The Xavier Network coordination meeting, which occurs every six months, was held this past week in Madrid from September 27-29. With more than thirty participants in attendance, the meeting gathered thirteen Jesuit mission and development organizations from around Europe, Australia and Canada.
All of the members of the Network presented and discussed coordination of the areas in which the Network collaborates, including projects, advocacy and emergencies, among others. This year there has been a special emphasis placed on the importance of advocacy.
The sessions aimed to create a space for exchange and reflection on ways of promoting worldwide coordination processes for emergency responses within the Society of Jesus through the Xavier Network framework: advocacy strategies, support strategies for the action of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN), and a set of lessons learned for advancing towards an improved international coordination in humanitarian emergencies.
Through individual and group work, the session’s outcome was to reach conclusions and produce a set of recommendations to help the network increase and reinforce the coordination of the Network when responding to humanitarian crisis in order to work more efficiently and with greater impact.
The closing session aimed to answer how to improve global emergency response coordination within the Society of Jesus ecosystem and how to best articulate an emergency response that can improve the impact of the actions carried out by the Network.
To this end, Gonzalo Sánchez Terán gave a framework speech on the current humanitarian crises and the main actors mapping and highlighted the main advances in the framework of action of the humanitarian response in recent years. “Since the causes are global, there is more urgence than ever to work as network, not for us, but for the people in need. They are our duty,” said Sánchez Terán in his speech during the session.
Afterwards, the session focused on sharing practical recommendations from the field with the experiences of Nepal from Roy Sebastian, the Director of the Nepal Jesuit Social Institute, South Sudan from Pau Vidal, current South Sudan Jesuit Refugee Service Director, Haiti from Marcos Recolons, Former Fe y Alegría Haiti Director and Congo from Rigobert Minani, from the JESAM Social Apostolate.
The Xavier Network has maintained relationships at the Province and Conference levels in both Nepal and the Philippines during the different phases of the response, including synergies with other Conferences. In Haiti, the Network even had important relationships with other humanitarian organizations.
The main highlights of the sessions were the need for closer coordination within and outside the actors of the Society of Jesus and among the humanitarian and donor agencies in emergency responses. The need for partial funding delivery would also be very helpful after the emergency occurs.
Pau Vidal, current South Sudan Jesuit Refugee Service Director, pointed out the recommendations of action towards leveling the human resources in drafting a proposal but at the same time implementing the project when facing needs and topics like reconciliation and self-reliance in emergency response, not only providing livelihood capacities but also market inclusion of beneficiaries. Furthermore, the different levels in which JRS operates (country, regional and international) require an improved coordination among the SJ Provinces to articulate a strengthened collaboration among the services and the Apostolic plans of the Society.