PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL: PCI’s vibrant presence at the UN

by Beth Begley
Pax Christi UN delegate

Pax Christi International (PCI) has had special consultative status at the United Nations since 1979. Day by day there seems to be little change here at the UN – but looking back over the past 10 years I see amazing changes:
communication, outreach to youth, sustained insistence on gender equity, an emerging sense of power among the non-nuclear states, a growing sense among NGO’s that all issues are interconnected. As the Millennium Development Goals mature and meetings continue to articulate ‘The World We Want Post 2015’ in April 2015, it is clear that a more inclusive and integrated world view is being expressed. It is acknowledged that where there is conflict there is no
development, although disarmament is not on this radar (www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/Post_2015_UNTTreport.pdf).

L-R, front row: Cheryl Morrissey, Madeline Labriola, Mary McDonald, Abigail Abyshai Metzger, Marie Dennis; Back row: Rev. Paul Lansu, Patrick Ryan, Beth Begley, Jose Henriquez, Matthew Marquardt.

L-R, front row: Cheryl Morrissey, Madeline Labriola, Mary McDonald, Abigail Abyshai Metzger, Marie Dennis; Back row: Rev. Paul Lansu, Patrick Ryan, Beth Begley, Jose Henriquez, Matthew Marquardt.

The Work

PCI is now a member of the Working Group on the Security Council (http://ngowgsc.org), literally a ‘seat at the table’ at frequent briefings with individual members of the Security Council and their staffs. This provides off the record insights and networking opportunities. Marie Dennis represents Pax Christi International with Alex Hiniker as backup. Beth Begley and Alex Hiniker, with other NGO’s in the disarmament community, attend briefings with Angela Kane, High Rep. of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (ODA). These are primarily opportunities to bring to the table our issues and efforts, to discuss logistics for upcoming ODA events, and to network. Alex has assumed a pivotal role in communication. Beth is vice- president of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security. PCI has Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations in New York, Geneva and Vienna.

Mobilisation is beginning for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review. In 2014, Paul Lansu, Jose Henriquez and Marie Dennis from PCI were present, as was Susi Snyder from PAX (Pax Christi Netherlands). Globally, all are invited to participate in the Net Zero campaign that will kick off on Sept 26 (www.unfoldzero.org) – the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

The Arms Trade Treaty has 41 of the 50 ratifications necessary to enter into force (www.controlarms.org). Wim Zwijnenburg of PAX has been the leader of the European regional delegates at treaty negotiations. In addition to nuclear issues, Alex also works on Syria and South Sudan where PAX has local staff. Cheryl Morrissey is on the executive committee of the NGO Committee on Financing for Development and has co-authored 3 interventions. Abigail Metzger is active with the NGO Committee on Israel and Palestine and networks both in NY and in Washington D.C. Pat Ryan and Mary McDonald follow Indigenous issues. Madeline Labriola is our Treasurer.

Beth is also Secretary of the interfaith Committee of Religious NGOs, which works on Interfaith Harmony Day, monthly programming and the potential role of religious traditions in peacemaking and the prevention of violence. Beth is also working with the organisers of the People’s Climate March on Sept 21 (http://peoplesclimate.org/global). This is an effort to mobilise an overwhelming expression of public support here in NY and worldwide for an effective climate change treaty. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has convened a Climate Change Summit here for Sept 23 (www.un.org/climatechange/climate-summit-2014). This is a chance to make our values visible.

Now that so many aspects of the UN are on the web there are many ways to connect. You can view UN proceedings live on UN web TV (www.un.org/webcast/contact.html). All of the issues addressed by NGO committees have email lists and many have web sites. We all know that decisions are made at the home capital. Work here is important – work on the
national level is just as important. We have the tools to work so much more closely together. How can we best do that?

Beth Begley is a Pax Christi International team member at the UN in New York. If you would like to connect with the work, Beth is happy to be contacted at b.begley@paxchristi.net. This article originally appeared in JustPeace, the newsletter of Pax Christi UK. Visit their website at http://paxchristi.org.uk.

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