Michael Doorly of Concern on…..

At ATD we count ourselves lucky to have the support of Concern to conduct the Leave No One Behind Project. We spoke to Michael Doorly, Head of Active Citizenship at Concern, to have their position on the Sustainable Development Goals and why Concern were interested in the Leave No One Behind Project.

The Sustainable Development Goals
“We think everyone needs to be talking about the SDGs, so there needs to be conversations going on everywhere, with all sorts of groups, a lot of ‘not traditional’ groups, I suppose. Oftentimes we only talk to government and to other big funders, but Leave No One Behind Conversations is involving the public in this agenda.”

“These are global goals, they’re not just goals for the developing world. They’re not just goals for Africa, or India, or other places, but they’re goals for all of us. And in fact we call them goals, but in essence they’re rights, they’re human rights, you know? ”

“This agenda is not going to be delivered without passion. We oftentinemes like to think that it’s just governments holding us back, and oftentimes they are, they’re not doing enough, but it’s so many other actors as well that need to be playing their part. So it’s precisely these kind of conversations, and the groups and networks that ATD works with that will help deliver on that. ”

Leaving No One Behind at a Global Level

“‘Leave No One Behind’ in areas of conflict in the world are extremely difficult because oftentimes you don’t get access, with governments or warring parties don’t allow humanitarian assistance in. The victims, mostly women and children, and the elderly, simply have no one there to help. You know, we think of Syria, we think of Yemen, we think of the Congo, other places that at the moment are just, you know, living in hell, and we’re not able to reach them in the way we should.”

“Sadly, 785 million people still go to bed hungry each night, it’s chronic and it’s persistent and it is something that we absolutely could end, but we’re just not doing. Since 1990, absolutely, the numbers have gone down, as have the numbers living on less than one dollar and twenty-five cents a day, and you know that’s the glass half full, a lot of good stuff. But it is, it’s getting those numbers who still haven’t gotten out of poverty, who still are going to bed hungry, that we have to continue to work on.”

Gender Equality

“We would obviously have seen gender equality as a core to development, there would be no development without that level of equality, and the challenge for us now is to engage men more in that, to engage men more in domestic duties, to tackle instances of domestic abuse as well. But men and women, together, must deliver on the development agenda, it can’t only be an agenda for one gender, it must be both”

“Women were ‘joiners’. So you’d set up a microfinance group and it would be the women who would join the group, or you’d set up other literacy groups, and it would be women who would join the groups. Men tend not to be joiners in that sense, they might stand outside and they might keep an eye on it, but they wouldn’t be joining the group. So it was to try and find ways that we could involve men, in ways that they were comfortable with, and in ways that would begin to break down some of their fears about engaging.”

The role of Irish citizens’ in keeping the LNOB promise

“It is that idea of ‘bigger than self’. Beyond us, what’s our role in the world and what makes us proud, in a sense, to be living in Ireland? What should Ireland be doing in terms of our neighbours, not just geographic, but globally? What are the values that we hold as people living in Ireland? That we are open, that we do have respect, that we do believe that we have a duty to help others. And you know, we hear so much bad news about everything nowadays, including that we’re becoming so insular in Ireland, and so wrapped up in ourselves. But I think we’re bigger than that, I think we do have this global spirit about us, and that we are willing to help in whatever way we can and for some people it’s financial, and for some people it is their time. It is that sense of ‘Ireland’s role in the world’ and what voice do we have when our government leaders go to UN meetings, when they go to European Union meetings? We see this ‘not in my name’, but what do we want ‘in my name’? You know, ‘I want Ireland to defend the 0.7% aid budget’, ‘I want Ireland to be leading, as we have been with David Donoghue, on the Sustainable Development Goals’. That’s the stuff I want ‘in my name’.”

“In the introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals, Ban Ki Moon talks about reaching the hardest to reach first, and how absolutely important that is. We often talk about the glass of water that’s half full or half empty, we see the glass of water, since we began to get a measure of the Millennium Development Goals, as half full. In a sense filling it half full has been the easy part, I think filling it the rest of the way is the difficult part, and that’s where we absolutely need everyone involved.”