Together First launches new report: The case for a UN civil society champion

By Together First on 24th October, 2020
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On UN Day 2020 we are delighted to share the latest in our series of expert reports on global governance reform.

 This new report makes the case for a stronger role for civil society at the UN and to improve the diversity of voices that get a seat at the table.

In its 75th anniversary year, the UN ran the largest ever global conversation to ask the world, what is “the future we want, the UN we need”? Together First firmly believes for a safer, fairer, more sustainable future, civil society is an invaluable partner in helping the UN to be fit for the challenges of the mid 21st century.

The recently adopted  UN75 declaration requests that the UN Secretary-General report back before the end of the 75th session with recommendations to advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges. Our proposal urges the Secretary-General to use this opportunity to advance his promise to “design a system-wide strategy on civic space” and to “create and reinforce channels for effective participation.” 

Specifically we call on him to designate a senior official as a “champion” for civil society, providing them with the resourcing and support needed to enable them to deliver necessary objectives, such as:

  • Increasing the Organisation’s limited capacity to engage proactively with civil society.
  • More consistency in arrangements for civil society engagement across the UN system.
  • And most importantly, give greater assistance to, and opportunities for, civil society organisations to engage with the UN, particularly those from the Global South, to ensure that the Organisation hears from new, more diverse and representative voices.

This report is a call for colleagues from across civil society to endorse the broad principle of the proposal. We have already had endorsements from CIVICUS and Human Rights Watch, as well as the UN2020 and Together First coalitions, plus key members of those coalitions such as UNA-UK, Stimson Center’s Just Security 2020 Program, and the Igarapé Institute.

To find out more and endorse the idea yourself, either as an individual or an organisation, click here:

Photo: Secretary-General Meets Civil Society on Entry into Force of Paris Agreement c. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas