A United Nations conference focusing on the role of civil society in shaping the global development agenda beyond 2015 concluded in New York today with a declaration that will serve as an “Action Agenda” in the lead-up to negotiations on the future framework.
The declaration “should enable you and communities across the globe to speak with a common voice and advocate for ambitious goals, and for a commitment to leave no one behind,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said in his remarks to the closing session of the 65th Annual UN Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
“The United Nations wants you to continue raising your voices, every step of the way,” he added.
The three-day conference was organized by the UN Department of Public Information and the NGO/DPI Executive Committee on the theme “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,” brought together an unprecedented number of civil society members to discuss the way forward after the deadline for achieving the set of anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“There were 4,000 participants, breaking all previous records and giving significant proof of the engagement of civil society in the post-2015 development agenda,” Maher Nasser, Acting Head of the Department of Public Information, told a news conference after the conference closed.
He added that 100 NGOs and 120 national delegates attended the conference, which made 3.6 million media impressions with the trending hashtag #UNNGO2014.
The event sought to provide an opportunity for civil society networks and activists to mobilize messaging, advocacy strategies, partnerships and accountability frameworks in the lead-up to the start of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda.
“For us and for governments, 2015 is recognized as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…with a potential to shape our future for the better,” said Jeffery Huffines, Chair of the Conference.
Mr. Eliasson commended the work of civil society, which often – with limited resources and much personal and political risk – has been central to human progress.
“You are out in the field, building bridges of solidarity. You advocate and engage. You debate and defend. You push and then push some more. And the world is better for it,” he told participants.
“The decisions that we collectively make over the next 16 months will set our course and will have an impact for generations,” he added.