The Global Leadership Team comprising of Mariana Cejudo and Silivio Torres for the Latin Americas, Taichikwan for Far East, Bro. John for Africa Madagascar, Fr Ryszard for Europe, Fr Jerry Thomas South Asia shared with Fr Thomas Pallithanam the environmental activities being carried out in the various regions of the congregation. Mr. Macson Almeida and Shawna Rebello explained how the Global coordination functioned. He appreciated the efforts being made to engage young people from Salesian institutions across the world in various initiatives to care for the earth. Complimenting DBGA for organizing a Side Event at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations in 2019, he pointed out that the grassroot work being done by the alliance was extremely important and necessary for the advocacy work that the Salesians were carrying out at the UN.
Fr Pallithanam then gave a detailed presentation of the various activities he was engaged in at the UN on behalf of the Salesians. He highlighted the vision and mission of Salesians@UN, and explained how this helped to bring the voices of young people into the discussions being held at the global level. Issues such as education, migration, poverty and ecology are some of the key issues that the Salesians are focusing on at the UN. Fr Pallithanam said that the rights-based advocacy approach was used to further these causes.
The need to increase our footprints at the different regional centers of the UN was highlighted. As DBGA already its nominated representatives for the different regions they could become the focal points to firm up the Salesian presences at the UN regional centers. It would be important to identify those engaged in issues of migration, trafficking of children and youth, refugees, indigenous people in these regions and form regional advocacy teams.
The calendar of major events held by the UN at New York, Geneva, Bangkok and its other regional centers was also presented by Fr Pallithanam. He encouraged the DBGA to participate in some of these events, especially the UN Youth Forum and the HLPF. Further, he also recommended that the DBGA should get actively involved at the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya.
At the close of the meeting, Fr Savio Silveira thanked Fr Thomas Pallithanam for enlightening the DBGA lead team on the various opportunities available through the UN for involving young people in environmental action and advocacy. Fr Silveira also expressed the hope that DBGA would collaborate closely with SDB-UN for future programs.
Fr Savio Silveira,
Convenor Don Bosco Green Alliance