Religious in Coalition at the UN. SDG 17 EN

 


SDG 17 for All ODSs 

Claretians Advocating in Coalition at the UN and Beyond

 

Teresa Blumenstein

Justice Coalition of Religious 

New York Coordinator 

 

An important component of advocating for a more just world is living or embodying the principles you are asking political, business, and other leaders to abide by. When members of Religious congregations interact with governmental and diplomatic leaders at United Nations (UN) meetings in New York, one of the types of input to which those leaders are most receptive is the sharing of good practices. They want to hear stories or examples of how we are, as members of civil society, are working to resolve the issues of our concern. It is critical that any representative of civil society be able to point to specific initiatives and lifestyle choices through which we are delivering action to match our words. In this way, we are leading by example and offering evidence to our political leaders that the actions we are asking them to take are not impossible.

 

One way in which Proclade Internazionale-Onlus has been modeling action on ODS 17, partnerships for the ODSs, has been through participation in the governance of the Justice Coalition of Religious (JCoR). The Coalition, of which Proclade Internazionale-Onlus is a founding member, is dedicated to building community and collaboration among Catholic women and men Religious who are working to achieve the ODSs and to hold their governments accountable for their ODS commitments. It was launched in 2017 by 19 non-governmental organizations that collectively represent nearly 200 Catholic Religious congregations at UN Headquarters in New York. 

Since its launch, JCoR’s member congregations have undertaken many initiatives to promote the capacity of women and men Religious to speak to political leaders with a strong, united voice. At UN Headquarters in New York, JCoR has submitted several joint statements to UN processes on issues such as ending homelessness, basic income and social services for indigenous women and girls (Englishespañolfrançais), and the inseparability of social inequality and climate action. We have also organized events on the margins of UN conferences, highlighting Catholic Religious contributions to the achievement of the ODSs, and offered orientation and fellowship opportunities for women and men Religious visiting the UN to participate in a forum. Our most recent event (recording available here), held as part of the 59th UN Commission for Social Development, highlighted the ways in which women and men Religious are working to overcome the global divide between those with and without access to digital technology during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

To craft our statements, events, and other collective actions on the international level, JCoR draws from the experiences and lessons of our members in ministry at the grassroots level in marginalized communities around the world. For this reason, another pillar of the Coalition’s work is to offer workshops for Catholic Religious serving in grassroots communities. We have begun offering these workshops in India and Central America. The aim of these workshops is to offer a foundation in the ODSs, their integration with all ministries, and other concepts and skills related to advocacy. Each workshop is followed by a collective advocacy action designed by the participants based on their local priorities and social-political context. Though we had to pause our gatherings during the pandemic, we will soon be proceeding with online workshops for Religious throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and in East and Southern Africa as well. 

By seeking to unite the efforts of Religious across congregations, regions, and levels of ministry, Proclade Internazionale-Onlus and the other members of JCoR are modeling partnership (ODS 17) as a pathway to achievement of all the ODSs. We are demonstrating for our political leaders an approach to mission that is essential for the realization of the world envisioned by the ODSs: dedication to the common good above national or congregational self-interests. 

 

Teresa Blumenstein

Justice Coalition of Religious 

New York Coordinator 




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