IMCS Pax Romana at the Annual Meeting of Ecclesial Movements held by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

On the 22nd of June 2023 IMCS Pax Romana was represented at the Annual Meeting of Ecclesial Movements held by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life by Francesco Fonte, a member of FUCI and European Coordinating Team Member. It has been a fruitful occasion for reasoning on the renovated role of ecclesial movements in the Church, in the vein of apostolicity. This has been the core theme of the conferences, with speeches delivered by Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, the prefect of the Dicastery, and theologians who are part of the movements.

The reflection of the day was based on a written version of the speech delivered by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1998 at the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements.

The addresses analyzed Ratzinger’s view about ecclesial movements, rooting its approach to the relationship between charisms, the institutional church and related to that the specific positioning of the movements in apostolic communion with the Pope. Furthermore, it was recalled Pope Francis’ invitation to avoid certain tendencies referred to Ecclesial Movements’ today, namely in the contrast of the rising auto referentiality of several realities and in the effects of “personalism” in imposing a predominant personality of view of the movement, especially that of the founder. 

Several points which were raised could be useful for the associative discernment of social action movements’ like IMCS Pax Romana. This charism of IMCS is an expression of the plurality of ways in which the laity interpret their positioning in the Church, namely by taking up social action and addressing the need of the oppressed and marginalized people as well as, as repeatedly addressed during the meeting, in the diffusion of Catholic Social Teaching in operative terms.

Link to the news: click here to read about it

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The Meeting of the MIACS in La Roche-sur-Foron

We are happy to welcome all the International Catholic Action Movements (MIACS) – JECI, MIDADE, CIJOC, CARDIJN, JOCI, MIAMSI, FIMARC, MIJARC and MMTC – here inside the Pax Romana Centennial Centre in La Roche-sur-Foron in France for a weekend of dialogue on the dynamics of actions, challenges, missions, our spirituality and evangelisation and the way forward together. In our hybrid session, we explored the relevance of our interconnectedness, our working realities on all levels, and cooperation means supporting each other and working together in a continuum through different generations. Notably, the focus of our specialized Catholic actions continues to bind us to stay in touch with our communities for impact. 

Here is an excerpt from our conclusions;

As MIACS we work on various actions within the framework of our responsibilities and commitments, with particular attention to the most marginalised and those living on the periphery, in the face of major challenges such as climate change, peace and poverty. As lay Christians, we live out these responsibilities and commitments with the spirituality of action perspectives, for there is neither a human future in an exclusively materialistic vision nor a Christian life that is not incarnated in human realities. 

Hence, we have decided to;

  • to research, analyse and make known humanising experiences, which show that living in the spirit of the Gospel has an impact on realities.
  • to make these experiences known by developing new methods of communication adapted to today’s world, in particular by using new technologies.

The work of organizing the MIACS joint activities and reflection meetings continues and will be coordinated for coming year by ICYCW and IYCS Secretariats. 

This in La Roche sur Foron on  23 April 2023 at the Pax Romana Centennial Centre

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IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana’s leadership has been evolving over the past century with capable leaders seeking to ensure that the Movement continues the mission of ‘Mobilizing students for peace and justice’. Ultimately, the following team was elected to lead the Movement to achieve the objectives of the final plan of action approved by the 2023 delegates of the World Assembly for the next four years. The election took place at the International Youth Training Centre (IYTC) in Chiang Mai, Thailand on July 8, 2023.

WILLIAM NOKREK, International President

William served as the recent Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator from 2019 to 2022. He is an indigenous person from Garo community of Kaowakuri, Sherpur of Bangladesh. 

He is a graduate in Journalism, Communication and Media Studies and has a wider grasp of current realities of youth struggles. As a Journalist, he uses his skills in documentation and visual communication to champion the concerns of young people, especially the marginalized communities like the indigenous people. He has been a member of different movements most of his life and led in different capacities. And for the better part of the last decade, he has been working in IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana specifically as a Human rights activist, towards protection of rights of indigenous peoples and Marginalised Communities in Bangladesh and Asia Pacific region; towards Student empowerment, Youth Rights and Meaningful Participation.

Emphatically quoting Pope Francis, as he also called on young people to be “agents of social change”, referencing the Papal message to mark the Pax Romana Centenary Celebration. In addition, William said “I’ve learned and felt that human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights and environmental justice have not just been my passion and work but now it’s become my fundamental commitment. I believe that power is in these young people.”

FASIKA LACHORE LABA, International Secretary-General

Fasika served as the recent Pan Africa Regional Coordinator from 2019 to 2022. He is an Ethiopian and has BSc in Information Technology, Msc in Software Engineering and Pursuing Master Degree in Development Studies at Catholic University of Eastern African.. With a profound dedication to advancing social justice and an unwavering commitment to serving others, he believes that his extensive skills and experiences will help him lead the Movement to achieve its objectives during the Administrative Year.

He has been responsible for East, West, and South Africa through correspondence, planning and managing annual projects aimed at empowering young people. And fundraising for country-specific programs as well as managing the finances and the staff of the secretariat.

As a member of the Movement for over a decade, he has engaged in policy dialogues on various platforms for campaigns, advocacy, formation. And the outcome the Coordination working together is the development of the Child Safeguarding and Welfare Policy for the organization involved in human rights advocacy and monitoring the development of strategic campaigns. Part of his mission is managing resources, developing and growing partnerships and engaging stakeholders by promoting peace, social justice, and empowering young people through an organized entrepreneurial skills and development training for youth participation and sustenance.

FR JOJO M. FUNG SJ, International Chaplain

Fr Jojo is a Jesuit Priest from Malaysia. He served in various capacities within the Asia Pacific Regional Coordination. Currently, he is also an Assistant Professor at the Loyola School of Theology in Manila, Philippines. 

Having collaborated with the 2020-2023 International Team, and working with the Chaplains and lay animators at the global, Latin American, Pan Africa and Asia Pacific and European levels, Fr Jojo is motivated to continue accompanying a few more generations of chaplains and laywomen/men animators based on this unshakable conviction: “IMCS is as strong as the animators & Chaplains are formed”. With his experiences of spearheading the Chaplains, Lay Animators and Elders Commission, he see the need for continuity as there are lots of works to be done in the next four years (2024-2027) to lay the foundation for a strong IMCS-MIEC in the next 10 years if the movement is to be sustained in the next 100 years till 2121, especially coordinating with regional chaplains onwards. He stated clearly his mission to accompany the new team in building up and sustaining the training programs for the formation of committed leadership of our tertiary students throughout the world at the training and formation centres being established by IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana (namely IYTC, PRCC and the future centres). As the Team’s Accompanier, he seeks to support to strengthen and coordinate closer parternship with civil society organizations, UN agencies, officials in the Dicasteries in Vatican, FABC and local Bishop Conferences to continue promoting IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana’s mission.

They will be working with outgoing International Team and the current International Coordinating Team members;

Ravi Tissera Warnakulasooriya – International President (Outgoing)

Victor Kweku Ayertey, International Secretary-General (Outgoing)

In a nutshell, the significance of the paths we thread towards addressing the needs of the coming years and our impact on the next generations guides us as a Student, Church and an Educational Movement as well as an International Organization.

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Final Declaration on “Global Climate Emergency: Capacity building of tertiary students to be advocates for environmental, social, cultural, political and economic justice”

World Assembly, July 3-9, 2023

1. Introduction:

This Climate Emergency Declaration of July 2023 by the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana is first of all, a global pragmatic step by the Movement in support of Pope Francis’s encyclical of Laudato Si’. Secondly, it is an action response to the pronouncement made on 12 December 2020 by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres asking governments to declare a climate emergency in their countries until neutrality is attained. Finally, this is a deliberately informed step taken by an international body of approximately 5 million young catholic tertiary students – opinion leaders in their countries, continents, and eventually internationally.

Pope Francis in his address to the United Nations in 2015 said that young people remind us that the earth is not a possession to be squandered, but an inheritance to be handed down. IMCS Pax Romana agrees with Pope Francis in this statement and Laudato Si’ that as young people, we are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis, both social and environmental. To this effect, each and every one of us on mother earth has an obligation to make deliberate choices to care for the common home and in important cases such as this one, come together as an international body to make declarations that allow young people to target specific environmental stewardship actions.

This Declaration has been ascended to by the delegates of IMCS Pax Romana World Assembly who gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 03 – 09 July 2023 on Global Climate Emergency at the newly constructed International Youth Training Centre. The World Assembly brought 103 participants (76 in-person and 27 online) from 33 different countries in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America. Representing about 53.5% males and 46.5% females; this comprised Catholic Students Leaders, Observers, Facilitators, Interpreters as well as Chaplains & the Religious.

2. Key Issues:

The study sessions included workshops, presentations and panel discussions, during which the participants were conveyed important information regarding the Global Climate Emergency, advocacy and partnership building for climate action, and mechanisms of other organizations such as the UN.

During the study sessions by various resource persons from different backgrounds, fields, organisations and countries, many issues relevant to the climate emergency were pointed out and highlighted. Some of the issues identified are as follows:

  1. Rising global temperature: The Earth’s average temperature has been going up because of the release of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. This results in different outcomes like heat waves, droughts, lost crops, drinking water shortage, increasing the risk of wildfires and the melting of ice caps.
  2. Extreme weather events: As the Earth’s temperatures increase, glaciers and ice sheets melt, resulting in the rise of sea levels. This poses a danger to coastal communities, low-lying islands, and ecosystems that are vulnerable. It can also lead to an increase in coastal erosion, intrusion of saltwater, and occurrences of flooding. The rising of ocean levels also causes conflicts among communities due to the problems associated with migration and land ownership. 
  3. Loss of biodiversity: Climate change disrupts ecosystems and puts biodiversity at risk. Many species are unable to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, resulting in habitat loss, species extinction, and imbalances in ecosystems.
  4. Food Sovereignty: Food and water security are also affected by climate change. It impacts agricultural productivity, leading to crop failures, reduced yields, and higher food prices. Additionally, water availability is affected, with some regions experiencing droughts and others facing increased rainfall and flooding, both of which can disrupt water supplies.
  5. Health problems: Furthermore, climate change contributes to the spread of diseases, such as vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever. Changing temperatures and rainfall patterns create more favourable conditions for disease vectors. Heatwaves and air pollution also pose risks to human health.

What one may consider as the smallest or most insignificant are the same groups of people that get the worst impact of issues relating to climate change, especially as they are the ones who interact closely with nature. 

During many instances throughout the study sessions, the facilitators stressed the importance of local communities on climate change action. Through generations of close interactions with the environment, indigenous peoples safeguard an estimated 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. Just as the smallest of communities are the most affected by the issues that were discussed, together, the global community has an opportunity to reorient the way it interacts with nature and build resilience for all through collaborating with and learning from indigenous peoples, the stewards of nature. 

1. Relocation and loss of land: Innate communities and those living in destitution frequently depend on normal assets for their jobs. Climate change has led to the loss of land and assets due to rising ocean levels, expanded flooding, and desertification, constraining these communities to migrate.

2. Food and water insecurity: Climate change disturbs rural homes and diminishes crop yields, driving to nourishment deficiencies and expanded nutrition-related healthcare costs. Indigenous communities and those underneath the poverty line are especially defenceless to these impacts, as they regularly depend on subsistence cultivating and have restricted access to alternative food sources.

3. Health dangers: Climate change increments the spread of illnesses, such as water borne illnesses and vector-borne illnesses, which can excessively influence indigenous peoples and those living in poverty. Constrained access to healthcare and insufficient framework exacerbates this issue.

4. Cultural loss: Indigenous peoples have deep connections to their ancestral land, traditional knowledge and practices, which are often threatened by climate change. Loss of land, natural resources, and traditional knowledge can lead to the erosion of cultural identity and practices.

5. Limited resources for adaptation: Indigenous peoples and those living in poverty regularly have constrained monetary assets and access to technology, making it troublesome for them to adjust to the impacts of climate change. This compounds their defencelessness to climate-related dangers and challenges.

The need for immediate action to address climate change issues and mitigate their effects is crucial, as presented by countless statistics. Even so, there are many people who still deny its effects or potential for destruction. Climate change is already causing significant damage to ecosystems, communities, and economies around the world. Without prompt action, the impacts will only worsen, leading to more severe consequences such as those mentioned above. Taking action now can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote sustainable practices, and protect the planet for future generations.

3. Commitments and Actions:

In strengthening awareness and mobilising individuals and communities to take action on climate change, advocating and educating will be of major importance. Advocate is a means of promoting policies and practices to tackle climate change, whilst education focuses on providing people with knowledge and resources so that they can make informed decisions. The fundamental role in driving change and fostering a collective effort to combat climate change is played by both advocacy and education.

It is crucial that we come together with other organisations and interested parties to address this crisis in an effective way. We can create a collective impact on the ground that will result in real change and sustainable future through pooling of resources, knowledge and expertise.

As stated already, climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable communities, including those living in poverty and indigenous populations. Collaboration with these communities and relevant stakeholders is essential to ensure their voices are heard and their unique needs are addressed. By working together, organisations can develop inclusive and equitable strategies that build resilience and empower these communities to adapt to climate change. This collaboration can also help preserve indigenous traditional knowledge and practices that contribute to sustainable resource management.

The collective voice of organizations and stakeholders grows stronger and more influential when they work together. They can push for policy changes, raise public awareness, and garner public support for climate action by working together. The collaborative advocacy between IMCS Pax Romana and other stakeholders may exert pressure on policymakers and governments to prioritize mitigation of climate change and to put effective measures into action. Together, we can form a powerful movement that drives systemic change by speaking with one voice.

4. Call to Action:

The group of youth can be called to action regarding the global climate emergency by organising events or protests, creating educational campaigns, using social media to spread awareness, and collaborating with youth-led organisations and movements focused on climate activism. It is important to provide information about the urgency of the issue, the potential impacts on their future, and the power of collective action in creating change. Encouraging them to engage in sustainable practices in their daily lives and empowering them to advocate for policy changes can also be effective ways to mobilise youth.

Youth participation in climate change action is strengthened through multi-stakeholder settings. Reduction of greenhouse gases, adoption of renewable energy, providing technological and financial support to each other in implementation, scientific innovation, research and collaboration, policy advocacy and education and awareness building can be easily done when we partner with like-minded organisations and groups. This will enhance the quality of outcomes as well as have a significant impact on addressing climate change. The recognition gained by networking, partnering and combining with recognised institutes and organisations will lead to the increased visibility and positive public perception. It also increases the reach and influence that IMCS Pax Romana has, as these alliances open up pathways for new connections and audiences. 

Governments play a pivotal role in deciding the progress of the Global Climate Emergency. The importance of mobilising all governmental levels in climate action has long been acknowledged. However, many nations throughout the world have failed to involve their local branches in the battle against climate change despite the fact that there are clear recommendations for creating such action, often put forward by global bodies.

Local governments are becoming more significant in global climate policy. At the local level, climate action follows established paths of sustainable development activity. There is a lot of opportunity for learning from past sustainability experiences, according to the history of climate action in cities. The reasons for responding to climate change, the many actions used, and the municipal structures and networks that represent cities in the global domains are some components of climate change governance that are crucial at the local level.

As tertiary Catholic students with a network of intellectuals and professionals in communication, it is our duty to use these resources to motivate the governing bodies in our respective countries to focus on and prioritize the Global Climate Emergency in their agendas, both nationally as well as locally. It is also important to be persistent and consistent in the efforts that we as an organization make. By actively engaging with the government and by raising awareness, we can contribute to the collective effort in addressing the global challenge.

5. Conclusion:

IMCS Pax Romana is dedicated to advancing environmental knowledge through research and development, giving its members the chance to speak up for the marginalised, promoting environmental protection, and working with other groups and stakeholders. To encourage a united effort to address climate change and advance change, advocacy and education are crucial. To meet vulnerable communities’ unique needs and conserve indigenous knowledge and practices that support sustainable resource management, collaboration with relevant stakeholders is crucial.

Young Catholic tertiary students made the IMCS Pax Romana Climate Emergency Declaration with the purpose of addressing the pressing social and environmental challenges. The proclamation highlights the responsibilities and initiatives IMCS Pax Romana will take to assist environmental activism and preservation. The call to action encourages Catholic youth organisations and communities worldwide to take action in response to the Global Climate Emergency and places an emphasis on collaboration with vulnerable communities and pertinent stakeholders.

Heartfelt thanks to the IMCS Pax Romana for their unwavering commitment to fostering dialogue and collaboration among Catholic youth. This assembly has provided a platform for us to come together, share our experiences, and discuss the pressing issues that our world faces today, in light of the Global Climate Emergency. IMCS Pax Romana has not only created a space for all of us to connect, but it has also empowered us to take action. Through various workshops, discussions, and presentations, we have gained valuable knowledge and insights into the current situation of the earth’s climate. We have learned about the devastating effects of climate change and the urgent need for collective action.

Sincere gratitude to the organisers for curating a diverse range of speakers and experts who have enlightened us with their wisdom and expertise. Their passion and dedication have inspired us to become agents of change in our communities and beyond. I would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the IMCS Pax Romana team in ensuring the smooth execution of this Assembly. From the planning to the seamless, every detail has been taken care of with utmost precision. Your hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed, and we are truly grateful for your commitment to making this event a resounding success.

Lastly, gratitude to all the participants who have travelled from far and wide to be a part of this assembly. Your presence and active engagement have made this gathering truly special. Together, we have formed lifelong connections and friendships that will continue to inspire and support us in our future endeavors. As we leave this Assembly, let us carry the knowledge, inspiration, and commitment to address the global climate emergency and create a better world for future generations. May we continue working together towards a sustainable and just future.

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IMCS Pax Romana representation in Geneva (on Labour), Bangkok (Business and Huam Rights) and Bonn (Climate Change)

While we have been preparing for the World Assembly regarding the study session on Climate Change and how young people (students) are contributing in addressing this global climate emergency, IMCS Pax Romana representatives have also been following, participating and presenting our contributions at the following conferences concurrently happening this week. 

In Geneva, the Secretary-General of IMCS Pax Romana, Victor Ayertey is participating in the 111th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) 2023 under the theme “Advancing social justice, promoting decent work”. We have been following the discussions of the Committee on Just Transition and other Committees. Though the final resolutions and recommendations are yet to be published, we hope that our recommendations in the joint statement with the International NGOs focusing on the future of social dialogue shall also be considered. Discussing labour issues and social justice in relation to the climate change and how it is important to consider these elements to advance the actions for climate change. The Future of Social Dialogue from the Perspectives of International Non- Governmental Organisations (INGOs) intends to contribute to the transformation of the social dialogue in order to ensure that those who are marginalised, vulnerable and unrecognised in the informal economy can participate meaningfully and make full use of social dialogue as a public good. It is a first response to the Director General’s Global Coalition for Social Justice, which will be launched on the occasion of the 111th Session of the International Labour Conference. 

IMCS Pax Romana participated in workshops focusing on specific thematic areas such as poverty, migration, socio- economic crisis aiming to prepare a roadmap for our future engagement on social justice and the promotion of work as care. Msgr. Anthony Ekpo, Under Secretary, Dicastery for Promoting Human Integral Development and Msgr. John Putzer, Counsellor at the Holy See Mission to the UN in Geneva, were part of the workshops moderated by Pierre Martinot-Lagarde, Special advisor on religious affairs, International Labour Organization – ILO under the theme “Social justice in the world of work and beyond: from common values to common engagement and action”. As organized by International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), “The Future of Work – Labour after Laudato Si’” Project cooperated with Catholic-Inspired Organisations (CIOs), together with other faith actors and COMECE, Aggiornamenti Sociali, CERAS, WCC, ATD Quart-Monde, CIOs, with the participation of WIEGO and international networks of workers in the informal economy.

In Bangkok, Bertha Samponu, the Asia Pacific coordinator of IMCS Pax Romana together with our partner from North South Initiative participated in the United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific Under the theme “From Commitment to Action”. The 5th UN Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum aims to build on ongoing dialogue on the issues, challenges, and sectors the business and human rights community needs to act upon and what needs to be done to ensure commitments are put into action. In reference to the concept note, the Forum brought diverse interlocutors to discuss, debate, and share insights on issues ranging from the regulation of global supply chains and the implications of corporate sustainability due diligence to the recently recognized right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, for example. There were also highlights on issues, challenges, and sectors that the BHR community needs to act upon, including the intersection of climate-induced labour migration, biodiversity and BHR, the responsibility of development financiers, and the role of micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises, among others. Bertha also joined the sessions about Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in accelerating the climate action agenda as facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

And then in Bonn, our representative from the JECI-MIEC Coordination, Fabian Abel from Germany has been following the 58 session of the Bonn Climate Change Conference Subsidiary Body Meetings (SBs) in relation to Climate Change. Through the Bonn Climate Change Conference, we hope that there would be an increase in the transparency and accountability of climate action for minimizing the impacts that climate change is having on the agriculture and food security sectors in most affected countries. And there will be decisions towards operationalising the new loss and damage fund and funding arrangements at COP28. There was also a debate about tokenism, how it continues to impact youth participation and listening to youth voices on matters of interest such as the Climate Change. At the Youth Action meeting, one of the concerns which affects youth participation in these conferences is about Visa Accessibility. Referencing the Open Letter, it has always been the case that “African and South and Southeast Asian delegates especially face long, intransparent visa procedures that cause rising costs and limitations in preparations, while often visas are not approved in time preventing the attendance altogether”.

In sum, we understand that the factors of Labour, Business and Human Rights all have an impact of the effects of Climate Change and clearly, they are all interconnected. Hence, going forward, we are building our capacity as young people and extending our networks for collaboration in addressing the rising issues in all these sectors from the youth perspective. 

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The Future of Social Dialogue

Perspectives of International Non- Governmental Organisations


Published on the occasion of the 111th Session of the International Labour Organisation, 5.- 16 June 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland.


This paper intends to contribute to the transformation of the social dialogue in order to ensure that those who are marginalised, vulnerable and unrecognised in the informal economy can participate meaningfully and make full use of social dialogue as a public good. It is a first response to the Director General’s Global Coalition for Social Justice, which will be launched on the occasion of the 111th Session of the International Labour Conference. The paper intends also to commemorate 30 years of engagement of Kolping International at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2023 exemplifying the continuous support of INGOs, particularly Catholic Inspired Organisations, for the ILO’s strive for social justice through decent work.


The world of labour faces grave challenges and is changing rapidly. On the one hand, digitalisation forces workers to permanently increase the skills and demands flexibility, supported by the need for green and sustainable economy. On the other hand, the still existing paradigm of growth fosters global market competition, which causes forms of modern slavery and exploitation by marking labour as cost factor. Both developments, however, jeopardize the fundamental labour rights and contradict the recognition that only social justice leads to peace in the world. Since Labour is not a commodity as confirmed by the ILO Centenary Declaration of 2019, decent work is a precondition for social justice. The Centenary Declaration also reconfirms the contribution of social dialogue to the overall cohesion of society.(2)

Furthermore, social dialogue is one of the four pillars of the ILO-Decent Work Concept(3). Besides the implementation of the fundamental rights at work, an effective and encompassing social protection scheme and favourable employment policies, social dialogue is another precondition for power equilibrium between employers and workers. Though always highlighted as the stronghold against crisis while praising countries with traditionally strong social partners as economically and socially resilient, social dialogue is frequently jeopardized and undermined in sectors, which are labour intensive (service sector, construction, care work) and countries, which are weak in participatory structures. Particularly in countries where the informal economy prevails, social dialogue lacks efficiency because of low percentage of organised workers whereby the majority of the work force cannot access negotiation tables. Since the 70’s of last century, the ILO looks into the informal economy as a labour reality for the majority of the global work force. With the Home Work Convention C177 (1996)(4) the social partners negotiated a labour sector in which mostly informally working women earn their living. At that time, only few civil society movements and labour oriented NGOs were invited to the negotiation parties and engaged in ratification campaigns. Lately, the adoption of the C189 Decent work for Domestic workers (2011)5 proofed that social partners need the expertise of stakeholders when it comes to implementing the precious and powerful slogan ‘Nothing about us without us’. INGOs with their local membership- based constituencies and affiliates are often closer to the informal workers than the unions. The reasons for this fact are multiple and rooted in the origin of the groups being self- aid groups, church and faith based organisations sui generis or backed by those. Hence, from the perspective of INGOs they are usually the only ones siding with the informal workers. They often provide access to their members for unions and promote the right to organise. Faith based INGOs expressed this understanding of their role of INGOs in social dialogue in a statement to the social partners and the new Director General of the ILO after the 110th session of the ILC in 2022.6
Nowadays, the motto ‘Nothing about us without us’ proves to be even more significant in the broader context of protecting civic space and participation. Apparently, over the last two decades the fight against terrorism, the financial, climate, health crises and imperialistic attacks provide many causes for many countries to minimise the access of civil society to meaningful participation in shaping the future of their societies. Workers being citizens and consumers as well as caretakers of resources and maintainers of their societies are part of civil society and also part of the economic world. Therefore, social dialogue is a guarantor for social peace and also a fundamental element of civil society participation.

The ILO and INGOs

Social dialogue has been under pressure for many years. Therefore, it was and is a long-term concern for INGOs. In all discussion around the agenda of the ILCs, INGOs highlight the need for social dialogue, provide inputs for rethinking social dialogue facing the challenges for decent work and social justice. INGOs have given continuous support to social partners, while safeguarding the social dialogue. While acknowledging the most efficient and significant structure of tripartism in the ILO, the INGOs at the ILO consider themselves as organisations rooted in the grassroot movements of their members and national constituencies. They take up the immediate concerns of their members regarding matters of ecological, economic and social dimension. Thereby, they support the criteria for INGOs registered at the ILO being member based and globally working around all dimension of labour and work. Over the years, many INGOs have built relations to unions on national and international levels, so that representatives are integrated in the national delegations of unions, being advisors and negotiators for specific issues as was experienced with the Homeworkers (C177), the Domestic Workers (C189) and on the concern of sexual harassment (C190)7.

In the past INGOs have also proven to be important supporters for the ratification processes, especially on Conventions concerning workers in the informal economy since those are often members of INGOs and International Labour Movements. When it comes to further advocacy work, INGOs rooted in the informal economy, contribute to discovery and awareness rising on labour law violations and provide access for unions to vulnerable groups while ensuring their protection against arbitrariness. Their international structure provides access to far-reaching platforms for dialogue. Critical aspects, like the often very specific approach of INGOs, which does not consider the broader context of the world of work, needs attention. By claiming their own right to speak and to participate in negotiation, the negotiation power itself, if not concretized with the social partners is jeopardized. Furthermore, INGOs themselves sometimes do not conform to the values of labour laws and policies due to financial concerns and unawareness of their responsibility as employers. The legal settings in the ILO member countries where INGOs work sometimes foster the lack of credibility or – on another level – hinder the participation of INGOs in social dialogue altogether. Nevertheless, there is benefit in a trusting and mindful cooperation with social partners. Work around the ILO brings INGOs and social partners together and gives opportunity to do advocacy work. This advocacy work originates from the grassroot level. Its mandate to give a voice to the poor and the vulnerable on international level enables participation in ecological, economic and social aspects of the future of work. Using the possibilities the ILO provides gives INGOs the chance of being heard by social partners and governments. Making use of this chance on international level encourages INGOs to improve their relations to social partners also on the national level. It also has the potential to encourage social partners to take their place in the sharing of social difficulties in order to define standards of decent work. Common and individual statements, reports, results of discussions and workshops are useful to inform, train and empower members and other partners. They are as well a capacity training for negotiation skills, campaigning and legal issues.
This not only gives motivation to engage on international negotiation tables to the leaders of INGOs but first and foremost to the broad member base struggling with the improvement of the world of work on the grassroot level.

Recommendations for an efficient and meaningful social dialogue

The Global Commission on the Future of Work, which concluded its work before the centenary anniversary of the ILO in 20198, emphasized social dialogue to be a public good. In the rapidly changing world of work with various forms of precarious work in the digital and service oriented sectors, this public good has to be safeguarded and the awareness of it revived, social dialogue remodeled.
A unique and outstanding contribution to the 100 years anniversary of the ILO and the future of social dialogue was the ‘Shaping the Future of Work’ Document of Churches and Catholic INGOs in the European Union, published on 27th November 2018.9

The following recommendations do not only reflect the deliberations of this initiative but also the results of many years of debate around this topic.


What the ILO should do:

On national level

  • Introduce a contact point on national level at ILO office
  • Initiate round tables before ILC on the upcoming agenda
  • Promote dialogue between different actors in all ILO member countries

At the International Labour Conference and ILO initiatives

  • Increase speaking time for INGO I n the committees
  • Ensure presence and effective participation of INGOs, esp. in the Global Coalition for Social Justice
  • Limit the overall size of delegations in presence and facilitate virtual participation

What Social partners could do

  • Initiate national dialogues on the agenda of upcoming ILC
  • Install contact points for easy access and exchange on reports
  • Consider opening the delegations to NGO participation as advisors on a regular base

What INGOs could do

  • Mobilise their national members to have regular relations with the Union Federation
    and Employers’ Federation
  • Mobilise their members to join their international delegations to ILC
  • Engage in regular exchange with the Labour relevant departments of governments
  • Build awareness on work of the ILO as part of global governance
  • Support the national affiliates and members to build contacts and networks with the
    social partners and with each other.

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Human Rights Council 52 Annual Panel Discussion

The Secretary-General of IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana, Victor Ayertey participated in the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council Annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming as a sign of support for the representative, Christine Salloum, of the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO). She represents ICMYO within the High-level Steering Committee of the United Nations Youth Strategy 2030. The theme panel was “A reflection on five years of the United Nations Youth Strategy (Youth 2030): mapping a blueprint for the next steps”. And during the panel session, the ICMYO representative shared some highlights about the challenges and the best ways to ensure accountability for meaningful participation, and partnership, from the youth perspective when it comes to implementing the UN Youth Strategy. 

Christine stated that “For young people, to be accountable and take responsibility towards society means that one must exercise the right to be part of the decision-making process, to work in partnership with decision-makers and boards and be fully engaged. And acknowledging the importance of youth needs assessment from our knowledge, experiences, and perspective of youth helps in addressing the issues of the highest priority. Most importantly, the recognition of the value of investing in and empowering youth is unavoidable. Youth accountability is part of community engagement and the overall accountability that we need to achieve the Youth 2030 strategy. It is a way of working that recognizes and values community members as equal partners and the statement of working with and for youth. It makes sure their opinions are heard and used to design and guide the results and goals. Equal and equitable access to funding by youth organizations to build youth capacities and promote youth rights to ensure meaningful participation across all UN systems. More youth should have the opportunity to participate in the HRC processes and mechanisms.

In addition, some speakers also shared their concerns to reiterate that today’s young people are facing multiple challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a need to strengthen the partnership with young persons to achieve positive transformative change. Notwithstanding these challenges, young people were important agents of change, with enormous capacity to change the world for the better, and yet, globally, they faced enormous challenges to achieving their human rights. The United Nations had an obligation to provide a safe future, and in order to make progress in these areas, the United Nations Youth Strategy was a positive step to provide means to allow young people to participate in decision-making for their future”.

In sum, Christine advocated that there should be the presence of young people in future sessions of the Council. And IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana continues to advocate for young people’s participation, collaboration and involvement in the decision-making process, implementation and evaluation of projects spearheaded by United Nation Agencies. 

Note: IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana is a member of the network of youth-led organizations under the umbrella of the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO).

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On the Environment Agenda

The Secretary-General, Victor Ayertey, representing Pax Romana

On the environment agenda, IMCS Pax Romana joined the Geneva Environment Network (GEN) for “Human Rights and the Environment: HRC52 Information Sharing Session” at the International Environment House. The Secretary-General, Victor Ayertey, represented the Movement during the session as we continue to champion the healthy environment agenda. As such, we hoped that #HRC52 will take pragmatic decisions to address the issues of climate change, from the #humanrights perspective, towards a healthy environment for all, and our concerns of young people.

HRC52 Information Sharing Session

The broader push is to highlight interlinkages between human rights and environment issues, particularly as seen in “pure consensus” decision to include the Right to Healthy Environment at climate change #COP27 and biodiversity #COP15. Information from UNEP indicated that they have been working more on human rights issues, underscoring their engagement at #HRC52, including the launch of handbook on engagement with human rights mechanisms and Stocktaking of recommendations of treaty bodies, Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) and Human Rights Council on environmental issues.

It includes reviewing the reports of actions taken by member countries and many other organizations such as the NGOs, Inter-governmental and International Organizations, and assessing the future possibilities based on the resolutions for the environment from the human rights perspective.

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Global Study Session & World Assembly

According to the statutes of IMCS/MIEC Pax Romana, its World Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the Movement, is scheduled to take place this year.

  • Theme: “Global Climate Emergency – Capacity building of tertiary students to be advocates for environmental, social, cultural, political and economic justice”
  • Venue: International Youth Training Centre (IYTC), Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Date: 3rd to 9th of July 2023

Considering the threat of climate change to all life and mother earth, IMCS Pax Romana through the theme as mentioned above shall conduct global study session in response to the emergency. Within the precincts of the Global Study Session, IMCS Pax Romana is expecting to achieve the following objectives through its collaborations;

  • Awareness building on climate change and global climate emergency
  • Equipping participants with necessary analytical tools for understanding issues
  • Skill building to respond to climate change-related issues
  • Creating a global plan of action of 4 years
  • Getting the members of IMCS network and partner networks engaging in local, national and international climate change advocacy and actions.

The study session shall be followed by the statutory session which provides the necessary guidelines to Global Catholic Tertiary students to make the organizational decisions. This session is considered an Assembly and the following are some of the objectives to be achieved through the statutory session.

  • Election of International President, Secretary General and Ecclesiastical Assistant.
  • Evaluating IMCS Pax Romana as a Movement and making necessary decisions for addressing the issues and the needs of the Movement at National, Regional and International levels for the coming 4-years.
  • Reviewing IMCS General Statutes and making necessary amendments.
  • Designing and approving IMCS Pax Romana Plan of Action 2024 – 2027

As a Movement, we understand that “Climate change is an existential threat to all life and the earth”, and we cannot stress this enough. Hence, to reinforce our climate actions, and set in motion strategies we’re gathering students and partners in Chiang Mai, Thailand in July.

For further information about sponsorship, participation or collaboration, kindly contact IMCS-MIEC Pax Romana via or 

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Representation at the 13th Pan African Assembly

The 13th Pan African Assembly was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 10th to 16th December 2022, under the theme of “Celebrating the journey of IMCS in youth transformation and innovation across Africa within the context and impact of Covid-19 Pandemic”. Assembly was participated by delegates from more than 30 countries of the African region as well as former regional coordinators, former national leaders, international chaplain Fr. Jojo Fung SJ, Asia Pacific coordinator William Nokrek and International President Ravi Tissera.

The International President and Asia Pacific coordinator contributed to the session as speakers of a panel discussion under the theme of “Youth Leadership in Africa: Youth and SDGS” and they brought the perspectives from their respective offices to the discussion. International chaplain shared his expertise through a session under the topic of “Environment, Common Home and Mother Earth: Leveraging on social platforms for a good cause and impact”. Following the statutes of IMCS Pan Africa, an election was held to elect new coordinators for the region. 

Pardington Nhundu from NMCS Zimbabwe was elected as the anglophone coordinator and Dr Stanislas Kpatcha N’djao was elected as the francophone coordinator for the mandate of 2023 – 2026.

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