The way forward for a global development partnership
By Joseph Donnelly, Caritas Internationalis permanent delegate to the UN
Caritas sits right now inside the UN facility in the GA conference Room, one of four Civil Society Organisations (CSO) invited to engage the global debate. Fr Ambroise Tine from Caritas Senegal sits at the table in between an Asian colleague and a Latin American. He sits and waits for the protocol to roll out where NGO representatives are given the floor after the government representatives and UN experts speak. This is where the struggle takes place to move global beyond the rhetoric and dig more deeply, carving new ways forward.
People are coming. People are going. Some listening quite carefully. Some clearly distracted. As ever, one tyrannical aspect of democratic dialogue is the constant flow of fact and theory from competing challenges, practical and political, while the poor wait to be most up front on all our agendas.
Competition, when rooted in profound development aspirations, can be healthy in its own ways. Competition to get a name in big print serves no one. All need to step back further…to move beyond blame only into hard-working, deeper thinking partnerships.
More money, yes. More careful disciplined MDG monitoring – of plans, financing, concrete applications and multi-stakeholder demands, yes. More and better partnerships – to combat human trafficking, to tackle slavery which is alive today, to consider needs in Small Island States and Least Developed Countries. These needs demand bold interventions with full NGO and CSO engagements and not State or World Bank kinds of institutions alone. Many are working, but not enough to fully act like MDG goverments.
Morocco, Belarus, Asia-Pacific Regional bank group, the World Bank, Amnesty, UN-ISDR, Chile, Interpol, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Malaysia, the Comoros, Romania, Estonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzogovina are in the room. Caritas in at this round table. The GCAP (Global Call to Action Against Poverty) is in the CSO section, as is Social Watch. We are here with other UN partners. Still the room is not full, not full why? Where is partnership progress on the MDGs…as civil society partners sit waiting their turns. Caritas notes in all venues and global relations: no real partnerships without substantive participations in a timely and effective manner.
Corruption, Climate change, disaster prevention, rule of law, global volatility, diverse stakeholders, achievements, failures, prevention terrorism – and more are mentioned as impediments. Or helps to foster useful dynamics. One more country just added to the list to speak. Egypt notes that foreign aid commitments must be met, given, realised, and there must be respect for timelines as agreed at the 2005 Gleneagles summit. They suggest debt relief and climate change crises have negatively affected progress and hopes…and the implementation of MDGs. South-South cooperation does work actively in Africa in education, agriculture. And now, suddenly Caritas is called to speak! Hundreds of copies of Fr Ambroise’s CI statement are distributed by UN staff. In earnest, a West African pastor for the poor talks. His three-minutes are quickly followed by the NGO Social Watch. Others will follow.
The tenor of this speech has grown intense, even sadder – basically because the reality of MDG number 8 has clearly missed its mark until now, no matter how sincere some have been.
We need a new development paradigm without neglecting the recent crises – food, energy, finance, floods, displacements, HIV and AIDS, malaria, TB and grave violence against children in so many countries across continents. So that more might live! That all might live! That all must Live!!!