Watch our webinars on COVID-19, poverty, the right to water, and the Agenda 2030

Together with partners, Franciscans International hosted two virtual side events during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development and the 44th Session of the Human Rights Council.

Walking the talk: Exploring concrete steps towards human rights-aligned policies in a world in crisis

The current global health crisis hits the poor the hardest: they are not only more likely to be affected by the virus but also by measures taken in response to COVID-19. The disproportionate impacts of the pandemic are not only linked to inequalities within countries, but also between countries globally and regionally. More than ever, we need policy coherence in compliance with human rights and in attaining the core principle of “leaving no one behind.” In this webinar, organized during the HLPF, experts reflect on concrete country experiences linking sustainable development, climate policies, and human rights compliance.

  • Opening remarks: H.E. Ambassador Frank Tressler (Permanent Representative of Chile the UN in Geneva)
  • Reflections on country experiences: Busi Sibeko (Institute for Economic Justice, South Africa) and Savi Bisnath (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)
  • Discussants: Olivier De Schutter (UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty) and Kate Donald (Center for Economic and Social Rights)
  • Moderation: Sandra Epal-Ratjen (Franciscans Internationa­l)

COVID-19 and the human rights of people living in poverty

While the current pandemic has touched all countries in the world, it has also revealed the widening inequalities in society: people living in poverty are not only exposed to a much greater risk of infection, but also bear the disproportionate brunt of the negative economic and social consequences of the pandemic. This webinar looks at how risk factors of COVID-19 affect different groups of people, through what processes the experiences of people living in poverty can be reflected in policy measures designed to fight the pandemic, and what measures can be implemented to protect people living in poverty and social exclusion from the devastating economic and social impacts of the disease.

  • Opening remarks: Iyad Jaber (Mission of France)
  • Panelists: H.E. Ambassador Shara Duncan (Permanent Mission of Costa Rica), Olivier De Schutter (UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights), Shahra Razavi (International Labour Organization), Eric Hazard (Save the Children), and Maryann Broxton (ATD Fourth World USA)
  • Moderator: Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona (GI-ESCR)

Ten Years of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: A transformative pathway for the SDGs and COVID-19 response

Despite the fact that access to water and sanitation were declared human rights a decade ago by the UN General Assembly, their realization remains a distant reality for billions of people and it is clear that not enough progress has been made on Sustainable Development Goal 6. At the HLPF, our longtime partner Sandra Carolina Ascencio from El Salvador joined other human rights defenders from across the world to discuss what action is needed urgently to achieve this goal, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities and highlighting the lack of access to services that enable good hygiene. The event was co-sponsored by the NGO Mining Working Group at the UN of which Franciscans International is a member.