Sustainable Development

Civil Society Statement at the UN Forum on Sustainable Development The 2017 UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 10-19 July 2017 included almost 2,500 representatives from civil society around the world, an increase of 1,000 from 2016. This is a clear sign of the engagement and commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals on the part of civil society. One organisation, Action for Sustainable Development, includes over 1,700 members in over 150 countries who share a clear enthusiasm and determination to make a strong contribution to this agenda and to share our expertise with decision-makers. “However we are concerned that the spaces for dialogue remain too limited”. The Civil Society statement covers 5 main areas:
  1. Responding to the 2017 theme: “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”
  2. The central role of peaceful, just and inclusive societies
  3. National level implementation of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs)
  4. Role of the United Nations
And, most important from our perspective: 5. Role and capacities of civil society “Our country reports demonstrate that civil society is mobilising. There are a number of active national coalitions of civil society around the world, such as in Kenya, Brazil, India, Nepal, including in so-called ‘developed’ countries such as Italy, Sweden and Japan, which have been very active in working together to ensure all voices are heard at the national level and to enable a broad inclusive process of dialogue. “However, the opportunities for engagement for CSOs are still limited, even though Agenda 2030 foresees meaningful participation of civil society. We therefore urge Member States and the United Nations to take the following recommendations into account:
  • To ensure the success of Agenda 2030, civil society’s role in monitoring and implementation of the agenda must be more than just an informal one.
  • CSOs must be given access to formal roles, guaranteeing their participation in
    1. clear consultation processes on government implementation plans and measures
    2. formal representation mechanisms which oversee implementation efforts
    3. channels for participation in accountability processes, amongst others
  • The international community should support and fully resource a coordinated approach to the capacity development of civil society to enable implementation and effective monitoring of the Agenda across the globe.
“Finally, we reaffirm our call for the development and adequate resourcing of structured and meaningful engagement of CSOs, in Agenda 2030 implementation and monitoring at all levels”. See more at: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT KNOWLEDGE PLATFORM  and
“A Failure of Imagination at Senior Levels of Government” “The problem is widespread at the senior levels of government and global corporations”. A 2016 report, Thinking the unthinkable, based on interviews with top leaders around the world, found that: “A proliferation of ‘unthinkable’ events… has revealed a new fragility at the highest levels of corporate and public service leaderships. Their ability to spot, identify and handle unexpected, non-normative events is… perilously inadequate at critical moments… Remarkably, there remains a deep reluctance, or what might be called ‘executive myopia’, to see and contemplate even the possibility that ‘unthinkables’ might happen, let alone how to handle them.  “Such failures are manifested in two ways in climate policy. At the political, bureaucratic and business level in underplaying the high-end risks and in failing to recognise that the existential risk of climate change is totally different from other risk categories. And at the research level in underestimating the rate of climate change impact and costs, along with an under-emphasis on, and poor communication of, those high-end risks.” Ian Dunlop’s article also looks at  existential risk; adverse outcomes so severe they would either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.   See the full article.
International Civil Society Week 2017 When: 4-8 December 2017 Where: Suva, Fiji Theme: Our Planet. Our Struggles. Our Future. Organisers: CIVICUS & Pacific Island Association of NGOs (PIANGO) Hui E! is a member of CIVICUS; their International Civil Society Week (ICSW) is a key global gathering for civil society and other stakeholders to engage constructively in finding common solutions to global challenges. For the first time in more than 20 years of international convening, CIVICUS will hold its flagship event in the Pacific region. Holding ICSW 2017 in the Pacific provides an ideal forum for civil society to meet and discuss climate and social justice. This year the Pacific will feature prominently in several key intergovernmental initiatives, including COP 23, the UN’s Oceans Conference and the UN international year of sustainable tourism for development. We hope that convening civil society leaders in the Pacific will help us reflect on these and other key issues outlined in our programme tracks:   • Our Planet • Our Struggles • Our Future

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