Presented during a side event of Permanent Mission of Germany in New York City on February 10, 2011:
"MDG 1 - an indicator for social development and the role of reconciliation"
Honorable Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Dear NGO Fellows and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
with respect to the theme of the event, I am honoured to contribute with a speech on:
MDG 1 – an indicator for social development and the role of reconciliation
The first Millennium Development Goal is an extremely ambitious one.
More than two third of the scheduled period has passed. The MDG report 2010 , expecting that the time target will be missed, outlined the relevance of economic growth and the influence of the financial crisis on poverty reduction.
Yet, economic growth is not necessaryly synonymous with poverty reduction, it is one main of diverse components of the process. As it was stated in the General Assembly, to increase opportunities for people living in poverty in a sustainable way, it needs an integration of a variety of elements like food security, water, rural and community development, education, health including combat of pandemics, gender equality with the empowerment of women, applied human rights, good governance and cross-sectional, constructive partnerships including those between developed and developing countries as well as proper assistance by the international community.
Thus, in MDG 1 all essentials of social development accumulate. The microcredit model of nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus was honored due to the integration of many of the said elements.
Since the complexity of poverty reduction is evident and poverty reduction indeed is an indicator of social development in general, the time schedule for this challenging goal probably will be revised. The EU has done that already within the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 in its „strategy 2020“.
To include the poorest also in the participation of existing resources and to cope better with the foresaid complex setting of social structures, obviously innovative approaches to economy are indispensable. Such new approaches call for an uplifting of our relationships with each other and of our inner mindsets.
When we look at the prerequisites on a personal level, using our full potentials requires externally stability, peace, law and order, internally a stable, balanced, tranquil inner mindset that leads to respect, acknowledgement of dignity of any person and living being as well as cooperation, beneficial to each partner.
What we know about reconciliation enables us to broaden present structures and overcome their inherent obstacles.
(From left to right) Ambassador Miguel Berger, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations; Normans Penke, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to the United Nations in New York; Felicitas Hoffmann, Judge, Foundation for Subjective Experience and Research S.E.R., Düssedorf/Germany; Mr. Bodewig, Chairman of Baltic Sea Forum, former Federal Minister; Dr. George B. Assaf, Director and Representative of UNIDO.
Current reconciliation efforts are observed and applied in post-conflict societies. It is than linked to forms of justice like transitional justice or truth telling or involves the re-humanisation of the other through dialogue, empathy and forgiveness. This understanding was clearly addressed by the General Assembly when it proclaimed 2009 as International Reconciliation Year.
Yet, in the English spoken sphere reconciliation is used in a broader meaning. It indicates a bridging between persons, groups of people or more generally of objectives that before had been considered to be antagonistic.
All initiatives like that of the Baltic Sea Forum and others that seek for cooperation by partnerships or networks, implement aspects of that bridging. For the Baltic Sea Region that couldn´t be taken for granted, as many of its neighbouring countries had suffered from dictatorship, wars, genocid and repulsion. In order to rebuild relationships as a basis for sustainable exchange and to enlarge the scope of cooperation, in the Baltic Sea Region the countries themselves as well as the EU have pursued intercultural dialogue, debates on shared history and partnerships.
Other new paths of bridging seemingly antagonistic objectives are trodden by what is called „social economy“. This umbrella term is used to describe various conjunctions with economy, for instance to characterize an entrepreneurship with a high social esteem for the work of the employees (Corporate Social Responsibility), or a merging of economy and ecology (Eco Business), or, as Prof Mohammad Yunus did, subordinating business completely to the most urgent social challenges like poverty, healthcare, clean water etc. (Social Business).
The GENESIS Institute for Social Business, located at the University of Potsdam (close to Berlin) enhances new innovative approaches under the term of Social Impact Business by annual so called „Vision Summits“.
It is believed that social economy has a distinct, valuable and examplary role to play in helping to create a strong, sustainable, prosperous and inclusive society. The EU notably supports these initiatives. The EU seeks to reduce legal and practical hurdles that impair the effective development of social enterprises, such as the present lack of a level playing field between social economy enterprises and their wholly commercial competitors.
Beside these social economy initiatives, volunteering plays an important role to the growth of social economy. The European Year of Volunteering 2011 intends to empower individuals, to create stronger communities and foster civic responsibility.
Such impulses for a more complementary understanding of economy that serves multiple aspects, might be useful for programs that deal with the MDGs.
Cooperation in general as well as in the framework of social development often is defined by and often works to a specific extend by a shared target of the partners.
However, the scope of effectiveness and of feasibility of complex targets rely on the quality of the relationship between the involved partners and on the personal development of the involved individuals.
Or can we imagine, that a dramatic change like that of the fullfillment of all MDGs can be accomplished when the underlying attitudes, relationships, the lack of applied virtues that have led to poverty etc are not tackled as well ?
The core of reconciliation, first of all, is about how that shift in relationship between the former conflicting persons or objectives can be triggered and transformed to a sustainable new state of relationship.
Traditional reconciliation rites that have effectively been used throughout the ages, may teach essential elements for accomplishing a transformed relationship that enables to find new approaches : elements like pursuing absolute truth, authenticity and respect, a shared higher state of understanding and of consciousness that comprises our highest qualities and virtues - attained by prayer or other paths, thereby providing a perspective on the issue beyond every day life -, a shared higher state of mind that takes us to the whole, sane center within us, to a place of unconditioned knowing.
Secondly, reconciliation concerns our own personal balance, openness, high mindedness.
Everyone may identify what the tools are for her or him that make the access to a high minded vision available and what the conscious inner experience is that eases the access to high mindedness.
One non-verbal path is that of “ergosoma” by Romulo V. Tajon, Founder of the S.E.R. Foundation. In this healing method the connection between physical and visible manifestation – the body - and the invisible, omnipresent quality of life is reinstalled and intensified. The method aims to a state of perfect harmony between body and mind as the dual manifestations of life. Thereby not only accumulated stress can be released, but also an access to deep empathy and high-mindedness be facilitated.
It has been beneficial to people in leading positions, to nurses in hospices and for instance to firemen with their stressful working conditions.
The effects have been and are objective of researches in universities of Germany.
To use globalisation for the best of all, it is time to design the main components of our global actions in a new way so that solid rationality is accompanied by the uplifting of ourselves and our relations.
Existing networks, cooperations or programs will then entail a higher level of intent, lead to a peace and wisdom guided world order. Such a high minded approach needs to be globally communicated with patience and perseverance. With all our spotlights aligned to a vision of that degree, we will be taken further on the path of inner understanding, respect and dignity. Thus new levels of approaches to existing challenges will arise.
As a next step we could identify, what enables each of us on a personal level – including for instance managers, diplomats as well as leaders – to access a high minded state and what the requirements of actions on that level are, what notably will be a feasible support due to for instance a broadened understanding of health, to foster economy and management ethics as well as a visionary reconciliation diplomacy.
It might be elaborated, how our communication system may contribute to switch on the spotlights to a global high-mindedness that in a complementary way is connected to rationality.
This picture of noble, just and elevated order as the MDGs express in a visionary way, calls for conscious new approaches in particular to global economy, to health and diplomacy.
The S.E.R. Foundation serves to this by promoting roundtables to focus on new impulses on concrete objectives.