UN-DPI/NGO Briefing - 3 October, 2013
Issues Before the General Assembly and the
Post-2015 Development Agenda
Suna SENMAN for The Light Millennium
After the General Assembly meets to determine their goals and directions, the United Nations Department of Information (DPI) conveys the information to the boots on the ground, the nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) that pour their resources into realizing the peace world dreams.
Moderator Maher Nasser, Director of NGO Relations in the Outreach Division DPI, introduced the programme with a summary of current achievements of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post-2015 transformation shifts:
1. Leave no one behind
2. Put sustainable development at the core
3. Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth
4. Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all
5. Forge a new global partnership
Nasser introduced the panel: Jorge Laguna-Cellis, Senior Advisor to the UN President of the General Assembly; Nelson Muffuh, Head of Outreach, Post-2015 Development Planning Unit, Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General; and Corrine Woods, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, UNDP.
Laguna-Cellis reported the 6 priorities of president of the 68th UN General Assembly, H.E. John William Ashe:
1. Emphasize the role of Women, Youth and Civil Society in the agenda
2. Focus on Water, Sanitation and Sustainable Energy
3. Focus on Partnerships
4. Develop Communication
5. Maintain Human Rights and Enforce Supporting Laws
6. Direct our energy towards Creating and Maintaining Peaceful and Stable Societies
“We are working to transform our agenda to one of universality where we leave no one behind” Nelson Muffat explained, “We need to find a way for all citizens to experience a life of dignity for all.” Muffah expressed concern that those working toward the MDGs have a fragmented approach and encouraged coherence and consistency of NGOs, government and civilians, “In unity there is strength”, Muffah emphasizes.
While some MDGs such as reducing extreme poverty, moving habitants from slums to better environments and providing clean water to all humans are reaching the target goals, several objectives are far behind schedule. As 2015 is quickly approaching plans for post 2015 are beginning to form. “We are creating an entry point for civil society to enter the [planning] process.” Mufah states adding, “This is a generation that we should be proud of.” Commenting on the willingness that many civilians and young people have to participate in bettering the world.
A short film on the MY World survey revealed the current concerns of world citizens, and showed the efforts made to reach people in remote areas who are outside of the internet connected world and often are not heard. While the survey continues, so far “a good education”, “better health care” and “an honest and responsive government” top the list. “We need to make sure that our conversations are heard on a national level,” Woods proclaims to emphasize that national policy makers should align with the people’s choices. Woods spoke up for greater freedom for grassroots groups/NGOs to interface with the UN.
As questions and answers were opened, and moderated by Daniel Dickinson, Acting Chief, NGO Relations, Outreach Division, DPI. Questions were posed on how we create greater collaborations to move forward connected to the UN goals. “Laws and legislations are done in the parliaments of member nations,” Nasser reminds concerned NGO representatives frustrated with the progress of MDGs. One question emphasized the difference between dialogue (volley between two individuals or groups) and discussion (conversations including many viewpoints.)
Participants raised concern for a lack of coordination and fair attention to all the goals. “Let’s go back and see what have we lost from the Millennium Declaration as we are moving forward, and what are we going to do to make sure we don’t loose the spirit of that.” Woods reflectively replied.
Several participants illuminated the challenge that NGOs have to get more access to the UN programs prompting deeper evaluation from the panelist on how to get all parties involved towards achieving UN goals. Some of the questions voiced by UN associated NGO representatives during the session as follow:
• “Will the High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace be held in 2014?”
• "Does the new PGA Office have a new approach to recognize the NGOs on the UN General Assembly level as an observer or as the representative's of the NGOs?"
• “Since education is a MDG and hatred can be taught, as well as well as respect and peace, does the UN provide guidelines for education?”
Representatives asked for forums to meet, greater opportunity to be included in achieving UN goals and clarification of guidelines. All present seemed highly motivated to fulfill the goals and disappointed by the lack of progress. “Looking back to the special events of the MDGs it was challenging to get the real actors of the private sector involved in the dialogue with governments,” Laguna-Cells reports continuing, “In my opinion the civil society and the private sector both have something important to contribute.”
Overall, the most voiced concern in the gathering was for the coordination and cooperation between grassroots efforts, business and governments to work together towards goals. The UN mandate is to include the private sector and civil society into the global compact on development. “There is only one agenda with the goals that we all work for” Laguna-Cells concludes after emphasizing the need for collaboration between private sector, civil society and governments toward achieving MDGs and post –2015 desired objectives as expressed by the world citizens.
1. Better government policies, economic growth, and global commitment to MDGs have reduced child mortality, poverty, and disease while improving life expectancy, sanitation and access to clean water. http://unmillenniumproject.org/goals/
2. Due to the lack of coordination between efforts, issues such as environment, climate change and biodiversity fell short of the MDGs. Greater involvement by business is desired. http://report.post2015hlp.org/digital-report-executive-summary.html
3. The developing post-2015 UN Development Agenda will continue with the spirit of the Millennium Declaration to target poverty, hunger, water, sanitation, education and healthcare. www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/untaskteam_undf/index.shtml
- Photo credits: The Light Millennium
- Posted on October 16, 2018