“Now is the time….
Responding to a request from the UN’s Member States, Antonio Guterrez, the secretary-general, recently issued a report focusing on recommendations to advance the agenda for people, for the planet, for prosperity and for peace.
It does not reinvent the wheel, nor cloud the moment with new proposals. It is an agenda of action to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements and commitments, especially the Sustainable Development Goals we discussed in these pages in recent months. And it should speak clearly to Vincentians.
Our Common Agenda is the fruit of a year-long global consultation process on the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary, and involved the visionary thinking of thought leaders and the innovative ideas of youth re-imagining a new social contract for humanity and the earth.
The document is a wake-up call at this “inflection point” for humanity. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how unstable and inadequate existing systems of social protection really are, and Our Common Agenda points to re-invigorating multi-lateral solidarity as the only way forward for humanity in an increasingly interconnected world.
In the past, multilateralism has successfully contributed to advances in world health (85% of children regularly vaccinated, smallpox eliminated), world peace (neither another world war nor nuclear holocaust), increase of respect for human rights, humanitarian action that helped 98 million in 25 countries, increased attention to climate change, to mention only the more obvious.
And so Our Common Agenda proclaims to the world “Now is the moment to embrace global solidarity, to take the next steps in our journey together,” to protect our (only) planet and to “leave no one behind.”
“Leaving no one behind” should speak loudly to those of us who try to follow the Vincentian Charism, because the poor are routinely left behind, if not entirely out, by policymakers the world over. Poverty is a policy decision: some people don’t count as much as others. The impoverished peoples of the world are our reason to exist as people and groups within the Vincentian Family. They are the reason we work as a FamVin Homeless Alliance to end homelessness. They are the focus and principal concern as we work in multiple ministries in so many countries to alleviate suffering in the same creative, practical and efficient ways we learn from St. Vincent and St. Louise, from Rosalie Rendu DC and from Blessed Frederic Ozanam.
In a second article, we will describe the 12 areas of action proposed in the report. We may find there challenges to incorporate into our current ministries. Finally, for now, anyone who would like to read the entire 76-page document will find the link on our UN website, www.congregationofthemission-un-ngo.com, under “News and Updates.”
NGO representative of the CM to the UN