Global Integration Update -- December 2015
Common Ground for the Common Good
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Navigating the News
Things We Need to Know
"Today we are also taking a decision of great historic significance. We resolve to build a better future for all people, including the millions who have been denied the chance to lead decent, dignified and rewarding lives and to achieve their full human potential. We can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty; just as we may be the last to have a chance of saving the planet." United Nations, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 25 September 2015, paragraph 50
Our world is precarious, perilous, and precious--and a lot of things in between. So how do we keep up with the major events that are affecting and shaping it? This Update explores this important question by listing some of the information sources that we have found to be helpful for global integration (GI—linking our skills and values on behalf of major issues). As with all the Updates, it is predicated on the belief that understanding our global context is crucial for working effectively in our core areas (disciplines, sectors, settings etc.).
Part One includes three categories of resources for staying current with GI: a) Newsletters/Updates from some of the larger and more influential organizations (primarily humanitarian-development); b) World Reports on special topics, many published annually; and c) links to several News/Media Sources. Part Two provides examples of recent resources from the UN, humanitarian, and the global health/mental health sectors. We finish with some personal reflections on the importance of informed, skilled, and critical partnering for sustainable development.
There are obviously many, many more items that could be listed, and we encourage you to further identify and regularly track with the ones that are useful for you. It would also be helpful to survey a variety of colleagues regarding the main resources that they use for staying current globally—and how they navigate the massive amounts of news without being inundated!
SOME SOURCES OF GI INFORMATION
1. Newsletters-Updates (Humanitarian and Development Sectors)
Here is a list of some of the main newsletters-updates, along with their organizations/websites, that we access for GI information. They provide news, analysis, publications, photos/videos, webinars/events, online communities/forums etc. There are many more!
Global Mental Health (GMH) (for more examples see: GMH-Map website, Updates)
--Centre for Global Mental Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and King’s Health Partners (monthly)
--Gulbenkian Global Mental Health Platform (monthly)
--International Union of Psychological Science (monthly)
--Mental Health Innovation Network (monthly)
--Movement for Global Mental Health (monthly)
--Office of International Affairs, American Psychological Association (4-6 times/year)
See also the news bulletin/opportunities for international mental health (1-2/month)
--World Federation for Mental Health (quarterly)
--World Health Organization—mhGAP Program (2/year)
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
"The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance. It is a unique forum involving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners. The IASC was established in June 1992…[and] develops humanitarian policies, agrees on a clear division of responsibility for the various aspects of humanitarian assistance, identifies and addresses gaps in response, and advocates for effective application of humanitarian principles." (website) Note: Sign up to receive their monthly newsletter on humanitarian issues/action (see homepage).
–Humanitarian News and Analysis
“IRIN is an independent, non-profit media organisation. This is IRIN's transition website, where you can follow
...the multimedia and data and graphics
pages, as well as special reports and photo features
....Our core objective is to highlight neglected crises and analyse humanitarian action. Now outside of the UN, IRIN is better positioned to critically examine the multi-billion dollar humanitarian aid industry and continue what we do best, in-depth reporting on crises.” (website) Note: IRIN continues to publish articles on its main website until the new web redesign is complete.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations
“OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. OCHA's mission is to: Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies. Advocate the rights of people in need. Promote preparedness and prevention. Facilitate sustainable solutions.” (website) Note: See their weekly Humanitarian Reports and ReliefWeebliefnet website with updated news an analyses.
Central Africa Republic; Addressing the Protection Crisis (including the role of faith leaders),
Read more here
. Image from ODI Website (November 2015 )
Overseas Development Institute (ODI)—Shaping Policy for Development
“The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is the UK's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. Our mission is to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries. We do this by locking together high quality applied research, practical policy advice, and policy-focused dissemination and debate. We work with partners in the public and private sectors, in both developing and developed countries.” (Website) Note: The two ODI sections below provide helpful information.
--Humanitarian Policy Group (part of ODI)
--Humanitarian Practice Network (part of ODI)
Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN)
“The [PCDN] is one of the leading online networks connecting the global social change community. PCDN is a rapidly growing social enterprise that gathers over 34,000 professionals, organizations and students engaged in development, peace, conflict resolution, gender, social entrepreneurship and related fields…PCDN provides practical tools to advance social change, funding and career resources, peer networks opportunities and online and offline events.” (website) Note: You can sign up to receive the daily updates of news, opportunities, training, etc.
Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP)
"As the only individual-based professional association bringing together all parts of the humanitarian sector, PHAP’s mission is to enhance the capacity of the global humanitarian community to respond effectively and professionally to current and future crises. A key means to this end is to focus on concrete, practical measures to enhance the availability, experiences, skills, competences, professional networks, and both formal and informal support structures of humanitarian personnel at all levels and in all parts of the system." (website) Note: Their regular webinars are very helpful (archived).
3. News/Media Sources
The examples below provide or access news in different languages. Note that our inclusion of an item does not imply our endorsement. There are so many more sources of course!
UN WEBTV (“The UN Web TV Channel is available 24 hours a day with selected live programming of United Nations meetings and events as well as with pre-recorded video features and documentaries on various global issues.”)
MORE GI RESOURCES
Magazine of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, special issue on “Invisible Scars”—sexual and gender based violence; 2015, 2). The next issue is themed “World on the Move.” (see also the 14 minute film/report, Panorama: The ICRC in Action)
3. Global Health-Mental Health
Imagining Global Health with Justice: In Defense of the Right to Health,, Eric Friedman and Lawrence Gostin (Georgetown University, O’Neill Law School). This is the latest continuing call for a new global health treaty based on the right to health and health equity.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Emergencies, M. van Ommeren, F. Hanna, I. Weissbecker, and P. Ventevogel, Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal (2015, Volume 21, Number 7)
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network (news ,resources, forums, etc.)
NCD Alliance (December 2015 News Update related to non-communicable diseases)
Out of the Shadows (short video and three stories on mental health from West Africa, Middle East, India).
Partnering at the Global Tables and in the Global Trenches
"To say “Your side of the boat is sinking” makes no sense in view of the fact that we are all passengers on the same precarious global boat. We must all do our part to make sure that the Sustainable Development Goals do not lapse into the Fatigue-able Development Goals or worse, morph into a set of Sustainable Survival Goals."
We believe that a variety of people must be at the “global tables” in order to help shape and influence agendas, policies, and action in the “global trenches.” That includes people from all countries, sectors, and faith backgrounds, who are informed and skilled, and dedicated to the common good. The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
(Transforming Our World
) explicitly encourages such diverse and competent involvement and encapsulates it in Sustainable Development Goal 17: “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.” (see also the partnership examples and updates at Partnerships Engagement for the Sustainable Development Goals,)
One of the main challenges in working internationally is how best to convey important perspectives and arrive at consensus given the diversity of people/organizations around the world who are involved or want to be involved in global affairs. This challenge includes how to make room at the global table and in the global trenches for perspectives/agendas that are influenced by one’s own national, sectoral, institutional, and/or personal interests as well as one’s world view (and which may or may not contribute towards the common good).
It is often pointed out by people of faith that the Agenda is highly secularized and does not include God and dependence on God in the picture. While this is true, it can be argued that this “omission” is a necessary reality given humanity’s diversity and the need to find common ground (vs it being humanistic arrogance or anti-religious). We believe it is important to understand, apply, and critique the Agenda (just like other global efforts/affairs) according to one’s own world view and beliefs-values. Our CORE Member Care weblog is currently dealing with these issues, as part of the
” series. Two of the main assertions are the importance of personal transformation for social transformation and the importance of moral development for sustainable development.
The Agenda in our view is a crucial rallying point for the world community to truly make a difference on the horrific conditions in which so many fellow humans live. Two stats in particular come to our minds: one billion urban slum dwellers; 1.5 billion people living in settings exposed to violence and conflict that threaten their physical and mental integrity. There are many more stats like these of course that shine light on conditions of great need, vulnerability, and exploitation in our world, including forced migration, human trafficking, gender-based violence, gender inequality, maternal health and safety, education, corruption, and many other areas addressed by the Agenda.
Is the Agenda part of some conspiracy to weaken national sovereignty, undermine one’s freedom or faith, or usher in an authoritarian world order? Not in our view. Which is not to say however that this Agenda, like similar global efforts, should be monitored and critiqued, including the extent that it goes after the systemic influences/structures that prop up global injustices and inequities. And which is not to say that the Agenda, like any good thing, could not be somehow high-jacked for ill-intentions. Keep in mind that the Agenda is NOT a legally binding document or treaty, or something being forced on people or governments. It certainly has moral weight and major influence (and so it should) but it is fundamentally a voluntary set of consensually derived aspirational goals in light of the serious issues facing humanity-planet.
Having just come back from a trip that included connecting with urban refuges in the Middle East and the poor in Africa—people in desperate situations—we frankly do not have much patience for armchair criticisms that trivialize or denigrate the work of the humanitarian-development sector. We appreciate and affirm the combined efforts of the UN, governmental, and civil society sectors and its dedicated personnel who take risks and make sacrifices often at great personal cost. We do however appreciate informed critiques (including our own!) and know that there is much room for improvement and at times for confrontation within the humanitarian-development sector. (see the World Humanitarian Summit website for many examples, including the September 2015 synthesis report Restoring Humanity: Global Voices Calling for Action
Excerpts from Transforming Our World (September 2015)
We finish with some core quotes from the Agenda that relate to partnership—to encourage us all as we seek to work together in GI at the global tables and in the global trenches.
“We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focussed in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.” (Preamble)
“The scale and ambition of the new Agenda requires a revitalized Global Partnership to ensure its implementation. We fully commit to this. This Partnership will work in a spirit of global solidarity, in particular solidarity with the poorest and with people in vulnerable situations. It will facilitate an intensive global engagement in support of implementation of all the Goals and targets, bringing together Governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilizing all available resources.” (paragraph 39)
"We the Peoples" are the celebrated opening words of the UN Charter. It is "We the Peoples" who are embarking today on the road to 2030. Our journey will involve Governments as well as Parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community – and all people. Millions have already engaged with, and will own, this Agenda. It is an Agenda of the people, by the people, and for the people – and this, we believe, will ensure its success.” (paragraph 52)
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Global Integration Blog
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Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a non-profit organisation working internationally from the USA and Geneva. MCA's work in Global Integration focuses on wellbeing and effectiveness for mission/aid/development personnel and global mental health, all with a view towards supporting sustainable development for all people and the planet. Our services include consultation, training, research, developing resources, and publications. MCA is a member of the Movement for Global Mental Health and the NGO Forum for Health.
Actively integrating our lives (connecting and contributing) with global realities
(skillfully addressing the major issues facing humanity and promoting wellbeing)
in light of our core values (e.g., ethical imperatives, commitment to humanity, faith-based).
The GI Updates are designed to help us integrate our skills and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity--global integration (GI). They help to shape and support the emerging diversity of global integrators who as learners-practitioners are committed to pursuing "common ground for the common good."