Posted on 31st March, 2020

PyeongChang Peace Forum champions proposals backed by Together First

Blog photo

Together First is delighted that the outcome document of the PyeongChang Peace Forum calls for “meaningful mechanisms for civil society participation in United Nations’ processes”- a key campaigning position for Together First.

On 9-11 February 2020, more than 1000 participants from 40 countries gathered in South Korea near the 38th parallel for the PyeongChang Peace Forum (PPF). The Forum brought together a rich cross section of national and international expertise to explore opportunities in the pursuit of peace on the Korean Peninsula and more broadly to serve as a global platform of dialogue for building sustainable peace and development.

 
Together First was pleased to participate in several PPF 2020 events around the key themes: “The UN at 75” which looks at ways to capitalise on the political process around the UN’s 75th anniversary in order to strengthen multilateralism. Together First played a key role in a high-profile UN75 Dialogue with the Secretary General’s Special Adviser on UN75, Fabrizio Hochschild. This was the first global dialogue to take place in Asia.

Introducing the event, Together First coordinator Ben Donaldson said:

“The international community today is grappling with threats unimagined by the drafters of the UN Charter seventy-five years ago. These challenges require an unprecedented level of global coordination, yet in many countries we’re sliding backwards, with the very principles of global collective effort - our best hope of tackling these issues - being devalued or dismissed.  

It’s not all negative. Powerful social movements who are tired of waiting for governments to act are challenging the status quo - the inaction to call for a better world. Pyeongchang Peace Forum is part of this positive uptick. Against this backdrop, the UN Secretary-General has launched the “biggest-ever global conversation on the role of global cooperation in building the future we want. We’re here to be a part of that conversation.”

Mr Hochschild noted the strong theme that emerged regarding the exclusion of citizens around the world from the UN’s programme of work. Concrete suggestions and solutions were proposed by participants and audience members on this theme for the UN and member states to consider as part of the UN75 dialogues process. Suggestions included the need for a well-resourced, high-level focal point to champion civil society feed-in across the UN system and participatory mechanisms to allow people’s assemblies, parliamentarians and citizens around the world to steer the Organisation’s work and hold it to account. Read CIVICUS's blog "A seat at the table for civil society" which makes the case for a hi-level focal point for civil society. 

The event was organized by the UN75 Secretariat in partnership with the UN2020 initiative and the panel featured Salina Sanou, (Pan African Climate Justice Alliance), Giovanna Kuele, (Instituto Igarapé and Together First), Mijoo Kim (Women with Disabilities Arts and Cultural Network, Korea and Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), Marc Stenger (Pax Christi International) and Mandeep Tiwana (CIVICUS). 

NEXT STEPS 

Building on the strong endorsement for a major expansion of civil society participation in UN processes, Together First will be campaigning on a set of implementable policy proposals received through our online consultation which address this matter.

In March, Together First will be working with UN2020 to launch a draft civil society declaration and reaching out to all those in our network for their input to feed into the declaration and raise awareness for the initiative.  

Watch this space!