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The United Nations and Civil Society - 70 Years Working Together: How Do We Make a Difference from Geneva?

Monday, 22 June 2015 - 10:00 to 17:00
Palais des Nations, Geneva – Room XI

"The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is an opportunity to reflect – to look back on the UN’s history and take stock of its enduring achievements. It is also an opportunity to spotlight where the UN – and the international community as a whole – needs to redouble its efforts to meet current and future challenges across the three pillars of its work: peace and security, development, and human rights." - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message for UN70

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, the Office of the Director-General at UNOG together with the World Federation of United Nations Associations, the Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) held an event to assess the relationship between the United Nations and the civil society and to examine how this partnership could be strengthened, with particular emphasis on how the work in Geneva could have an even more important impact on the situation in different parts of the world. This was an opportunity to exchange the experience, practices and lessons learnt for the continued engagement. The discussions were structured along the three overarching goals: peace, rights and well-being, along with the synergy of values and ideals of the United Nations. A conference report will be compiled.

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The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is at the same time the anniversary of the United Nations and civil society actors working together. Civil society actors are individuals and groups who voluntarily engage in forms of public participation and action around shared interests, purposes or values that are compatible with the goals of the United Nations: the maintenance of peace and security, the realization of development, and the promotion and respect of human rights.

Civil society actors and NGOs have been actively engaged with the UN since its inception in 1945. In Geneva and elsewhere civil society has been playing a central and growing role in the work of the United Nations. Over the past seven decades, the United Nations system’s engagement with non-governmental organizations and civil society actors has undergone profound changes, both in terms of numbers and variety of actors as well as depth of substantive issues and priorities. The United Nations system relies on the expertise and active involvement of civil society actors to make its policies and processes stronger, legitimate and more effective. The year 2015 is a decisive year for the United Nations to establish a new framework for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in all its aspects for the decades to come. The role of the civil society in shaping this framework and supporting it in the implementation stage is central to achieving success. On the other hand, the new framework will also be crucial for the activities of the civil society.

  • Permanent Missions
  • NGOs with Consultative Status with ECOSOC
  • International Organizations
  • Academic institutions and other stakeholders in Geneva.

Opening Remarks by the Director-General

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