholders. The value of the country reports should be acknowledged; many of them provide exciting ideas for the implementation of Agenda 2030. But some countries use NRV to advertise programs that do not exist in an imaginary land. It is a pity that opportunities for learning and change are wasted in this way. Fortunately, there are many other ways of finding out what is happening in each country; we, the patient viewers of VNR, realize what the relevant rapporteur is trying to do and are sometimes filled with sadness and sometimes with indignation. That is why I was saying that the most exciting thing, for me, about VNR is the questions and queries from the Major Groups & Stakeholders'; that is to say, from NGOs and other organizations. Thank goodness we are the Civil Society!


What is going on? Does the UN ignore the reality of the world? Does the UN Secretary-General not want to commit herself? Do the heads of the dozens of agencies of the UN system not leave their offices in New York or Geneva? The answer is NO, and the proof is in the statements of the Secretary-General, Antonio Gutérres, or the news offered by "News.un.og." The year 2019 was a year of an in-depth review of methods and achievements in the implementation of the ODS Agenda 2030. In the conclusions of the HLPF 2019, findings were heard that dictated new ways of doing and dialoguing about ODS. Specifically, the need to modify the HLPF-VNR to make it a real forum for dialogue and debate. During this year 2020, proposals have been made to reorganize the UN so that it responds to the urgencies of the 21st century and does not remain anchored in inertias from 1945.


During these days, the speakers of the HLPF and the representatives of UN agencies insist, with a discouragement-proof constancy, that Agenda 2030 is now more necessary than ever. It represents the way forward on issues such as People-Human Rights, Conservation of the Planet, Sustainable Development, Peace-Reconciliation-Inclusion, and Alliances between countries. The reports presented are clear about the very harmful impact of the COVID-19 on the progress that was being made in the world. Why then has the HLPF-VNR system not been improved or the renewal of the UN not been discussed? Why does the Voluntary Reporting on the implementation of the ODS2030 describe an idyllic world and not the real situation?


It is difficult to change one country, so it is more difficult to change the whole world. The world is "shrouded in the fog of COVID-19" and, of course, many at the UN are. The change in the world order has accelerated; the most influential countries, or conglomerates, in the world, are re-aligning themselves, but it is not clear how the "new world order" will be forged, if at all. It seems that, for many countries, for now, the best thing is not to recognize reality and do what they say the ostrich does when it sees danger coming: bury its head in the ground, which, by the way, they do not do.


We have to recognize that we are in a challenging moment for humanity. We see the path where we should go, and we also perceive the forces that try to lead us astray from the right way. Civil society has much to say here, and religions even more; we are not playing with numbers, but with the lives of God's children. There is a Godspell song that says: "If one day you see, that everything goes wrong..."; I think this is our case. That same song ends with "See, everything ends well!" We're believers, aren't we?


Miguel Angel Velasco cmf