Interactive Briefing Addresses Civil Society Involvement in Post-2015 Agenda

unpga68cso6 February 2014: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President John Ashe briefed civil society members on preparations for the post-2015 development agenda, in the first such interactive briefing ever conducted by a UNGA President. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson also gave remarks on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and civil society members participated in a question-and-answer session.

Speaking on 6 February 2014, in New York, US, Ashe said civil society members are “tasked with ensuring that the marginalized and vulnerable of this world are not forgotten.” He also stressed that civil society members have an equal voice and will be heard. He urged them to remain engaged with the ongoing work of the UNGA's Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF).

Ashe identified four “critical questions” to inform setting the stage for the post-2015 development agenda: how to mainstream sustainability into all policies, operations and interactions of government, business and society; how to integrate development policies, modalities and mechanisms for addressing the root and structural causes of poverty; how to develop a core and concise framework for development that is both universal and yet specific to individual needs; and how to ensure all stakeholders can work together to deliver on the outcomes.

Ashe highlighted the focus of each of the upcoming six events he will convene this year, as well as a stocktaking event in early September 2014 to pull together the findings from the various processes converging at the start of the UNGA's 69th session, in preparation for intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. He also noted his intention to forward short summaries of civil society's input to the OWG, ICESDF and to the UN Secretary-General for use in his synthesis report to be issued at the end of 2014 as his contribution to the intergovernmental process.

Eliasson said civil society gives concrete meaning and local relevance to the first three words of the UN Charter: “we the peoples.” He addressed youth in particular, praising their role as “very careful watchdogs" of the UN.

The question-and-answer session addressed climate change negotiations, the accreditation process for NGOs and inclusion of non-accredited NGOs, and ensuring a strong role for ageing people, among other topics. [Statement of UNGA President] [Statement of Deputy Secretary-General] [IISD RS Sources] [UN Press Release]