The 63rd Annual UN DPI /
NGO Conference with the theme of Advance Global Health was held in
the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne Victoria
Australia from Monday 30 August to Wednesday 1 September 2010. The
conference was held just few weeks before the world leaders meet in
New York to push for greater progress on the MDGs.
Global health cannot be separated
from the MDGs. Meeting the commitments on health, especially of
women and children, is central to meeting all of the MDGs.
Achieving global health means achieving MDGS number 4 (reduce child
mortality), 5 (improve maternal health) and 6 (combat HIV/Aids,
Malaria and other diseases), which cannot be achieved without
achieving the MDGs number 1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger –
because of poverty), 2 (achieve universal primary education), 3
(promote gender equity and empower women), 7 (ensure environmental
sustainability) and 8 (develop a global partnership for
development). Moreover global health cannot be separated from human
rights since to be in good health is one of the human rights.
The conference highlighted
effective ways in which civil society, in partnership with other
actors, may contribute to fostering global health; not just
managing disease. The global health encompasses multifaceted
challenges of transnational health issues, determinants and
solutions, involves many disciplines, within and beyond the health
sciences, and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration.
There were three roundtables in the
conference. They were:
Although the conference sessions emphasized the need for more
integration of health programs, methods to generate outcome data,
cost effective delivery, sustainability, and emphasize prevention,
to achieve equity in global health, the discussions were more on the
role of NGOs and civil societies in helping achieve the MDGs (the
theme of the first roundtable).
- The role of the NGOs and civil society in helping achieve the MDGs;
- Equity, rights and progress towards the MDGs;
- Strengthening an integrated and system approach to achieving the
- Achieving the MDGs in our changing world.
From the roundtable discussions and also from the
workshops, I conclude that the issues we need to pay attention in
achieving the global health (and MDGs) are:
There are a lot of people who are aware and not well informed about global
health and because of that they do not get involved in the process
of achieving it. Global health and MDGs are not the commitments and
responsibility of leader of countries but everybody’s commitments
language of public health and MDGs are too sophisticated and not
down to the earth so that people may misinterpret it. The targets
are so ambitious that people may become desperate and feel that what
they are doing is not worthy enough since the target will not be
plays a very important role in achieving global health and MDGs. The
more educated the people, the more easily to involve them in the
process of it. The level of education in several countries is still
very low. The governments do not see the importance of education
that they only allocate very small part of their budget for
education. Poor people also do not pay much attention to their and
their children’s education because they are very busy with their
work to buy food. As long as the basic needs (food, clothing and
residence) are not fulfilled it is quite difficult to ask them to
pay more attention to education.
politics and business could be unforeseen actors behind these
problems. NGOs may have been working very hard in promoting and
documenting the efforts to achieve global health. However there have
been instances of their work being questioned, neglected, refused
and even being interfered when its results are politically or
economically uncomfortable for the government and powerful business
are also lacks of commitments and responsibility of the nations. As
it has been said that global health and MDGs are everybody’s
commitments and responsibility, it means that every nation should
have the commitment and do their responsibility to achieve the
global health and MDGs. It is not only the task of the developing
countries. Achieving global health and MDGs is not only the
obligation of developing countries but it involves the fulfillment
of the promises of developed countries. It needs global solidarity.
rights are closely linked with the global health and MDGs. As long
as human rights are abused, global health and MDGs will not be
achieved. It means to achieve global health and MDGs we need to
apply a human rights approach.
needs of cooperation between international (transnational) NGOs and
local grass-root NGOs. The grass-root NGOs know about what people
need because they work with them. They provide the data needed by
international NGOs in giving consultation and responses to UN and
Poor people are not the object of the projects of global health and
MDGs but they are the subject. They have to be involved in the
Youth needs to be involved in the process of achieving global health
and MDGs. They, with their high spirit, could be agents of change.
Media also plays a very important role in achieving global health
and MDGs. They have horizontal and vertical roles, they brings the
information among the people, and from the people to the leaders and
from the leaders to the people. Media also plays in spreading the
data collected by NGOs so that the data may be known and used by the
people and by other NGOs. It needs not only freedom in press but
The achievement of global health and MDGs is very affected by the
reality the governments in the world spend a lot money (more than
40% of their budgets) on military expenses (the money for achieving
MDGs is only less than 10% of the budget). It seems that the
governments of the world prefer to choosing the culture of death
(the military expense is mostly for buying weapons used to kill
people) to the culture of life (the achievement of global health
and MDGs is for people’s lives).
projects and the methodology of achieving global health and MDGs
should be flexible, in action, analysis and in reporting.
is very important. Everybody, whoever they are, whatever they are
doing and wherever they are have the same rights and obligations.
Indigenous and migrants have the same right and the same opportunity
to access health facilities and to develop themselves.
need of faith (and hope) in doing these NGO works. There were some
angry NGO workers attending the conference. They were producing
skeptical statements since they are desperate with the condition.
They felt that they had worked very hard to achieve the MDGs but
they did not think that they would manage that. They strongly
condemned governments, UN and NGOs for being not serious in doing
We Can Do-- Some Suggestions
There are a lot of things that we can do as an international NGO
which consists of religious and places its foundation on Carmelite
spirituality and charisms. Here are some that I suggest:
Cooperate with local grass-root NGOs in different areas of work
and different locations. We can do these through consolidating the
Carmelites working on JPIC in the Order.
Continue and increase the distribution of Carmelite NGO Day of
Prayer and if possible develop also a new one which is spiritually
broader and does not only relate to certain religion.
Enlarge the vision and the knowledge of our Carmelite sisters and
brothers on global health and MDGs so that they may become the
agent of change and the agent of transferring this information to
others. This can be done through Carmelite NGO bulletin, CITOC and
if possible, a letter of the Prior General of the Order.
Support the reflection on our prophetic vocation and disseminate
the reflection towards the Carmelite family and faithful people.
Develop educational system, curriculum and methodology so that the
students are educated about human rights.
Hold seminars, workshops and events where people may learn about MDGs.
Hariawan Adji, O. Carm.