Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
UN thumbs-up for PM's peace model
Peace-focused plan could form basis for new global programPrime Minister Sheikh Hasina (seated at center) with conference participants in Dhaka
- ucanews.com reporter, Dhaka
- August 8, 2012
First proposed at last yearâ€™s General Assembly in New York, the model aims to tackle a host of issues through a focus on peace and social empowerment. It addresses topics such asÂ poverty eradication, equality throughout society and sustainable development. It also seeks to curb the threat of terrorism.
UN representatives and others met to discuss the model on Monday, during a conference at the Hotel Ruposhi Bangla in Dhaka.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told journalists that recommendations drafted during the conference will be incorporated in time for its presentation before the next General Assembly in October, when the evaluation of new global development models will be high on the agenda.
Moni said the prime ministerâ€™s peace model â€śspeaks not only of economic development, but also social and political inclusion of all segments of people in a country.â€ť
Jairam Ramesh, Indian minister for rural development and a delegate at the conference, said Hasinaâ€™s model should be considered as a template for a new program of Sustainable Development Goals, a successor to the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the UN in 2000 and set to conclude in 2015.
â€śIt is inclusive and is applicable to all countries of the world, whereas the Millennium Development Goals that originated in the West were meant only for developing countries,â€ť Ramesh said at a press conference on Monday.
Bangladesh has seen improvements in several social areas, with maternal and infant mortality falling by 40 percent and 65 percent respectively over the last two decades, according to UNICEF.
A government-sponsored survey conducted last year also found an 8.5 percent drop in poverty and nearly 100 percent enrollment for primary school-aged children. However, general literacy levels still have much room for improvement, as do several other social problems.
Prodip Kumar Roy, chief executive of the Online Knowledge NetworkÂ website, said that Hasinaâ€™s model was a good one, but the country is still struggling to implement at home the initiatives that it proposes abroad.
â€śPeople have little access to the decision-making process,â€ť he said.
â€śLocal government units where politicians are elected should be empowered so that people can participate in the planning development agenda, and financial budgets should also be designed through peoplesâ€™ engagement.â€ť
A Dhaka-based journalist, who asked not to be named, pointed out that the country also has a poor record on ethnic issues, particularly the disenfranchisement of tribals.
â€śAlso, the peace model says nothing about the eradication of corruption, a major barrier to development,â€ť the journalist said.
Bangladesh PM thanks nation for UN award