Date of publication: 05/06/2020

COVID-19: Rebuilding a Better World in the Wake of the Pandemic

Council General International

It is worth remembering that 75 years ago, when the world was experiencing the aftermath of the World War II crisis, in a spirit of cooperation and renewal, the United Nations was created. The goal was to bring the world together, thus avoiding another devastating world war.

In 2020, the UN is celebrating not only it 75th anniversary, but also the 50th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. However, COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a new global crisis similar to that of WWII.

In 2013, our Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was granted the NGO status by the UN ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council), thereby allowing it to actively participate and speak out in UN debates, meetings and initiatives in defense of the poor and the most vulnerable. Last year, brother Renato Lima de Oliveira, 16th President General, visited the UN and realized how important our presence is there. As a matter of fact, we are thinking about establishing our own office closer to the global decisions.

Having UN NGO status entails certain responsibilities: commitment to taking a more active role in civil society, participation in working groups, meetings, focus groups and annual commissions, as well as drafting statements with other likeminded NGOs, and endorsing appropriate statements drafted by other NGOs.

Recently, this opportunity arose when CONGO (Conference of NGOs with ECOSOC Consultative Status) drafted “COVID-19 Recovery: Building Back Better” statement, which calls on the 193 UN Member States to renew their commitment to the UN, and to turn this international crisis into a great opportunity to build a more equitable and just world, leaving no one behind, taking people out of poverty and creating more job opportunities.

The SSVP’s CGI has endorsed this timely statement along with more than 120 other committed NGOs at the United Nations, amongst them several Vincentian Family branches (Congregation of the Mission, International Association of Charity and Sisters of Charity Federation), and many other Catholic congregations (Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Dominicans for Justice and Peace, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, and Sisters of Saint Dominic).

Click here to read the statement signed by the CGI.