Dóchas and ATD as associate member welcomed on Monday 20th October, the announcement that Ireland, alongside Kenya, would lead international negotiations on a new global development strategy to succeed the Millennium Development Goals, which will come to an end in 2015.
Ireland and Kenya were jointly appointed this weekend by the UN General Assembly, to co-facilitate negotiations which will agree a new set of global development goals, for adoption at a summit of world leaders in New York in September 2015.
The new goals will set targets for the eradication of global poverty and hunger along with targets for addressing other global issues such as climate change, human rights, health and education.
Ireland’s role will be led by the Ambassador to the United Nations, David Donoghue.
Sharan Kelly, Chairperson of Dóchas and CEO of overseas development agency TearfundIreland, said: “This is a huge opportunity for Ireland as it means that we can take the forefront, in partnership with Kenya, on what is one of the most pressing agendas for the future of our world. This appointment points to Ireland’s considerable international reputation and to our political and diplomatic standing, which is largely down to our role in overseas aid and our human rights work. “
Dóchas also said that it would be important that as Ireland takes co-lead in these negotiations, it should ensure its own commitments to the eradication of poverty and hunger are met.
Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, said: “This new global framework is going to be binding for all UN Member states. This is important as to-date rich countries have failed to honour their commitments on aid and fairer trade under the existing agreement. Ireland has now been put in a leadership position and it should lead by example and achieve its overseas aid and climate change targets.“
So far ATD International contributed to the debates in New York and produced a report including 5 recommendations for the post-2015 development priorities. The full report and executive summary are available for download.
ATD Ireland and ATD International is looking forward to work with the Irish representatives, who alongside delegates from Kenya, will now lead international negotiations on the new global development strategy.
For centuries, people around the world have built memorials to both suffering and heroism. We hold ceremonies to honor those who have endured injustice or died fighting it. Through such memorials and ceremonies, we remind ourselves of war, slavery, oppression, and genocide with the hope: “never again.”
But when do we recall the suffering and injustice that extreme poverty inflicts on people whose resistance leaves no trace upon the earth? They are buried in unmarked graves. Their neighborhoods are erased from our maps. Their words are forgotten.
October 17, the World Day for Overcoming Poverty, is a time to commemorate both the oppression and the courage of people in extreme poverty. This day expresses hope for an end to the brutality and contempt inflicted on the most vulnerable people everywhere. Commemorating this day demonstrates our belief that these people, scorned and ignored, are in fact vitally important to our communities and our nations. It shows that, together, we want to put an end to discrimination and to build a better future.
EAPN Ireland and its members (ATD is one of them) have welcomed measures announced in Budget 2015 to undo some of the cuts in income and services which have devastated the lives of people on low income since 2008.
This now needs to be part of a more systematic medium-term plan to rebuild Ireland’s public services and welfare system and access to decent work.
EAPN Ireland welcomed the changes to the Universal Social Charge, the Qualified Child Increase, Child Benefit and partial restoration of the Christmas bonus. They also welcomed new resources for construction of social housing, to address homelessness and to recruit new teachers, including Special Needs Assistants and Resource Teachers.
Extra measures to reduce the cost of water charges for some people dependent on social welfare are an improvement, but the charges as currently structured will still impact disproportionately on low income families.
Robin Hanan, Director of EAPN Ireland said: “We must not forget the damage caused by the last six years. One in four people in Ireland, and a third or all children, are officially counted as experiencing ‘deprivation’, a number which doubled in three years. Because of the crisis and austerity policies, many people have been driven deeper into poverty and the measures today begin to address the damage that has been done.
“We welcome the establishment of the Low Pay Commission and propose that we also urgently need to develop a comprehensive plan to address poverty and build an inclusive and equal society where everyone can live with dignity’.
“Building an inclusive society involves the funding of high quality public services and decent social welfare supports. This has to be funded through a progressive tax system. Giving valuable tax resources away to those on higher incomes undermines this goal and raids the resources needed.
“As Minister Noonan says, we have clear choices, but for us the most important choice is about where we are going. Back to a divided society with unacceptable poverty or forward to an inclusive society.
“It’s time to map out the road not yet travelled towards a more equal and inclusive society.”
To Contact EAPN Ireland: Robin Hanan, Director, 087-2386243 or Paul Ginnell, Policy Officer, 087-6402200
From 15th to 19th October, ATD Ireland welcomes to Dublin 6 members of ATD Poland from Strzelce Opolskie, Kielce and Warsaw.
ATD volunteers started to run a policy forum with homeless people gathered at the train station in Kielce in 2000. ATD projects involve now children, young people and adults in Warsaw and Kielce. More in Polish at www.atd.org.pl
Polish delegation will participate to the events marking the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Full programme of events in Dublin and Ireland on-line at www.17october.ie
Below, in Polish, the invitation to the Dublin and to the Warsaw events.
People on low incomes, women and minorities, who gained least in the boom years, have suffered most in the recession. Over a quarter of the population are now officially counted as experiencing deprivation, including many who are working, because of unemployment and service and welfare cuts.
Budget 2015 must urgently address the widespread suffering reported by our members and the people they represent and work with and signal a medium term strategy to build a more equal and inclusive Ireland.
ATD with the other members of the Community Platform will judge Budget 2015 particularly in terms of the four tests presented in a new document Four tests for Budget 2015 which was circulated to Oireachtas members by post.
For children, the ATD “Tapori” children network project is launching a new campaign. Groups of children are asked to build a mobile to represent a world where everyone has a place. Each child is invited to make a piece of this mobile in order to know each other better and to be better known.
Tapori is a worldwide network of children from all backgrounds whose motto is: “We want all children to have the same chances.” All around the world children dream of a world where there’s no more poverty, where each child can live in peace and have friends. They don’t want to wait to be adults to take action. Tapori supports them in their actions against poverty and exclusion.
During a trip to India in 1965, Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD, met a group of children who lived by themselves in the train stations of Bombay. They shared the leftovers they could find on the trains between them. They were called “Tapoori.” In 1967 a children’s network was created within ATD in solidarity with the children of the emergency housing camp of Noisy-le-Grand, in France.
More on Tapori
Isabel Perrin, Director General of ATD International, tells of the life and work of an Irish activist who incarnated the theme of October 17th 2014: “Leave No One Behind: Think, Decide, and Act Together.”
The room where the International Committee for October 17 was meeting echoed with discussion of the theme projected in huge letters on the wall: “Leave no one behind: think, decide, and act together.” Jackie, a member of ATD Fourth World Ireland who had been invited by the committee rose to speak: “I can’t keep my door closed if I know that people are on the street…”
Jackie knew life on the streets. She grew up there with her brothers and sisters. With her husband, she never stopped trying to get away from the street, moving from one transitional shelter to another, with the endlessly-renewed hope that one day they would find a real home where they could live together as a family. When she did have a place to stay, she welcomed those who had nowhere to go, even at the risk of being evicted herself.
Jackie’s horizon was other people, those whose lives poverty eats away at. She stuck by them faithfully, forcefully rejecting the idea that some people be left behind. Although she possessed next to nothing, she contributed everything she had—as do all those who face extreme poverty—to promoting peace and human rights.
In 2008, at the inauguration in Dublin of a replica of the Commemorative Stone in Honor of the Victims of Extreme Poverty (first inaugurated on October 17, 1987 in Paris), Jackie affirmed, “We want to be part of this Stone for all those whose lives are even harder than our own.” She and her husband often spoke publicly of the many obstacles they had overcome, hoping that others would see that it is possible if there are people who stick with you no matter what. Jackie’s life struggle was that people be able to give the best of themselves.
A few months ago, Jackie passed away; she left us too soon, like Christopher, Juliani, Thierry, and so many others we could name. Their struggle continues, however, carried on by the “millions of men, women, and children whose hearts are still pounding strong to the beat of the struggle, whose minds rise in revolt against the unjust fate imposed upon them, whose courage demands the right to priceless dignity.” On October 17, 2014, we will raise the call which is engraved on the Commemorative Stone wherever we may be, all the way to the heads of State who are working to agree on new Sustainable Development Goals which aim to forget will work to leave no one behind.
“Leave no one behind…” How can we achieve this, if not with those who, like Jackie, possess a knowledge about the inalienable dignity of being human, a thinking forged in the struggles of a life marked by persistent poverty?