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.
The third meeting of the 27-member High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda opened 30 January, in Monrovia, Liberia. During the three-day meeting, co-chaired by the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Panel members will discuss national growth, economic transformation, and development. The Communiqué produced by the Panel outlining the main conclusions of the meeting is available here.
On the first day of the meeting, High-level Panel members met with sixty civil society representatives from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and the Arab regions. Although the details of what a new post-2015 development framework should look like, how it should be implemented and by whom it should be shaped are still unclear and under debate, Ask Africa Now – the African CSO Secretariat for post-2015 – underscores that a bold new approach is emerging that begins with the recognition of the tremendous work that civil society organizations are carrying out worldwide in terms of empowering and uniting citizens towards social justice and governmental accountability.
It voices that “This meeting presents a unique opportunity for African and global civil society to make those in power, who are entrusted with the wellbeing of citizens, to hear the voices of marginalized citizens who are all too often excluded from processes shaping their lives.”
The full programme and list of participants of the Monrovia meeting are available on: www.askafricanow.org.
CSO pre-consultative forum:
Ahead of the meeting, over 100 civil society representatives from all continents came together in a two-day pre-consultative forum on 28-29 January.
On the first day of the forum, participants combined expert, citizen and governmental input concerning the post-2015 development framework and civil society worked to agree on common perspectives to be presented on 29 January to Ms. Johnson Sirleaf. Keynote speakers highlighted the importance of human rights, equal opportunities, social inclusion and efficient local governance in the development of the post-2015 framework, with a particular emphasis on advancing and protecting the rights of women and girls.
On the second day, civil society presented key statements from various vulnerable group task forces (children, youth, ageing and disability, women and gender, farmers, workers and informal sector) as well as a CSO Communiqué to Ms. Johnson Sirleaf. The various task forces called upon the Panel to:
1) consider developing a framework that addresses structural child poverty in various contexts and enables good governance and accountability around child rights and protection;
2) include a reinforced standalone gender goal in the new framework, as well as expanded gender targets and indicators across the entire framework;
3) make sure that the next framework supports inclusive and sustainable growth, underpinned by a rights-based approach, which must include citizenship participation and empowerment through education, training and skills development, increased decent employment for all and universal social protection;
4) develop policy frameworks that support small/traditional/communal farming in order to ensure access to traditionally accelerate and affordable food for all ensuring their access to input into production, income, land, infrastructure services and to markets while respecting the rights of farmers to decide what to produce and for whom;
5) create a framework that incorporates four pillars in terms of youth policies, including the provision of more and better education; the active and dignified insertion of youth in the work place; the provision of career centers and knowledge exchange facilities; and social dialogue to match labour demand and supply; and
6) develop a framework that focuses on the poorest and most marginalized groups, such as persons with disabilities and the elderly.
All task forces urged the Panel to ensure that the next framework will be truly inclusive and works towards sustainable human development and human rights. Each group developed a vision statement presented to Ms. Sirleaf; the five key messages are available on Ask Africa Now, here.
To see Ms. Johnson Sirleaf’s response to civil society, watch the video here.
The outcome document ("CSO Communiqué") of the Civil Society outreach days calls on the Panel to promote cross-cutting approaches to development in the context of economic and climate crises, "excessive fiscal discipline," and conflicts. "We urge the HLP to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and human development, underpinned by a rights-based approach that strengthens citizenship, participation and empowerment, and guarantees decent employment and universal social protection," it reads. The outcome document requests that the Panel work towards a truly inclusive sustainable development agenda through capacity-building, data disaggregation, strengthened infrastructure and technology, and addressing violence against women and girls as a priority. The statement is available here.
During the CSO Outreach meeting (30 January) and the CSO pre-consultative Forum (28-29 January), the Africa wide post-2015 working group along with the Liberian CSO post-2015 working group and in partnership with Beyond2015 will release breaking news and key information along with analysis online as the events unfold.
Main web pages to check out for regular news form civil society voices are:
• Ask Africa Now: www.africanow.org (English and French)
• Twitter: @AskAfricaNow https://twitter.com/AskAfricaNow (English) and @VoixAfricaines https://twitter.com/VoixAfricaines (French).
Next High-level Panel meeting:
The fourth meeting of the Panel will take place in Bali, Indonesia, and will focus on global partnership and implementation methodologies.
Photo Credit: Caroline Testud, ACORD.Archive of this section