International Advocacy of Fracarita International at the United Nations

From Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Fracarita International subscribes fully to the specific goal for health: no health without mental health!

Over the last few years, Fracarita International has been key in advocating on mental health at an international policy level – in particular at the United Nations. Our aim is to increase awareness and knowledge among policy makers of the specific challenges persons with mental health disorders face every day, leading to the introduction and implementation of tailored policies and legislation. Fracarita International is in ‘Special Relations’ with the United Nations (UN) and is starting up relations with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNESCO. Due to this unique advocacy position, Fracarita International is able to influence key decision-makers directly and elevate mental health on the global health agenda.

In July 2015, Fracarita International participated at the High-Level Political Forum ‘From Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the United Nations (New York City). The Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) have come to an end and the follow-up is done in the so-called 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. On 25th September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the new development agenda ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development’.

The main focus of Fracarita International was on how health would be translated into the SDGs. The 17 goals and 169 targets, including one specific goal for health with 13 targets, of the new development agenda integrate the three dimensions of sustainable evelopment around people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. In the SDGs, a health goal is described as ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.’ The specific target 3.4 states : “By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.” In follow-up of the SDGs implementation inside the services of the Brothers of Charity, Fracarita International decided to organise a workshop in Rome in February 2016, on the topic of SDGs and the involvement of the International Advocacy of Fracarita International in this 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

In 2015, the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity celebrated their ‘200 years of breaking the chains’. In the prison of Ghent (Belgium) in 1815, mentally ill were chained, deprived of any dignified care, forgotten by society, and no longer regarded as human beings. 

The Brothers of Charity liberated them, took care of them and brought them back to society. 200 years later, the Brothers of Charity continue to break literally the chains but also the stigma surrounding mental health. The International Advocacy of Fracarita International promotes inside but also in collaboration with international bodies like the UN, the values and the mission of the Brothers of Charity to break the chains of stigma in mental health all over the world. The Dr. Guislain ‘Breaking the Chains of Stigma’
Award is another initiative of the Brothers of Charity to bring mental health on the forefront of the international political agenda.

Bro. Jimi A. Huayta Rivera (left), continental coordinator of Fracarita Latin America; and Mr Prakash Goossens (right), International Representative of Fracarita International, participated at the High-Level Political Forum ‘From Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in July 2015.

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