Thousands of women from thousands of organizations came to this year’s Commission on the Status of Women. Twelve women represented UNANIMA, three of whom spoke at UNANIMA’s side event: Models of Empowerment of Rural Women: Success Stories. Fortunata Msilu described several projects in Tanzania, Nely Rodriquez gave a powerful presentation about the tomato pickers in Florida, and Michele Morek told the engaging story of Casa Ursulina in Chile. Women from all over the world shared their stories—women and the Arab Spring, indigenous women, survivors, dynamic world-shapers, Nobel Laureates. One of the events was a march down 2nd Avenue, in which all participants wore yellow sashes noting one of the issues important to women. Pictured here are Fortunata, intern Carmenza, and Louise Dionne (who works with several of our Canadian communities on social issues). Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the UN delegates had not completed the official document (disagreement over some resolutions), but it will eventually appear on the UNWomen CSW56 website.
Someone recently said they are already “tired of Rio.” (Rio+20 or the Sustainable Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro in June). But the UN is certainly energized by it. Even the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are expressing the need to work more closely with the UN to make things happen! UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says it is one of the most significant global opportunities of our lifetime, a real “transformative juncture.” With more than 110 heads of state in attendance, it will be one of the largest summits in world history. It is more than just an ecology conference: the three pillars on which it is based—social, environmental, and economic —will ensure that it includes something of interest to all of us. And we NGOs have a status in the process that we have never had before; we have already strongly influenced the content of the meeting. In fact, if we had not “pushed” at the first Rio conference 20 years ago, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development probably would not have been established.
Here are some websites to check for further information (in various languages). This one gives information on Rio+20: www.earthsummit2012.org/beta/objectives-and-themes . The “Zero Draft” is the document the UN family has been working on in preparation for Rio, and the latest version of that may be found at www.unscd2012.org/rio20/ (connections to websites in Spanish and Portuguese).
French websites recommended by Renaude Grégoire include:
Québec : Développement durable et traite humaine CATHII : http://www.cathii.org/ (French, English, Spanish, Portugese)
Finally, here is one that shows the link between climate change and human trafficking (with English, French, Spanish translations):
Even though you must have thought we missed it (on March 22) your UNANIMA board was right on time. At the board meeting on March 1-3 they voted in the following resolution:
UNANIMA International, an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, “collaborates with individuals, groups, organizations, and especially the UN to protect…access to life-giving water (as) an essential right for all life forms.”
As part of that mission, the governing board of UNANIMA International has resolved to speak out against resource extractive methods that are damaging to water, including certain forms of coal / shale seam gas mining (e.g. “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing) until technologies exist that are proven safe to groundwater supplies.
The world-wide issue of groundwater contamination is particularly troublesome now, with the increased pressure for new sources of fossil fuel driving energy corporations to use methods not proven safe for the environment. UNANIMA groups around the world will be using the resolution in their local / regional / national lobbying efforts on water-related issues in their areas. “Think globally, act locally!” You might want to see Jessica Ernst’s resources on http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/news-multimedia/cbm-frac-news
Also in this mailing you will find an encouraging letter from Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain. Read what he has to say about his heroes—Catholic sisters working to end trafficking!
The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Cabrini Sisters) of the Stella Maris Province have been members of UNANIMA International for the past 10 years. Our eighty six sisters along with our collaborators have ministries in the United States, Swaziland (South Africa), the Philippines and Australia. The year 2011 was designated by the province as the “Year of the Immigrant.” The province celebrated with key note speakers at our major gatherings as well as advocacy actions.
Our USA missions are comprised of two high schools (New Orleans, New York City) and a college in Radnor, PA. There are three shrines dedicated to Mother Cabrini in NYC, Chicago and Colorado. There is a retreat center in Illinois and two nursing homes in NYC and Westchester, NY, that include immigrant outreach centers, senior day centers, a home care agency and HUD housing. Our volunteers groups (Cabrini Mission Corps, Cabrini Lay Missioners and Cabrini Collaborators) assist us in all these missions.
Our mission in Swaziland, Africa (Cabrini Ministries) has developed significantly since our arrival in 1971. Presently the mission cares for HIV/AIDs patients both at the center as well as a home based program. Services include the care and education of orphans and vulnerable children, health care and food for the elderly and HIV patients. They have developed water and farming programs and are always exploring new ways to bring basic needs to the people.
Since 1993 our sisters and volunteers have supported an NGO in the Philippines called Save Our School Children Foundation. Our sisters and volunteers participate in the daily programs, contribute financial support and are members of the NGO board. The sisters also support young women students by offering housing and community.
Cabrini Health in Australia was started in 1948 and has grown to include two acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, a palliative care center and a residential home. Cabrini Health has an extensive outreach program involving the employees with activities throughout the country and in neighboring islands. Cabrini Health supports our ministry in the Philippines and Swaziland.
In addition to the Stella Maris Province, our Institute has provinces in Italy and Brazil, three regions in Argentina/Paraguay, Central America and Western Europe and a mission in Ethiopia.