The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is an inter-agency programme of the United Nations mandated to promote and develop constructive relations between the United Nations and civil society organizations.
Monday 3 September marked the opening of the CIVICUS World Assembly, an annual conference organized by CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, gathering civil society representatives from every part of the world. The aim of this World Assembly is to build a strengthened network of citizens in order to better tackle key international challenges.
The 2012 World Assembly, which continues through 7 September, focuses on the theme “Defining a new social contract – making the future together.” According to CIVICUS, the traditional social contract – understood as a comprehensive set of rules, rights, responsibilities and expectations between citizens and States, and a framework for social, economic and political relations – has been forevermore challenged by the multiple and ongoing crises in the economic, financial, social, environmental and political fields. Affirming States’ failure at national and international level to deliver on citizen’s rights and security needs and to meet citizen’s expectations, and hailing the example of citizens’ protests such as the Arab Spring or the Occupy movements in developed countries, CIVICUS highlights the necessity to redefine power relations and build a new social contract that is more democratic, inclusive, legitimate and sustainable.
The first day of the event – the “Youth Assembly” – was built as a forum leading up to the World Assembly. Gathering youth delegates from all around the world, this day-long meeting aimed to promote youth engagement in CIVICUS’ work, acting as a platform for networking and collaboration among young people and conveying youth’ opinions on the theme of “a new social contract.” The related workshops addressed different issues related to social, economic and civic participation. Through information and experience sharing, young people tackled the role of social media, the importance of building movements through technology and beyond, the challenge of social entrepreneurship as well as the assessment of the Rio+20 Conference from a youth’ perspective.
Tuesday 5 September – the “Preconference” – marked a consultation and campaign-planning workshop dedicated to the UN post-2015 development agenda. Co-hosted by CIVICUS, the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) and Beyond 2015 and organized as a multi-stakeholder forum, this event brought together civil society leaders and UN representatives to voice their vision for a post-MDG agenda. The morning session allowed UN representatives to provide an overview of the challenges that are underlying the development of a post-2015 and post-Rio+20 development framework. During the afternoon session, civil society organizations worked on campaigning strategies and the creation of a common advocacy platform to ensure enhanced mobilization and effective strategies to better influence the intergovernmental processes related to defining a post-2015 agenda that would incorporate the process of defining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as agreed in Rio.
The coming days (5-7 September), the actual 2012 World Assembly will take place, giving prominence to three main tracks: “Changing nations through citizens,” “Building partnerships for social innovation,” and “Redefining Global Governance.” Daily plenary sessions will be followed by numerous working group sessions, featuring a great number of keynote speakers, such as Caroline Anstey, Managing Director of the World Bank in the UK; Olav Kjorven, Director of the Bureau for Development Policy of the UN Development Programme (UNDP); Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director; Roberto Bissio, Executive Director of the Third World Institute and Marina Silva, former Brazilian Minister of Environment and President of the Instituto Marina Silva.Archive of this section