The UN Development Group (UNDG) has released a summary report of its high-level global meeting on ‘Partnerships with Civil Society.' The meeting served as the culmination of eight national consultations and an e-discussion on the topic, and addressed how civil society can inform the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, engage in its implementation and help to enhance national policy formulation.
4 December 2014: The UN Development Group (UNDG) has released a summary report of its high-level global meeting on ‘Partnerships with Civil Society.’ The meeting served as the culmination of eight national consultations and an e-discussion on the topic, and addressed how civil society can inform the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, engage in its implementation and help to enhance national policy formulation.
The consultation process on Partnerships with Civil Society was one of six Dialogues on the Implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, organized by UNDG as a second phase of consultations on the post-2015 agenda. The summary report is intended to serve as an input to the upcoming intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda.
Participants at the high-level meeting, which convened in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on 20-21 October 2014, discussed four key recommendations that emerged from the dialogue process. The recommendations addressed: recognizing and understanding civil society’s role in policy development; creating an enabling environment to maximize civil society’s contribution towards development objectives; establishing and maintaining accountability mechanisms to monitor partnerships and implementation progress; and aligning multi-stakeholder priorities.
On the role of civil society in policy development, participants recommended that governments, inter alia: ensure policy-making processes are open with timely information-sharing; move toward civil society empowerment by breaking down cultural, institutional and social barriers; and leverage civil society’s strengths. On an enabling environment for civil society, recommendations focus on: ensuring accountability, transparency and participatory governance in all stages of policy-making and implementation of the post-2015 agenda; building cooperation between civil society and government, including through dialogues at national and sub-national levels and knowledge-sharing mechanisms; and investing in building civil society capacity.
Participants discussed challenges to establishing and maintaining accountability mechanisms, including the need to standardize data and ensure data is open and transparent. Proposed solutions included ensuring accessible information to support participatory monitoring and evidence-based advocacy, and using alternative sources of data, such as soft or perception-based data and citizen data collection. They also suggested drawing on the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review framework (UPR) to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Representatives from Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Tunisia and Saint Lucia, the countries that conducted national dialogues, presented country-specific findings. Participants also heard presentations on the status of post-2015 deliberations, panel discussions and discussions on the way forward on post-2015 deliberations, including opportunities for civil society engagement in 2015.
The Governments of Cambodia and the Republic of Korea hosted the meeting in partnership with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS), UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC), the UN Post-2015 Secretariat and the Cambodia UN Country Team. [Dialogue Website] [IISD RS Story on UNDG Dialogue Series]