29 March 2018
ECOSOC Meeting Explores Role of Inclusive Participation in 2030 Agenda
Photo Credit: Lynn Wagner
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An Economic and Social Council preparatory meeting highlighted the role of stakeholder participation, good governance and strong, inclusive institutions in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Prague meeting, cohosted by the Czech Republic and Colombia, will inform ECOSOC's 2018 Special Meeting on sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies through the participation of all.

27 March 2018: In preparation for the UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) 2018 Special Meeting, the Czech Republic and Colombia co-hosted a gathering to explore the role of collective action in issues related to participation and inclusion in the 2030 Agenda. The 2018 special meeting will take place on the theme, ‘Towards sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies through the participation of all,’ at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 23 May 2018.

The preparatory meeting took place from 26-27 March 2018, in Prague, Czech Republic. Ahead of the meeting, also in preparation for the Special Meeting in May, four breakfasts took place in New York between November 2017 and March 2018. The breakfast meetings focused on engagement with civil society, local government, the private sector and academia, and allowed each group to share best practices and experiences in fostering sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies through participation of all.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs include several targets related to inclusive societies. SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) addresses the role of participation for sustainable development in target 16.7, which calls for ensuring “responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.” Other SDG targets focus on the promotion of global citizenship (target 4.7), women’s participation and leadership (target 5.5) and political inclusion (target 10.2).

In opening remarks to the preparatory meeting, the Czech Republic’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Stropnický stressed that the “consensus and involvement of all segments of our societies” are critical to achieve the 2030 Agenda. He recalled how the Czech Republic transformed from a “totalitarian regime to democracy just 29 years ago,” a journey that restored freedom, reinstated the rule of law, revived civil society and improved the environment and the economy. Stropnický said sharing his country’s experience in transforming its society is “one of our contributions to the struggle for a better world” and expressed hope that countries will inspire and lead each other in efforts to achieve the SDGs.

With the Estonia Citizen Initiative Portal, everyone has the opportunity to guide the government’s work.

UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak, ECOSOC President Marie Chatardová, who is also Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN, and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed offered remarks during a high-level panel discussion on achieving the 2030 Agenda through participation of all. Lajcak highlighted the importance of participation by governments, civil society, the private sector and youth in shaping and implementing the Agenda.

Participants discussed approaches to fostering participation in various contexts and sectors, including education, economic development and good governance, with the aim of replicating, scaling up and applying best practices to advance inclusion and participation at all levels. A panel discussion showcased the role of civil society organizations in mobilizing participation and inclusion, with examples from Australia, India and Zambia.

The meeting also highlighted emerging technologies and other instruments to increase participation in SDG implementation. A participant from Estonia highlighted the Estonia Citizen Initiative Portal, noting that everyone has the opportunity to guide the government’s work.

The meeting is expected to result in a President’s Summary, which will serve as an input to the 2018 ECOSOC substantive session and the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). In addition, ECOSOC is expected to produce a manual of best practices and case studies presented at the meeting. [ECOSOC Webpage on 2018 ECOSOC Special Meeting] [Event Concept Note] [Czech Republic Minister of Foreign Affairs Statement] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]

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