….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
Statement by Cecilia.W.Yu 余詠詩 , Ambassador of the Non
Governmental Organizations PEPA (in Special Consultative Status with the United
Nations Economic & Social Development Council since 2017),
for the Council and the Chairs of its
Functional Commissions and Expert Bodies
20 April 2021
UN ECOSOC President, Excellencies and distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen:
My name is Cecilia.W.Yu 余詠詩 , Ambassador of PEPA NGO in Special
Consultative Relationships with the United Nations Economic & Social Development Council since 2017. I want to thank the venerable members of the UN ECOSOC Bureau for this opportunity to render my 2017 to 2021 (4 years report) as a Pedagogy of our organisation’s cumulative experience for over a decade in the afflicted region, in order to highlight our collaborative work in protecting Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and the long-term Sustainability of the population, by enriching the lives of those most damaged by Conflict.
Engaging in dialogue and maintaining accessible lines of communication is critical to our special consultative relation between our network of NGOs and the UN System, especially that of Economic and Social Development, for a future where Conflicts will end. Our program and participation report amplifies UN’s access to the voices, the expertise and support offered by civil society, as well as the UN’s engagement in Sustainable Development Goals for the future of our planet.
In the last four years of our special consultative relationship with UN ECOSOC, PEPA NGO consulted over 40 Stakeholders NGO committees about Sustainable Development Goals in order to bench mark and prioritise the most relevant SDGs for our long term strategies to safeguard the transmission of intergenerational Intangible Cultural Heritage.
PEPA’s Organization (Pleaders of Children and Elderly People at Risk) is a trans-national Community Non-profit Organisation, from the Democratic Republic of Congo with HeadQuarters in Goma and the USA. Our primary focus is strengthening the community through contributing to better living conditions and advance in situ, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with major focus on Education, Health, Human Rights, Sustainable Economic and Social Development.
In the recent environment of Conflict and Threats towards the Safety of Stakeholders, I can only affirm what has been skillfully reported to the United Nations, that it is difficult to carry out work with our program managers and outreach volunteers in the last four years, because of the many barriers presented by conflict, ebola and covid19 pandemics, physical and mental health crisis, as well as the negative media created by deaths of UN aid workers.
Following the tragic death of Italian Ambassador, Luca Attanasio, his Italian military policeman Vittorio Iacovacci, and their Congolese driver in Feb 2021, PEPA wishes to send our sincere condolences to ALL affected in the course of executing their Humanitarian work in the Congo. After much soul searching amongst our key decision-makers, we must humbly accept and present to the venerable assembly our conclusion that:
The current Human Right violations and assault on the values of Civil Society, is not simply resolved within the scope of existing Social and Economic Development strategy. A more robust level of Peacekeeping is urgently needed while 22million Congolese are on the brink of starvation. PEPA’s Project Leaders and Humanitarian observers risk losing their lives if the conflict continues.
As such we re-affirmed the message of the New Chair of UN MONUSCO in taking a long-term Sustainable planning approach to our strategies leading up to 2023 elections, AND to mitigate the level of exposures to risk for civilians, humanitarian personnels, human rights observers, regional project leaders and associated workers. We, at PEPA, respect the long term engagement strategy of the United Nations and the need to protect humanitarian actors on the ground. Nevertheless, as Ambassador, I must emphatically highlight the plights of communities ravaged by violence, infectious disease pandemics, poverty and the irreversible destruction of social, economic and cultural Sustainability.
There are resilient Congolese Communities who still respect NGOs on the ground. So we must ask, on behalf of those whose lives we plead for, “What trust building efforts in local agencies can UN ECOSOC support in a bilateral way?”
I refer to the 2021 Financing for Development and the Financing for Sustainable Development Report of the United Nations. PEPA NGO deeply appreciates UN ECOSOC ‘s availability and openness to interact. We would like to add that support for the ideals of the UN is most profuse, when NGOs are included as critical allies and evaluators. The continued PEPA NGO and UN ECOSOC relations, serve as a signifier of civil society worldwide. The special consultative competence of PEPA NGO is enhanced, and most productive and beneficial, when we have access to and have practical means for participation at meetings of the specialized agencies of the UN System, such as my online attendance at United Nations Climate Change Dialogues 2020 and United Nations ECOSOC Youth Forum in 2019 and 2021. I was also an Observer on behalf of PEPA, at the UN ECOSOC Development Co-operation Forum “Getting to know the ECOSOC system in the SDG era” in Jan. 2019.
Collaborative effort is the life force that delivers genuine NGO voice, expertise and competence at the UN ECOSOC level. From decades of direct consultation PEPA NGO is aware, on a deep organisational level, that enhancing our participation in the United Nations System is central to the mission of protecting Intangible Cultural Heritage and long-term attainment of Sustainability Goals for the people of the region.
PEPA works hard to have regular access to UN meetings in a climate of online technological access barriers. There are problems of lack of net neutrality in the region. Our volunteers and stakeholders do not wish to provide names or contact details when they participate in some UN meetings, conferences, special events for fear of geo-political reprisals. So documenting and facilitating participation in PEPA’s core demographics has been our prime function, in our special consultative relation with UN ECOSOC.
PEPA NGO has strife tirelessly to ensure and defend the free exchange of ideas among all parties at the United Nations, especially in relation to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and safeguarding of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
The threats of violence disrupts the natural transmission of ICH from Elders to the young. The psychological and developmental damage inflicted on the young will directly affect the future economic and social development of the region, especially in terms of Adaptation towards SDGs. The need for periodic review, protecting intergenerational ICH, is consistent with UN SDG Goal 1 (no poverty), Goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 3 ( Good Health & Wellbeing, which includes Mental Health from Trauma), Goal 4 ( Quality Education) and Goal 5 (Gender Equality). I included Goal 5 in order to highlight PEPA ‘s work with using Creativity and Dance to overcome Social Ostracism for “Victims of Rape as Weapons of Conflict” which are predominently women of all ages.
We urge the honorable members of UN ECOSOC to adapt the input of PEPA NGO in our special consultative status, as we are devising steps to improve NGO stakeholders’ access to and at the UN! Please consider the following concerns, our people at the frontline expressed:
Since late 2019, the virtual character of meetings under Covid19 pandemic resulted in 100% virtual meetings and incremental increase in frustration when languages become a major barrier to NGO collaborative work.
As of 2020, SDG2 Zero Hunger is the most urgent goal in the region. But because our stakeholders are rural farmers, MORE urgent for our PEPA community, since 2010, is the mental health of our survivors of violence, poverty and pandemic.
Instead of waiting for 2023, we submit one of the UN ECOSOC development agenda must include “ A will to Innovate, preserve and not reduce participation in mental health programs for victims of conflict.”
Economic and Social development policies and Sustainable Development Goals cannot germinate in hearts and minds, if generations of participants in civil society, are transgenerationally, mentally traumatised.
The COVID-19 pandemic should cause us to be creative rather than restrictive even as we follow health and safety guidelines. It is an opportunity to step up the use of online resources to address the Mental Health crisis in our communities.
The uncertain length under which many populations in the world are restricted physically, means that UN ECOSOC can develop useful projects to mitigate digital divide so more people in the African region can access information and participate in online programs.
In Conclusion: As Ambassador of PEPA NGO, in a longstanding working, special consultative relations with the UN and certainly at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, at UN offices in Geneva as well as the USA, we invite the Secretariat staff from the afore-mentioned offices and the Chair of the ECOSOC committee to address issues and concerns I raised that present barriers to the implementation of 1996/31.
The barriers I present are long-term and pervasive, that will strike at the heart of Global Sustainable Development Goals, if we, as civil society, fail to act upon the urgent feedback of our grassroot humanitarian workers.
Our organisation has plans for global briefing in order to amplify our shared purpose and to address the sense of insecurity felt by NGOs, Humanitarian workers and associated service workers. But we cannot do so without the clear, decisive and implementable strategies from the Council and the UN.
As we progress to the next century of our multilateral collaboration with the UN, I want to reaffirm my deep and genuine respect for the values preserved by the free world in 1945, who in spite of the barriers like slavery, colonialism, the holocaust, diseases and famines, co-created an organization that entrenched the value of “We, the people”.
At a time of great challenges and adversities, the UN stepped into a daring position to safeguard “fundamental human rights”; sanctifying the fundamental “human freedom from physical and mental oppression of the people”.
With gratitude and humility, I submit that the determination to address the barriers of World War II, set a venerable example for the UN institution and its Member States to address the problems of Covid-19 and its root causes, as well as to “Never Surrender” to the oppressors, answering the pleads for help and relief by the victims of violence, on whose behalf PEPA NGO advocate on a direct, systemic UN level. It is urgent that our Multi-stakeholders and Humanitarian collaborators continue to address Covid19 pandemic, Ebola crisis and the barriers of hunger, poverty, forced migration, genocides born of racism and xenophobia, in a series of decisive, multi-level and systemic Interventions. We are, afterall, discussing the lives of billions, not just the regional stakeholders whose voices we humbly present before the venerable council.
We are prepared to adapt technologies to a utilitarian function that benefits our stakeholders’ mental, physical well-being and safeguard ICHs for the recovery of a war-torn nation and its fragile intergenerational cultural knowledge, currently at extreme risks of total destruction. We have the will and the program in place, but we need the resources UN ECOSOC and other UN Systems can offer to scale-up our effective, humanitarian work.
The work of the UNECOSOC Council is very important and PEPA NGO would like to be directly engaged. In that work, we want to safeguard our workers, remain visible and responsible in the region. Please Consult with us on special areas of urgent economic and social development!
We are historic players and contributors working to protect generations from death by wars, poverty, global pandemics and the spiritual death, through the destruction of “Intangible” and “Tangible” Cultural Heritage. While “spirit” is not a physical death, the destruction of it will render Life meaningless, lacking in innovations and permanently hinders opportunities in Human Development.
As a network of grass-root organizations, PEPA NGO stands ready to collaborate with the UN and its Member States to secure humanity’s long term well-being, according to the Human Development visions of the 2020 Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and the time-tested human development theories that garnered the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998.
Thank you for listening and for the opportunity to advocate the meticulous work of the Humanitarian Organisation I represent as Ambassador.
PEPA L’Humanitaire NGO
Office Address: Q. Himbi 2, Avenue Walikale no 08, Goma, DR.Congo
Our office is open from Monday to Friday (08:30 to 16:30)
Saturdays: from 9:00- 14:00
For all inquiries contact us by Email at:
Tel: +243 814340990
For Report Q&A: PEPA NGO Ambassador Cecilia.W.Yu can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 PEPA is an international NGO in special consultative status with the UN ECOSOC. See CoNGO at www.pepahumandignity.org
 See United Nations Sustainable Development Goals SDG at sdgs.un.org/goals and Intangible Cultural Heritage at ich.unesco.org/en/lists
 PEPA responded to UN ECOSOC special consultation questionnaire and submitted “Procedural Fairness in Funding report” in order to cover both language use at the UN (sexist language, the language of hate, the language of peace, human rights language) in funding application and the use of languages at the UN (provision of translation and interpretation, documentation, outreach to speakers of other languages, parity among languages, protection and promotion of indigenous languages, etc.). My Ambassador report is transparently published at Cecilia Yu.com Pepa NGO Procedural Fairness Report 2017-2018
 A recent report of the United Nations World Food Program said of DRC, “The number of acutely food-insecure people stands at 21.8, making access to food a daily struggle for a significant part of the Congolese population. An estimated 3.4 million children are acutely malnourished.” In 2010, UN World Health Organization (WHO): “Improvement in mental health services doesn’t require sophisticated and expensive technologies. What is required is increasing the capacity of the primary health care system for delivery of an integrated package of care,” said Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health at WHO.
 In the UNDP Human development report of 2020, Professor Sen wrote, “ The human development index (HDI), which the Human Development Report has made into something of a flagship, has been rather successful in serving as an alternative measure of development, supplementing GNP. Based as it is on three distinct components—indicators of longevity, education and income per head—it is not exclusively focused on economic opulence (as GNP is). Within the limits of these three components, the HDI has served to broaden substantially the empirical attention that the assessment of development processes receives.”
To/From Cecilia Messages: