“I welcome this opportunity to gather one last time before the end of the year – and I wish you and your families all the best for 2023.Our world faced many trials and tests in 2022 – some familiar, others we might not have imagined just one year ago. There may be plenty of reasons for despair....These and so many other challenges make some want to throw up their hands and give up on international problem solving and diplomacy. But I end this year with one overriding conviction: This is not a time to sit on the sidelines, it is a time for resolve, determination, and – yes – even hope. Because despite the limitations and long odds, we are working to push back against despair, to fight back against disillusion and to find real solutions. Not perfect solutions – not even always pretty solutions – but practical solutions that are making a meaningful difference to people’s lives.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Remarks at End-of-Year Press Conference, 19 December 2022
Overview In this Update (Issue 79) we focus on progress and setbacks in the efforts to realize wellbeing for all people and the planet. Specifically, we present a sample of short reports and/or stories from 2022 (articles, podcasts, videos) from three civil society organizations: the International Red Cross Movement, The New Humanitarian, and Human Rights Watch. Collectively this material represents just some of the main issues facing our world and showcases why these issues matter for 2023.
Underlying the content of this Update are two questions--two messages--to consider: 1 Given the major problems in our world, how do you maintain your sense of optimism and hope for the future of our world? How are you "resisting despair and disillusion?" 2 Given the major problems in our world, in what sense is it accurate--and helpful--to consider that things overall may not get better? "Will it get worse before it gets worse?"
We share the above items with a view towards the upcoming major meetings and reviews in 2023 of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This new year marks the midpoint of the world community's aspirational roadmap,Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. You will recall that the 2030 Agenda was adopted by world leaders and member states in September 2015and organized broadly around five overlapping areas: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.
We finish the Update, as we often do, with a few personal reflections related to the theme. This time we share a few thoughts on revisiting depair and disillusion as people of faith-hope-love.
Suggested Applications--Making It Personal We so want good news in 2023--lots of it! And we will certainly have good news. Amidst the mire of suffering and injustice, people continue to tenaciously work together locally through globally to make this world a better place. As Martin Luther King Jr. asserts, "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”(Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1964). With these thoughts in mind:
Review the materials in this Update in the context of its overall theme of maintaining hope for a better future. Do you have any reactions that might reflect your own sense of the future?
Probe further into a few of the items that interest you, including the upcoming resources and events related to progress on the SDGs. Are there any SDGs that you are particularly interested in tracking?
Share this Update with your colleagues, organization(s), and networks. Discuss it together and consider practical applications--for both your work and life.
“I am more determined than ever to make 2023 a year for peace, a year for action. We can’t accept things as they are. We owe it to people to find solutions, to fight back and to act. At times, discreetly but always with determination – we will fight back. To promote peace and security. To advance the Sustainable Development Goals and address inequalities. To reform a morally bankrupt international financial system. To ensure human rights for all as we mark next year’s 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And to deliver a livable planet to our children and grandchildren. Thank you.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres,Remarks at End-of-Year Press Conference, 19 December 2022
1. A Selection of Materials--International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement "2022: A Year of Challenges...and Inspiring Stories" “2022 has been a heavy year for humanitarians. Conflict, mass movements of people, natural disasters of all types, many of which do not get international attention. Meanwhile, many people face personal crises and challenges that may only be known to their close friends, family or local community....These are our special picks in this special end-of year newsletter.”
2.A Selection of Materials--The New Humanitarian "Editors’ Picks: Read These Stories Now to be Ready for 2023" “While you may have a bit of end-of-year time on your hands, here are a few stories our editors would hate for you to have missed, along with their thoughts on why they will still matter in 2023. They include a Dalit journalist’s look at caste discrimination in Indian disaster response, an illustrated diary that explores how life changed in villages around Kyiv as Russian tanks rolled in, and a profile of a farmer in Mali whose peacebuilding efforts with jihadist extremists led to some unlikely victories for his community.”
--Reporting on Yemen's war whilst living through it --Aid sector: Tiny steps, not big reforms --India: Caste discrimination in aid --A Syrian refugee reflects on EU asylum double standards --Life on the front line of Russia’s invasion --Easing violence in West Africa’s Sahe--South Sudan: When peace triggers war --Lebanon’s collapse, behind and beyond the headlines
3.A Selection of Materials--Human Rights Watch "Top Human Rights News of 2022--The Most-Read Stories of the Year" “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 dominated headlines this year as horrific attacks harmed civilians around the country. We worked to tell the stories of people on the ground, including those trapped in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, and document potential laws-of-war violations. But throughout the year, we covered many topics from around the world. From the Taliban’s ongoing assault on women’s rights in Afghanistan, to abuses against LGBT people in Qatar ahead of the World Cup, to a rollback of abortion rights in the United States, these were the most-read stories on our site this year." (see link above for the stories)
Top Human Rights Videos for 2022 “What were your favorite human rights videos of 2022? Millions of you watched our reels on topics...We counted the views on social media and YouTube, and below are our top ten videos of the year–with the number one video, hitting on a story we bet you know, garnering nearly 4 million views.”
Ten Good News Stories for Kids in 2022 “Despite enormous challenges facing many children around the globe, 2022 also brought good news. As we approach the end of the year, here are 10 areas of progress for children we can celebrate...These areas of progress show what is possible. In 2023, governments should do much more to protect and advance children’s rights.
Note from Kelly and Michèle—We appreciate very much the work of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in general. However we do take issue with a few of the perspectives presented by HRW in the materials above. A main case in point is that we affirm the importance of protecting the rights of both women (pregnant or not) and children (prenatal or postnatal).
Some Details of What's Coming in 2023 Tracking Our Success, Setbacks, and Strategies for Sustainable Development
1.Global Sustainable Development Report 2023.“The 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report will be launched as the world approaches the half-way point of the 2030 Agenda and struggles to rebuild in the aftermath (or in the midst) of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, practical solutions that can accelerate progress on the SDGs will be urgently needed. The 2023 Report will build on the 2019 Report providing evidence that can help decision-makers to accelerate action and overcome impediments that stand in the way of progress on sustainable development. The focus will be on accelerating transformation through important entry points and enabling science to support this acceleration."
3. High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of the General Assembly–SDG Summit(September 2023, UN New York)."The SDG Summitmarks the mid-point of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It will bring together political and thought leaders from governments, international organizations, private sector, civil society, women and youth and other stakeholders in a series of high-level meetings. They will carry out a comprehensive review of the state of the SDGs, respond to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world, and provide high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to the 2030 deadline for achieving the SDGs. The SDG Summit will be chaired by the President of the General Assembly. The outcome of the Summit will be a negotiated political declaration."
4. See also:
SDG Indicators--Metadata Repository (UN ECOSOC). “The metadata available in this repository is a work in progress. It reflects the latest reference metadata information provided by the UN System and other international organizations on data and statistics for the Tier I and II indicators in the global indicator framework. This repository will be further updated and periodically reviewed in cooperation with the respective data compilers.”
SDG Tracker (civil society organization). “Our SDG Tracker presents data across all available indicators from the Our World in Data database, using official statistics from the UN and other international organizations. It is a free, open-access publication that tracks global progress towards the SDGs and allows people around the world to hold their governments accountable to achieving the agreed goals....The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are defined in a list of 169 SDG Targets. Progress towards these Targets is agreed to be tracked by 232 unique Indicators. Here is the full list of definitions. For many Indicators data is available, but major data gaps remain.”
Personal Reflections Revisiting Despair and Disillusion Being People of Faith-Hope-Love in our Precarious-Perilous-Precious World
As people of faith who practice Christian spirituality, we are committed to responsibly engage with others in the challenges facing our world, locally through globally, while holding firmly to our belief that we are in God's hands. We pray that God's purposes "will be done on earth as it in heaven;" acknowledge that prayer, repentance, and relationship with God are key to human-planetary wellbeing; and live in hope for the time when God through Jesus Christ will decisively intervene in human history with equity--righteousness and justice--to restore all things. And in the meantime, we seek to embrace lifestyles that prioritize a deep, practical love for truth, peace, and people.
We do not want to further problematize our world's plight by focusing primarily on the negative. Rather we want to also promote the many examples of the good going forward, as people of good will find common ground for the common good.
Finally, we want to highlight that the despair and disillusion that result from seemingly intractable problems can actually be quite positive. They can embody a crucial existential message about reality that can be "revisited"--explored and heeded--rather than simply "resisted." They can point us to Someone who is bigger than ourselves, the SDGs, humanity, and our world--the knowable, Eternal One who is both in and beyond space-time and who loves us all dearly.
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a non-profit, Christian organization working internationally from Geneva and the USA. MCA's involvement in Global Integration focuses on the wellbeing and effectiveness of personnel and their organizations across sectors (e.g., mission, humanitarian, peace, health, and development sectors) as well as global mental health and integrity/anti-corruption, all with a view towards collaboratively supporting sustainable development for all people and the planet. Our services include consultation, training, research, resource development, and publications.
Global Integration (GI) is a framework for actively and responsibly engaging in our world--locally to globally. It emphasizes connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity, commitments, and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, human rights, faith-based). GI encourages a variety of people to be at the “global tables” and in the "global trenches"--and everything in-between--in order to help research, shape, and monitor agendas, policies, and action for all people and the planet. It intentionally links building the world we need with being the people we need.
Our Global Integration Updatesare designed to help shape and support the emerging diversity of global integrators who as learners-practitioners are committed to the "common ground for the common good."2015-current (75+ issues). Some examples of foundational ones:
Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 1963)