The European Union Delegation to the United Nations, Mr Thibault Devanlay highlighted the critical role that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play in all UN processes, when opening the Forum of Major Working Groups and other Stakeholders, in Apia, Samoa on Thursday August 28th, 2014.
Mr Devanlay was speaking to members of the UN Major Working Groups and CSOs from the Caribbean, the Pacific and from the AIMS (Atlantic, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea) countries who were attending the Forum that is a lead up to the 3rd UN Conference on Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) to be also held in Apia from September 1 to 4, 2014.
CSOs he said played a critical role in promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality, the empowerment of women, good governance, sustainable development and poverty eradication and that their voices and contribution to various UN processes are vital and essential to strengthen their overall credibility and accountability.
Mr Devanlay said that UN processes have greatly benefitted from the active participation of CSOs through the Major Groups dialogues in past UN conferences including the 1st and 2nd Conferences of SIDS held in Barbados and Mauritius.
He said that the EU will continue to encourage the active participation of civil society in UN processes through the provision of funds amounting to .75 million euros. Mr Devanlay believes that EUs assistance will enable CSOs to implement outcomes from these UN processes, well beyond governmental circles through genuine and durable partnerships.
His advice to CSOs are that they need to familiarise themselves with UN systems especially to secure accreditation to attend UN conferences and secondly for CSOs to be allowed to participate effectively in meetings, by intervening meaningfully in discussions and to be able to develop, submit and present written and oral contributions when required.
The EU Mr Devanlay said is committed to continue to support the substantial and active contribution of stakeholders in the follow up to Rio +20 and in establishing the post 2015 development agenda.
He called on the Forum to focus discussions on and make the commitment to address the issue of a Vulnerability Index specifically for SIDS as the GDP indicator and other economic measures continue to be inappropriate for Samoa and other SIDS.
“I do share a strong sense of inclusiveness in the role of Major Groups around SIDS and invite you all to contribute to the series of discussions as your experiences are vital in further shaping the SAMOA outcomes,” the Hon Prime Minister said and added.
“It is worth noting that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals follow similar priorities to the Samoa Pathway and we would call on states to recognize this as a sign of global commitment to SIDS.”
The one day Major Groups and Other Stakeholders Forum will be held on Friday, August 29th and delegates will be discussing integrating gender equality, indigenous rights and human rights advocacy into SIDS, the Beijing +20 Review, the post 2015 development agenda and the UNFCCC.
Over 400 participants from the AIMS, Caribbean and the Pacific regions, have registered for the Forum to be held on Friday August 29th. Pacific CSO leaders have played a crucial role in the lead up and preparations for this Forum.
Developing sustainable development priorities according to the thematic priorities for SIDS and creating effective partnerships to address these will also be discussed and an Outcome Document will be submitted by the Forum to the 3rd UN Conference on SIDS to be held from Sept 1 to 4, 2014 in Apia, Samoa.