The 30st of June was the end date of the 2016-2017 “Our Voices” project co-funded by the EU Programme “Europe for Citizens”.
On this page you will find links to various documents reporting events and final results of the project. We also included the 3 videos prepared by ATD Ireland during the project.
In Ireland, we plan to create a follow-up project to build on the “Our Voices” learnings. With the Community Platform will aim to influence the implementation of the “SlainteCare” health system reform, to make sure it delivers for all citizens and especially those facing hardships because of poverty and social exclusion.
Tuesday, June 26th 2017, the Community Platform and All Together in Dignity Movement (ATD) Ireland hosted a seminar on the “Health as a Human Right”, held at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in Dublin. The aim of the seminar was to discuss the Community Platform’s “Six principles for an inclusive health policy” and the “Our Voices” project organized by ATD Ireland to give voice to the people most underserved by the current healthcare system in Ireland. It was attended by over 80 people from a wide of variety of organizations working to make health care more accessible, equitable, and inclusive for all citizens of Ireland, especially those living in poverty or other forms of exclusion.
The timing of the seminar could not have been more auspicious because it coincided with the publication of the “Slainte Care Report” of the Oireachtais (parliamentary) Committee on the Future of Health recommending a universal single-tier service where patients are treated on the basis of health need rather than on ability to pay. This recommendation is at the heart of the six principles. Roisin Shortall (TD), who chaired the Committee and spoke at the seminar, explained that the report is a response to public demands for change in the health system. These demands became evident in the last elections and led to cross-party support, making implementation a real possibility.
In opening the seminar, Pierre Klein from ATD posed the question of whether “we can find a way to implement transformation with people at the margins of the system and…not thinking of them just at the end of the process?” The speakers that followed described the dysfunctionalities of the current two-tier system, which is 60 years behind most of Europe.
Dr. Sara Burke of Trinity College Dublin University presented an overview of the development of the Irish health system over the past three hundred years, stating flatly that “not having access to care on a timely basis leads to death at an early age.”
Paul Ginnell of the European Anti-Poverty Network pointed out that today simply having a card does not automatically mean getting care. “If access is to mean more than being put on a waiting list,” he said, “then those entitled to universal health and social care will be guaranteed access within a set period of time.”
One of the central themes of the seminar was bringing into the discussion people from the margins of society, who are most negatively impacted by the dysfunctionality of the system.
The participants viewed a video of the “Our Voices” project which brought together over 40 citizens from Dublin inner city and Ballymun, including members of the Traveller community and people having experienced drug addiction. In discussing their experience with the healthcare system, these people pointed out that health is a lot about relationships and how you are treated by the people you meet in the system.
The opening remarks and video were followed by a “World Café” in which the participants discuss four key themes: social determinants of health, health systems we need, access to quality healthcare, and participation. There was a separate table for each theme, where participants were able to raise issues and recommend solutions, all of which were recorded on large sheets of paper by facilitators. The facilitators then summarized the findings of each table for all of the participants.
The World Café called attention to a number of important issues that need to be addressed, such as the detrimental effects of inadequate housing, unemployment, and lack of educational opportunities on health. In a closing panel, Ronnie Fay of Pavee Point Travellers Centre, added that 90% of what effects a person’s health stems from these factors, so “we should be talking about investing upstream in health and not just healthcare.” Another issue was the need to deal with drug addiction and mental health as a single problem rather than through two separate systems of care. It was also noted that health care professionals have finally begun to value community support but require a process of continuous consultation in order to ensure high quality service that meets people’s real needs.
In the closing session, panelists returned to the “Slainte Care Report”, asking “What now?” They all agreed that there are powerful vested interests that will attempt to dismantle the plan bit by bit. “I think that pressure must come from the public saying that we are not prepared to tolerate the inequality and inefficiency of the system,” said Roisin Shortall. The panelists called for a campaign and lobbying efforts that give voice to most marginalized citizens as well as the general public.
In September 2017, ATD and the Community Platform will inform all the participants to the Seminar about the follow-up which will be given to this work.
Article prepared by Victor Friedman, guest of ATD Ireland and friend of the ATD Fourth World Movement
On 14th July 2017, ATD Ireland wrote to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with the request to put in place a structure that will ensure that the Taoiseach’s Office and Department take overall responsibility for ensuring that Ireland delivers in full on its promises regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (Full letter here)
On 19th July 2017, Ministers and high representatives of States, including Minister Andrew Doyle TD, Irish Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York, adopted the ‘Ministerial declaration of the 2017 high-level political forum on sustainable development, convened under the auspices of the
Economic and Social Council, on the theme “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”’ (Draft declaration dated 14th July here)
From 10th to 22nd July 2017, United Nations Member States including Ireland and leaders from civil society, business, UN System, specialised agencies, academia and other stakeholders convene in New York for the annual High-level Political Forum (HLPF) to review progress made towards the Sustaingable Development Goals.
The Forum is the central UN platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, its theme this year will be “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.
44 countries to present their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals at HLPF 2017
A few of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will also be reviewed in depth at the 2017 meeting. They are:
Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 17, which aims to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, will also be considered in depth, as it is every year.
A key task of the HLPF, as the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, is to provide a forum for inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue and to facilitate peer-learning and exchange. UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo emphasized the importance of continued commitment to the HLPF and the SDGs: “In a world that is going through rapid change, staying committed to the SDGs and multilateralism is essential to ensuring peace and security, the well-being of the planet and shared global prosperity.”
Reviewing progress towards the SDGs: 44 Member States will be conducting such reviews during the three-day ministerial segment of the Forum from Monday, 17 July, to Wednesday, 19 July 2017. The reviews are state-led, involving ministerial and other relevant high-level participants, and provide a platform for partnerships, including through the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders.
The Forum will conclude in a negotiated ministerial declaration. The co-facilitators leading the consultations for the declaration in 2017 are Ambassador Jan Kickert, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations and Ambassador Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations. Draft Elements for the Ministerial Declaration can be viewed on the HLPF website.
ATD International will be co-facilitator of two major side-events. There will be over 100 side events taking place in the margins of the HLPF, as well an SDG live event with media interviews, brief panel discussions and other activities.