High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development

Conference Room 4, UNHQ, NY   July 10-19, 2017

This year’s theme for the HLPF 2017 is “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” Plan International – Brazil organized a side event on the topic “Tackling child poverty in Brazil: a multi-factor agenda to leave no-one behind.”

The session was moderated by Charles Badenoch, Vice President for Advocacy and External Engagement World Vision International. He said that poverty is not a terminal illness, but can be life threatening. He also said that unlike adults, children don’t get a second chance especially the first 1000 days of their life therefore we have to act now and not wait. Larissa Souse, a teenager from Plan International Brazil and one of the keynote speakers, gave us the ground picture of what’s actually happening in Brazil. It was heart breaking to hear some of the facts from her. She said that the leading cause of death in Brazil is not suicide but HOMICIDE. Mortality rate is on the rise, especially in the age range 16-17 years, due to violence. Ms. Souse shared that the country is passing through so much poverty that some of the volunteers of Plan International Brazil can’t attend their meetings because they can’t afford the bus fare. Children drop off school within 7 years of education.  Nisha Das, keynote speaker from World Vision India, gave us a glimpse of child poverty status in India. She stated that children have to be at the center of implementation especially vulnerable children who are disabled. They are mostly excluded or eliminated from any conversations.

HLPF 1

Claudio Fernandes, economist and policy advisor of Gestos, shared facts and figures of child poverty in Brazil. He shared that the country faces both macro and micro violence currently making the development of the country very challenging. More than 50% of the populations are receiving less than the minimum wage, 27% of the population is poor, 40% of the children are vulnerable to poverty and 13% are in extreme poverty. They lack basic sanitation, access to education, clean water etc. He said we have to change the behavior of the people to make a change in their life. It touched everyone to hear of the extent of poverty in these areas.

BK Kinnari, Brahma Kumaris representative at the UN, met Claudio and shared how the BK’s are working towards bringing about a change of awareness, attitude, vision, and action as the foundation for world-benefiting change. She also offered that the BK’s could possibly collaborate with the working group in Brazil.  Claudio is very much looking forward to working with the BK’s and together help in designing and implementing sustainable projects in Brazil.

HLPF participants

I walked out of this session with the realization that to make a difference in the world, spiritual life skills need to be incorporated in all sectors working towards eradicating poverty.

Report by: Kinnari Murthy

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