“If one day, you see…” About blind and
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,
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
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?
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