In this world, are we someone for other people?
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Letter to Friends around the World # 89

"Many people talk about our problems; many people think that we are a problem, that we have problems. This is not how we see ourselves. Problems are not what define us. What defines us is the questions we ask. And our first question is this: Do we matter for other people in this world? Are our hands, minds, and hearts useful for them?"

With these words which Joseph Wresinski addressed to young people in 1985, we want, on the eve of 2015, to send you our wishes for peace, health, and courage as you enter into the new year. 2015 will be critical for the international community, since it will set new Sustainable Development Objectives for the years to come.

Will these be inspired by the experiences and the intelligence of those who throughout the world are resisting the violence of extreme poverty? Will they recognize the dignity of each and every person as key to leveraging progress and have as an objective to ensure their contribution to the world of tomorrow? The evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000 opened up an important debate on the choices to be made and the policies to be implemented beyond 2015.

Leave no one behind“ is the ambition expressed in the reports of the Secretary General of the United Nations, repeated in the groups working on the post-2015 agenda, as well as discussed by civil society. If this ambition were to be put into effect, it would introduce a real change in approach. It would finally break with the previous objectives, which aimed at reaching only half of the people living in poverty.

Since 2000, people we have met in different countries have said to us: “Only half! Then it will never be for us, nor for our families, nor for our neighbours…“ We know that real changes are slow in coming! And so in the coming year, we will continue to support each other in our commitments and in the actions which we undertake day by day, in order for all people without exception to be recognized and involved wherever the present and the future of humanity is being played out.

Isabelle Perrin, Director General

International Movement ATD Fourth World