This year’s Stand Up and Take Action to End Poverty campaign (SUTA) of the United Nations, organized by the UN Developmental Programme (UNDP), UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and various UN agencies, is very special since this is a pre-event for the upcoming UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit, which will be held on 20st to 22nd of September, 2010 at New York.
Happening on September 17-19, 2010, the goal for this year’s SUTA is to make noise or making the world leaders hear the concerns of the people who want the MDGs to be fulfilled. Aside from making noise, SUTA would like to encourage all the citizens to take action by joining other MDG advocates to monitor their leaders and government offices with their implementation of their projects that will help to eradicate poverty and hunger, achieve and promote universal primary education, to lessen child mortality rate, promote gender equality, execute comprehensive maternal care, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, to have sustainable environment, and to establish strong global relationship among nations.
In my two years of supporting the MDG campaign of the United Nations and working with various UN agencies as an advocate such as in World Food Programme (WFP), UNAIDS, UNDP, non-government organizations such as WWF-Philippines, Greenpeace Philippines, Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP), Probe Foundation’s Mulat Pinoy, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) and other much more,I saw the issue the pertinent issues that pertain mostly to human rights, health and the effects of climate change to the humanity. I would like to emphasize on the 50 peso test (US$1.25 test) of UNDP, where I was one of those who took the challenge on how a person can live for a day with that amount of money. However in reality, 50 pesos is not for a single person, but for a family with four to five members. I had doubts on how 50 pesos could provide the family members with decent food and shelter, provide children with right nutrition, education and health care and same with the maternal care that women needs especially those who is bearing a child.
According to United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) in its Women Delivers Congress, everyday there are 11 mothers around the world that die during child bearing. Like other reproductive health advocates, I believe that mothers should not die in giving birth. Sadly, in developing nations like the Philippines, the number and the equipment in health centers are not sufficient to serve its patients. In the case of the Philippines, there are only 9 health centers from every 13-15 urban or rural barangays (villages).
Aside from maternal and child healthcare, one of the major concerns of the MDG is the eradication of hunger and poverty. WFP and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of UN launched the 1 Billion Hungry campaign to let the world know that there are more than a billion hungry mouths to feed and most of them are children and women. The campaign challenges individuals to take part and aid the hungry, and everyone has the chance to start that change.
Same challenge that UNAIDS calls individuals and advocates spreading awareness and not the virus in combating HIV/AIDS. With the mindset of “modern lepers” toward the people with AIDS, UNAIDS and other NGOs are faced with the problem on how to halt the spread of virus, like in the case of Malawi where they imprisoned a gay couple because of the sexual preference and other countries imposing travel restrictions to those who had the virus. In the 110th Parliamentary Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the challenges that were raised to the leaders was to put down travel restrictions and impose a law that would safeguard the welfare of people with AIDS.
Each one has the responsibility to take part in making poverty, history. Let’s all Stand Up to show unity, Take Action on issues concerning their respective nations, and Make Noise so that their leaders going to the UN Summit will hear and have no excuses not to fulfill their promise. 2015 is just a few sleep away!