The much anticipated 20th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP20) in Lima, Peru, closed on December 14 with less-than-hoped-for outcomes.
In our often divided world, one place where all of humankind is invited to come together to work for the common good is the United Nations. Despite its limitations, the UN system is our most effective tool for uniting with others in order to create and implement policies that secure a life of dignity for all of God’s children.
Article 71 of the Charter of the United Nations reads: “The Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations which are concerned with matters within its competence. Such arrangements may be made with international organizations and, where appropriate, with national organizations after consultation with the members of the United Nations concerned.”
Based on this article, two of the Maryknoll branches have Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the MOGC carries out the work of implementing this status. Maryknoll’s work at country level, and the MOGC’s work for peace, social justice and integrity of creation, relates closely with the concerns and work of the UN and its committees, agencies and field offices. Our work with the UN aims to influence its agenda and is done by:
- participating in NGOs committees and working groups
- presenting oral and writing statements
- participation in global UN conferences and regular sessions
- participating in the monitoring process of UN treaties
- networking with other NGOs, and
- facilitating the voice of local people in the UN and NGOs gatherings.
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As the effects of climate change become more pronounced, the eyes of the world are on international negotiators as they prepare for the 20th Conference of Parties (COP20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Lima, Peru in early December.
Activists, scientists and concerned citizens around the world are calling on their governments to act decisively to prevent disastrous climate change.
The following article, published in the November-December NewsNotes, was written by Fr. Ken Thesing, MM, who lives and works in Rome.