The Rapidian

Dominican Sister Supports MDGS at the United Nations

Underwriting support from:
Dominican Sister Lucianne Siers - Director, Partnership for Global Justice

Dominican Sister Lucianne Siers - Director, Partnership for Global Justice

In the year 2000, the United States along with 188 other members of the United Nations, enthusiastically signed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs set forth eight major goals: achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development.

The purpose of the MDGs is to provide a unified response to poverty worldwide. However, few people in our nation have heard of them; and if they have, we have hardly found a way to integrate them within our way of life. The MDGs focus on the eradication of poverty and on the needs of those who suffer the most from lack of food, education and medical care.

Sister Lucianne Siers, a member of the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids, serves as a Non Government Organization Representative (NGO) at the United Nations in New York City, and holds the position of Director of The Partnership for Global Justice – a position she has held for eight years. The Partnership for Global Justice has supported the MDGs since the Member States of the United Nations endorsed them in 2000.

Siers also frequently returns home to Grand Rapids to attend congregational gatherings, where she serves with Sister Barbara Hansen as Co-Promoter of Justice, Peace and Care of Creation for the Dominican Sisters, working to educate and advocate on behalf of peace through justice in a nonviolent manner.

Due to fragmented economic, security, and development issues, many countries who promised to partner in the MDGs have failed to realize their commitments. Although they continue to work toward their goals, a shortfall is anticipated when the expected achievements are measured in 2015.

In spite of this discouraging knowledge, we know that the MDG goals have given us a focus and a course on which to move forward. More children in developing countries are in schools and the rate of births with the aid of a midwife or doctor has risen, although nearly half the population of the developing world (about 2.5 billion people) is living without adequate sanitation.

Individuals, communities, and nations can no longer depend on geographical borders for the provision of security and safety; nor can we afford to engage in active disconnection from one another. Instead, we must engage equally in the world through dialogue and participation. Siers raises the following question: “Whose security matters?”

Security depends upon all citizens having access to “. . . the necessities of life including health, education and safe living conditions. Eradication of Poverty, the focus of the MDGs, is essential to ensuring the security of all peoples as well as of the state,” adds Siers.

It is a long distance from Grand Rapids to Sub Saharan Africa, but in 2008, 14.9% of Kent County residents were living in poverty. Our city provides many programs and opportunities for those who struggle for the necessities of life but these programs cannot reach all those living in poverty; the MDGs offer us the opportunity to respond personally to those who are in great need. This is a worldwide effort and these last nine years have made a difference.

One wonders how we can claim some personal ownership of the MDG objectives in our lives here in Grand Rapids. Sister Siers suggests that an organization, a small group or an individual might take one of the Millennium Goals, research it and identify a way in which they are able to assist in providing educational books for one local child or a meal for one family in our own community.

These may seem like small steps in alleviating deprivation—the root cause of local and global socioeconomic and political conflicts—but, by paying attention to those in our community and performing small acts, we become part of the solution in the world effort to eradicate poverty.

Additional Information
Michigan League for Human Services: http://www.milhs.org/

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