AIC recently concluded the 2017 international assembly in Chatillon, France.  It was a time to consider the international participation of the many locally-based volunteers.  Besides each individual member country within the AIC, there is a network of representatives that reports to the international executive board on activities within several international organizations.

ECOSOC – The Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. Based in New York City, It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits. The UN Charter established ECOSOC in 1945 as one of the six main organs of the United Nations. The AIC representatives are Natalie Boone and Margaret Cashin.

This past year, AIC NGO has joined with other Vincentian NGOs at the UN in New York to coordinate activities in becoming more effective in tackling issues of interest to all of us. We collaborated on a side event during the Commission on Social Development, a very large, annual ECOSOC commission. We were supported by the Mission of Ireland for this event.

UNESCO – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization with headquarters in Paris, France and is responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. It strengthens the ties between nations and societies, and mobilizes the wider public so that each child and citizen has access to quality education, a basic human right and an indispensable prerequisite for sustainable development; may grow and live in a cultural environment rich in diversity and dialogue, where heritage serves as a bridge between generations and peoples; can fully benefit from scientific advances; and can enjoy full freedom of expression, the basis of democracy, development and human dignity.

AIC representatives in Paris are Christine Desveaux, Marie-Claude Dumont and Isabelle Chaperon.

Last year AIC made several contributions to the forum on the role of women in the fight against poverty and there is follow up work for this coming year’s forum in Queretaro (Mexico) ”From Promoting to Building Peace with the NGOs.”  Another forum will be organized next year titled, “Education and Displaced People.”

These representatives also participated in various events such as the meeting of the Committee on non -governmental partners, a round table “The Welcoming Cities for the Refugees: Promoting Inclusion and Protecting Rights” and a ceremony dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.  AIC also participates in CCIC, the Catholic Centre for UNESCO.  This past month marked its 70th anniversary and AIC helped in planning 5 workshops around the question “What kind of world do we want to build together?”

COUNCIL OF EUROPE – Its headquarters in Strasbourg, France and consists of 324 members of parliament from the 47 European Union member states; the Assembly elects the Secretary General, the Human Rights Commissioner and the judges to the European Court of Human Rights; it provides a democratic forum for debate and monitors elections; its committees play an important role in examining current issues.  Marie-Christine Davy and Béatrice Schuster of  Strasbourg, France are the AIC representatives.

Marie-Christine participated in a conference in Sicily focused on Mediterranean migration.

They participate in the INGOs Conference of the Council that holds four annual sessions.

The working groups give opportunities to work collaboratively, with AIC’s main participation occurring in the working group named “Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.” This group organizes the “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty” in Strasbourg. In addition, a collaborative group of Christian International NGOs of the Council of Europe meet 4 times a year.

CRESCENDO – Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Crescendo is a coalition of various international Catholic organizations and congregations active in the care for the elderly, with each group retaining its complete autonomy and charism. The AIC representative is Françoise Guademar from Villeneuve les Avignon, France.

“The major concern of Crescendo is to foster a humanist approach which values the development of the aging, respecting their dignity and their spiritual wealth.” Crescendo facilitates exchanges, offering a platform for those who work with the elderly: programs and specialist agencies of the UN, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGO), professionals, experts and networks of elderly persons and the political world. Crescendo acts through, for and with elderly, towards a more human society for all ages. Crescendo recognizes the increasing importance of lifelong spiritual values, particularly the Christian values of the family and the intergenerational ones.  http://reseau-crescendo.org/en/  Currently the focus is “How to promote ageing people in today’s society?”

AIC looks forward to increasing its collaborative relationships on the international level.  It is vital to combine forces with government, civil society, the private sector and religious groups to reach the many goals set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Natalie Boone, AIC – UN NGO Representative

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