Rome Conference of Catholic NGO’s

Edmund Rice International participated in the forum for Catholic-inspired Non-Government Organizations working with the UN which was held in Rome last month.

Representatives of approximately one hundred very diverse organizations took part, along with representatives from the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.

The conference was the second such gathering (following one in Rome in 2008) intended to explore ways in which the different organisations and the Vatican might collaborate more effectively in advancing human rights and the promotion of the common good.

The primary area of focus of the various NGO’s covered issues such as education, sustainability, peace building, refugees, the family, poverty, migration and health – a reminder of the broad reach and involvement of the church in helping address some of the major global issues of our time.

The main value in the gathering was in providing the opportunity to meet and network with other like-minded groups.

Some input was provided by a range of speakers. One who particularly impressed me was Professor Zamagni  from the University of Bologna who pointed out that many of the major problems faced by the world have moved beyond the ability of nation states to address. Issues of climate, migration and disaster relief are just three obvious examples.

Prof Zamagni called for a revitalisation and reform of the UN, including the creation of a socio-economic security council with power to direct the global economy, and a surrender of national autonomy in order that these issues can be effectively addressed.

photo credit: Guy Maginzi

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