Twenty-two Sisters of St. Joseph will take a compelling message to the United Nations Rio+20 Conference of Sustainable Development. Our message is that at the heart of the climate change discussion and decision-making must be a commitment to an ethical framework for sustainable development. Sr. Griselda Martinez Morales, our UN-NGO Representative says, “The Congregations of Saint Joseph, present in more than 50 countries, affirms our commitment of collaboration for human development that includes the whole of the person, that creates an interdependence of the human family, allowing them to live fully and in harmony with all creation.”
The Rio+20 Conference will focus on two themes:
· A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and,
· Creating the international structures to promote sustainable development.
The Sisters of St. Joseph message at the Rio+20 Conference is strong and clear. It is based on our global experience with the people who suffer most when the world exploits the environment for economic gain. Sr. Griselda states, “Rio+20 presents a moment of opportunity in the wake of the past decades which have seen economic crises, social disparities with one fifth of the population consuming 80% of the Earth’s resources, and environmental disasters including food scarcity, water shortage, loss of biodiversity and natural disasters.”
She goes on to say, “The three pillars of sustainable development: the economic, the social and the environmental, and the inter-relationship between them, all point to the urgent need for a new paradigm – a green economy – one that strikes a harmonious balance between social and environmental rights and sound economic principles. The Global Family of St. Joseph will join with other religious NGOs at the United Nations and people of faith to present this perspective at Rio+20.”
Beginning today, our delegation will have the opportunity to participate in meetings, conferences, and forums both within the United Nations and with the civil society organizations (CSO). More and more, NGOs and other civil society organizations (CSOs) are indispensable UN system partners and valuable UN links to civil society. CSOs play a key role at major United Nations Conferences like Rio+20. NGOs are consulted on UN policy and program matters.
Sr. Griselda acknowledged that, “Only by the simple act of getting to know and connecting with people and organizations from all over the world, can we bring about these needed changes. Our presence here is itself a witness as well as a great richness for us! We will continue to live our charism of relationship and interdependence.” The Sisters of St. Joseph delegation will be sharing its statement regarding the care of the environment, and that urges us to act locally, nationally and internationally, and advocate with our governments so that they implement effective measurements for a sustainable development. Sr. Griselda closes by saying, “We will try to be in touch with you by sending pictures, comments, experiences during the Conference.”