Mary Robinson Keynotes High Level Panel "Achieving Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development: Converting words into actions" at UN General Assembly in New York
Mary Robinson spoke today at the UN General Assembly in New York about the vital importance of Sustainable Development Goal 16 to fully realising the 2030 Agenda and the full implementation of all Global Goals. In her keynote speech at the High-level Side Panel Achieving Peaceful, Just and inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development: Converting words into actions, Robinson stressed that the agreements made in 2015 – the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change – have “given the global community the best opportunity yet to avoid climate change, to end poverty and to enable all people to live lives underpinned by dignity and human rights.” President Robinson went on to discuss the linkages between G16, G10 Reduced Inequality and G5 Gender Equality, the importance of promoting human rights, equality and women's participation and leadership, and the central role these three goals have in achieving every one of the other Global Goals. "Gender equality is a crucial part of all Sustainable Development Goals. We cannot achieve peaceful, just and inclusive societies without equality."
Citing the poet Seamus Heaney's famous lines, “if you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way,” Robinson said that these crucial agreements have given us the words, and now we need to find the way to implement them. "We know that sustainable development is not possible without action on climate change, and climate action is not possible without sustainable development. Critically, neither is possible without the rule of law and access to justice, for all. For me, climate change is fundamentally a question of justice." Mary Robinson, 22 September 2016.
Today's high-level event 'Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development: Delivering on the 2030 Agenda' launched the ‘Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Promoting Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies,' which aims to harness the strengths and resources of members to support reporting on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 and its interlinkages with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a whole. The Permanent Missions of Cabo Verde, Mexico, Norway, Qatar, Sierra Leone and Tunisia to the UN organised the High-Level Launch Event and UN Development Programme will serve as facilitator for the Global Alliance.
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is ground-breaking in its acknowledgement of the failures previously to reduce poverty due to conflict and insecurity globally. It is perhaps even more ambitious than many of the other Goals, setting out a framework for peaceful societies, justice for all and good governance – to make peace lasting and sustainable. Within the Goal, targets focus on quite disparate but interlinked aims of ending all violence globally, eliminating child trafficking, torture and violence, reducing illicit arms and financial flows, universal birth registration transparency and accountability of institutions and full participation in decision. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), stated today “The aspirations of sustaining peace and sustaining development are intrinsically linked: we will not have one without the other. This is true not only within a country – in our highly interconnected world, violent conflict in one country has implications for others near and far, as we have seen with the current record numbers of refugees and internally displaced people,” (Clark's full speech can be found here).
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
At The Mary Robinson International Symposium 2016, in July, we focussed on two interlinked targets within Goal 16 – the elimination of all forms of violence and the importance of responsive, participatory and representative participation in decision-making at all levels. Both of these targets have particular relevance for gender equality and connect ending all violence to building a sustainable peace. If you would like to see the panel President Robinson referred to in her speech at the UN today, you can watch it below. The rest of the panels at the two-day International Symposium can be found on our YouTube Channel here.
Today we are delighted to shine a light on a very important organisation, Mayo Intercultural Action (MIA), whom we have been privileged to partner with at several events over the past couple of years. MIA does fantastic work in Mayo and we wanted to spread the word about the many inspiring projects they're working on. This piece was written by Natalya Pestova, the Coordinator at Mayo Intercultural Action.
In 2004, Mayo Intercultural Action (MIA) was established to address the needs of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees living in County Mayo. For over a decade, MIA has promoted equality for people of all skin colours and ethnic backgrounds; delivered dozens of intercultural projects and events and helped hundreds of people from new communities to find information, access education and employment, meet friends and integrate into the local community. Working in partnerships with other local organisations sharing common values and principle, MIA supported integration and helped to advance interculturalism and diversity in Mayo.
National Museum of Ireland, Turlough, is a great example of such partnership: it hosted a number of exhibitions and displays featuring Mayo migrant women. The recent exhibition ‘Migrant Women – Shared Experiences’ invited eight Mayo women from different countries to have the objects from their home countries displayed at the Museum so the visitors could relate to different cultures. The exhibition achieved important outcomes of promoting intercultural awareness and sharing positive vision of diverse Ireland. Most importantly, it allowed migrant women to become visible in the high profile public space and to represent their country, culture and personal story.
The Immigration and Ireland Seminar was a culminating point to the exhibition that offered a space for sharing experiences and reflection on domestic and international challenges of integration. The Seminar connected global dimensions of contemporary refugee crisis presented by Professor Jane Freedman with local responses to immigration, including those delivered by Mayo Intercultural Action.
Seminar organisers and participants: Susan Heffernan (Mary Robinson Centre), Natalya Pestova (MIA), Kany Kazadi (MIA), Prof. Jane Freedman (University of Paris), Vukashin Nedelkovich (Asylum Archive), Aoife O’Toole (National Museum of Ireland), Blessing Moyo (Eglington Self Help Group Galway), Rosa Meehan (National Museum of Ireland), Natasha Price (Mary Robinson Centre)
The Immigration and Ireland Seminar allowed MIA representatives, Natalya Pestova - Project Coordinator and Kany Kazadi - MIA Board Member and passionate spokesperson, an opportunity to share their experience of promoting human rights for migrants and asylum seekers, giving voice and enabling migrant women to participate in all aspects of life in Ireland. Kany shared a few personal insights into the process of integration to Ireland, such as working in MIA, becoming a passionate GAA fun, getting used to Irish food, educating GMIT social science students about injustice in Ireland and developing a strong connection with Mayo - her new home.
Kany Kazadi, speaking at the Immigration and Ireland Seminar, National Museum
At their recent visit to the Mary Robinson Centre’s Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals the delegation of MIA women were delighted to learn about international development and to relate their local experience to the global issues. They were especially delighted to meet the most inspirational Mayo-Irish woman – Mary Robinson.
Sanita Vecbrale (Latvia), Kate Donnely (MIA founder), Kany Kanyeba Kazadi (MIA Board Member), Mary Robinson, Phaw Shee Hta (Myanmar), Natalya Pestova (MIA coordinator), Say Lawla Say (Myanmar), Therese Ruane (MIA founder), Linda Herarty (Philippines)
Migrant women are at the heart of MIA’s work. We have supported and witnessed migrant women taking up education challenges, starting up successful businesses, challenging racism, winning awards, featuring in local media, raising a generation of new Irish citizens children, exhibiting their art work, setting up language schools for their children, proudly supporting Mayo GAA team, climbing Croach Patrick, delivering intercultural awareness training, protesting against Direct Provision, running marathons, sharing their culture and tradition with Mayo people. Every day we witness real integration making its way to the hearts of Mayo and its communities.
If you would like to find out more about Mayo Intercultural Action, or if you are passionate about our cause, want to meet people from new communities or wish to help us in any way, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on (+353) (0)949044511 and like our Facebook page.
On the 1st-2nd of July, The Mary Robinson Centre hosted our International Symposium 2016, The Sustainable Development Goals: Equality, Human Rights, Peace, in conjunction with the Centre for Global Women's Studies, NUI Galway at the Great National Hotel Ballina. The event was a fantastic success, with speakers and delegates who have particular interests in promoting equality, human rights and peace converging in Ballina from all over the world to learn from each other.
We will be sharing more information about this fantastic event over the coming weeks and months, but today we wanted to draw your attention to this article in the Irish Times below, written by Paul Gillespie, the chair of our opening plenary session. To all those who joined us at the event, thank you for making it such a resounding success!
Worldview: Gender and climate issues are linked