Civil Society calls on Post-2015 High Level Panel to not miss the opportunity to make a lasting difference for the poorest and most excluded
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New York, 24 September 2012: On the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Civil Society turned out in large numbers to dialogue with members of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and its Secretariat.
The dialogue was organized by civil society, lead by CIVICUS, GCAP, Beyond 2015, Stakeholder Forum and supported by the UN Millennium Campaign, UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN Development Programme, UN Women and UN Volunteers. The event was ably chaired by Rosa Lizarde, Feminist Task Force of Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) and High-Level Panel members in attendance included Amina J. Mohammed, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Queen Rania of Jordan, Tawakel Karman, John Podesta, Gunilla Carlsson, Fulbert Gero Amoussouga, Horst Kohler, Jean-Michel Severino, Betty Maina, and Emilia Pires.
Ms. Mohammed, offering introductory remarks, noted that significant unfinished business remains in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and legitimacy for the Post 2015 agenda would be derived from successfully achieving the MDGs. She expressed the hope that it will not take long before Member States and citizens own the new goals, as it did for the MDGs, but that they will hit the ground running in 2015. She also emphasized her expectation that the process of creating the new agenda will be open, inclusive and transparent.
Queen Rania stated that “Civil society are the heart of development….only when we work together across organizations and institutions can we achieve real impact.” Other panel members emphasized, inter alia, the importance of this discussion with civil society before the first meeting of the High-Level Panel, the role of civil society’s voice in its work, and the challenge of creating meaningful jobs.
Two members of civil society then offered comments. Bernadette Fischler, Beyond2015, reported on the declaration developed at the CIVICUS World Assembly, which convened in Montreal in early September, and emphasized the need to eradicate poverty, reverse growing inequality and achieve environmental sustainability. She looked forward to learning the Panel’s thoughts on these priorities, and expressed disappointment that there was no mention of human rights in the Panel’s terms of reference. She also called attention to a new initiative – “Participate” – which she said would be launched the next day. Paul Okumu, Saferworld/African CSO Coalition on Principles & Partnerships, emphasized the narrative, process and outcome, stressing the issues of accountability, transparency and human rights. His message to the panel “Rarely do people have the opportunity to change the world, you do, the world is in your hands…don’t miss this opportunity.”
Additional comments from civil society participants included: inquiries about why no member of a worker’s organization was on the panel and how to engage youth in the post-2015 development agenda; the importance of a rights-based approach and of galvanizing political will; and the need to include the international financial structure in the Panel’s focus, to develop targets for a social protection floor and for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
John Hendra (Co-chair of UNDG, UN Women) agreed on the importance of inclusiveness, human rights, and accountability. He noted the upcoming country and thematic consultations, as well as the web platform, www.worldwewant2015.org, which is meant to inform the global consultation. Shamshad Akhtar (Assistant Secretary General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs) highlighted that the MDG and sustainable development goals agendas are interlinked. Homi Kharas (Lead Author and Executive Secretary of the Secretariat that will support the High-Level Panel) said the Panel will have meetings in other countries and hopes to have outreach opportunities, emphasizing the importance of transparency, accountability and anti-discrimination as bedrocks for development.
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