The 2023 UISG Advocacy Forum in Rome concluded with an invitation to religious sisters to influence global policies. They discussed a range of topics, including sustainable economies, climate change, and human trafficking, during the two-day event held on October 23-24.
Religious sisters emphasized the interconnectedness of the economy, climate change, and pressing global issues like human trafficking. They are actively working to create an economy free from human trafficking at both local and global levels. Profits from human trafficking exceed $150 billion annually, as pointed out by Sr. Abby Avelino, the international coordinator of “Talitha Kum.”
The sisters shared their experiences in advocating for the homeless at the United Nations. It was only after this advocacy that the UN began to propose Resolutions on homelessness. Sisters are also making strides in global advocacy to halt human trafficking by collaborating with national governments.
There are currently around 183 million migrants worldwide, including over 80 million forcibly displaced individuals. Sisters globally are engaging with these populations. Sr. Maryanne Loughry, Co-coordinator of the International Migrants and Refugees Network, emphasized that working with the poor and migrants provides valuable information that can lead to concrete actions.
Sr. Loughry also noted that Pope Francis has been a leading advocate for migrants and refugees, emphasizing that the most complex issues of our time, including migration and climate change, are interconnected.
One panel focused on changing the public discourse about marginalized people. Sr. Maria Jose Rey Merodio spoke about the importance of changing the narrative on migrants, stating that they bring hope and the possibility of building a new life to the communities they move to.
The UISG Advocacy Forum 2023 aimed to help religious women identify priority areas for advocacy that can lead to systemic change. It is an initiative of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in collaboration with the Global Solidarity Fund.