Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all
Refuser la misère
Letter to Friends around the World # 103

At the end of January, we launched a consultation by asking the ATD Fourth World teams, friends of the Forum, and members of the International Committee for October 17 to choose between two themes which one is closest to their reality. We received a total of 76 contributions, representing 36 countries.

Thank you to all those who took part, your contributions provided a variety of inputs and, after presenting and discussing them with the UN, the final theme for October 17 has been chosen:

“Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all”

Below are some extracts of the contributions we received.
 

SEEKING THE PARTICIPATION OF ALL

Dialogue is vital for community life because each individual is responsible for building their own world (the neighborhood, friends, family etc.). Everyone has the right to express themselves and to be able to take responsibility for building the world they want, including those in deepest poverty.” (Ms. Consolate N., Burundi)

There is an urgent need to consider the environment in every aspect of our daily lives. We show a desire to consider the most vulnerable to be key in decision-making regarding the environment and the use of natural resources.” (Jean B., Concordia-Ineza Foundation, Rwanda)

Governments are elected democratically in name but are increasingly controlled by business entities and serving investor interests. People’s voices have largely been forgotten in major decision-making processes. Those living in poverty and exclusion have been further pushed out to the margins. We need to recapture the political space.” (Aye Aye W., Myanmar/France, International Committee for October 17)

INTERDEPENDENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL
AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Those living in poverty are the most affected and it is important to make young people in particular understand that the fight against climate change needs to become a fight against extreme poverty.” (ATD Fourth World, Haiti)

Fundamental rights and the Sustainable Development Goals form a perfect link between human and environmental development, and between ending poverty (Goal 1) and forming partnerships globally and with those living in poverty (Goal 17). This last link offers a methodology, one of cooperation.” (Lise-Marie S., Union Nationale d’Associations de Parrainage de Proximité, National October 17 Committee, France)

INJUSTICE OF BEING ACCUSED OF A GLOBAL SITUATION

Those living in poverty are stigmatized and are increasingly being accused of contributing to atmospheric pollution, for example for using heating materials which are not environmentally friendly.” (Maja G. M., Macedonia)

Native populations rely on natural resources to survive, providing them with a source of income, food, energy, shelter, health care and much more. Developed countries who have already taken advantage of their natural resources, putting the climate at risk, force developing countries to not exploit forest resources, with the reason of fighting against climate change.  (Dieudy M., Compagnons d’Action pour le Développement Familial, Democratic Republic of Congo)

WE ARE ACTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
AND A WORLD WITHOUT POVERTY

I think of the families in the village of Isampulu in Kinshasa who are building their own houses on stilts to protect themselves against flooding and illness. This shows solidarity not only between, but with, people struggling to overcome poverty.” (Justin B., Democratic Republic of Congo, International Committee for October 17)

We are looking to make sure that those who are most affected and most vulnerable are the ones to lead change. In one of our recent projects we focused on plastic recycling and worked with Caritas, women in charge of recycling in a cooperative in Córdoba and a specialist professor from the university of technology.” (Cecilia L., Argentina)

Key words: