Mercy Global Concern

Former MGA Intern, Avery Kelly, Presents compelling Speech at the UN on International Youth Day

Reports: October 07, 2016

On International Youth Day, Friday, August 12th, 2016, A very Kelly, a former intern of Mercy Global Action at the UN, was privileged to speak in the ECOSOC Chamber on this years’ theme  “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”.  

The event urged young people to promote, advocate, and work towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Avery’s speech brought together the many learnings and passions she has built on and developed whilst working with Mercy International Association’s Mercy Global Action at the United Nations over the past two years.

Among her commitments and hard work with the Sisters of Mercy through Global Action, Avery had been an active member with the Mining Working Group Coalition and worked extensively on the promotion of the human right to water and against extractive measures for retrieving resources globally. Throughout her time working with the coalition on the extraction of resources throughout the world, Avery was influenced by the enormity of the issue and strived to connect the dots and see how her own experiences affect the marginalized communities.

With her knowledge on the subject, the International Youth Day Panel asked if Avery would speak on extraction. Although a general term, the subject spans to a variety of countries and a variety of issues. She expressed the ever growing failure of recognition of the limitation of the earth’s resources and how individuals, many times, unknowingly contribute to the problem. She discussed the impacts of extraction and its birth through colonialism in which these roots are both depleting resources and negatively impacting marginalized societies. Taking it even further, she argued that companies driven through commercialism are perpetuating the problem—especially with the privatization of water. As mentioned previously, Avery has worked extensively on the right to water and sadly, with extraction there are “overarching and severe impacts…on water”. It must be noted that there are lasting repercussions when companies take control on water supplies. Among many implications, individuals are forced out of their communities due to the lack of resources in the area and the effects are negatively impacting children, such as impeding their access to education or even death. Even defenders against extraction and water injustice have been killed during this process, but this trampling on human rights must not continue.

Avery advocates that youth must continue to build up their courage to speak out about these issues and challenge the root causes in order to eradicate issues with extraction and water injustice as “these impacts are not inevitable and the current model for extraction is not the only way to do things”. The NGO Mining Working Group has developed an environmental right-based litmus test to assess the complex impacts of extractivism and to empower those that are disproportionally impacted to work against these institutions that are perpetuating the issue. This commitment to action as well as holding governments and their officials accountable, can help individuals advocate a more economically and environmentally sustainable world. Individuals, including the youth around the world, have a voice and have the opportunity to work to prevent these issues from occurring. Avery encourages the youth to rise up and look for these alternatives, “challenge the root causes that perpetuate them in order to bring about new realities for the next generation”.

Avery has now begun her studies at Georgetown University Law and we wish her the best in her future endeavors and work toward promoting justice, advocacy, and mercy.

View Avery Kelly’s speech here. Avery’s speech begins at 48:40

Prepared by Colleen Cloonan, MGA at the UN Intern 

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