On Tuesday 14th May AVSI hold a meeting in Brussels at EESC on the progress of the sustainable development agenda, bringing together representatives from EU institutions (European Parliament DEVE Committee, European External Action Service, DEVCO-EuropeAid), CSOs, and researchers. From Uganda, Rose Busingye brings the experience and the recommandations from the protagonists on the field. The event clearly showed the necessity of sharing responsibility for the common good and improving the “business of human dignity.”“Drugs are fundamental but not enough to take care of the whole person. The real point is to discover the infinite value of the person, to regain the joy of living”. Meeting Point International, represented at the meeting by the founder Rose Busingye, today brings together over 2.000 women living with HIV in Kampala, Uganda. They are a lively bunch with and their uplifting perspective on the reality is clear as they work, taking care of their children and neighborhood, and also sing, dance and play football with their husbands.
“You are in the business of human dignity”: this was the response to Rose’s witness from Thijs Berman,Member of the European Parliament. “The EU should protect human dignity, and we need the support of civil society”. Berman, a member of the Committee on Development (DEVE), also underlined the risk of technocratic approaches to sustainable development and the Post-2015 agenda.
“Energy and food security interventions are important, but what about human rights?”
The concern that sustainable development must be inclusive was further stressed by Nicholas Taylor, Head of Sector for Employment, Social Inclusion and Social Protection in the Development and Cooperation Commission (EuropeAid). “For social cohesion, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are crucial, not only as watchdog in policy dialogue, but also as service delivery actors. We see a growing importance of CSOs in work, entrepreneurship, youth employment and social business”.
The complex path from Rio+20 to 2015, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was presented by professor Jeffrey Sachs, who was tasked by the UN General Secretary as the coordinator of the UN Sustainable Development Solution Network and as advisor to the High Level Panel for Sustainable Development coordinated by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. In the coming months, the Post 2015-Sustainable Development dialogue will be enriched with 2 documents and a dedicated meeting during the General Assembly on September 27.
Sachs emphasized the importance of the comprehensive framework of SDGs, environment, social, economic and governance. For example, is impossible to design development programs for Sub-Saharan Africa without considering environmental factors and climate change as key components. Education, gender, and human rights should remain as priorities in the Post-2015 agenda.
Sachs also stresses governance, not only in developing countries, but also for problems of corruption, new regulations on markets, and taxation systems in the “developed” world.
Félix Fernandez-Shaw, Head of Development Cooperation Coordination Division of the European External Action Service, proposed a thought-provoking reflection: “In 200 years, the history of our time will be told as the era of globalization. To switch to the history the sustainable development, EU and institutions should correct some lack and flaw, first of all markets governance.” This gives CSOs today an important opportunity and responsibility to participate in correcting the course of globalization using a criterion of human rights.
Alberto Piatti, Secretary General of AVSI Foundation, affirmed that the risk of the prevalence of a technocratic approach is concrete. To avoid it, he suggested the realism of Rose Busingye and her commitment to the person and to the community.
In his introduction of the event, Luca Jahier, President of the Various Interests’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee, had pointed out the need for coordination in the efforts of different actors. Piatti concluded by reiterating this point, underlining the need for a constructive approach involving all actors (the various EU Institutions, CSOs, and the academic world) to improve the “business of human dignity”. The meeting in Brussels was just one example of this shared effort for the common good.
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