Dialogue with U.N Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed

40th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
CIVICUS statement during dialogue with UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed

After the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations delivered a statement on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, representatives from governments, UN agencies and civil society were able to respond and ask questions. CIVICUS was able to participate and issued the following statement:

The “future we want” outcome document, which led to the adoption for the Agenda 2030, is unequivocal that democracy, good governance and rule of law are essential for sustainable development.

This explicit acknowledgment of the need to nurture democratic freedoms and institutions is indicative of the growing recognition that civil society must play a prominent role in developing and implementing policies and practices to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Notably, civil society often provides essential services, based on and in response to the needs of their communities and perform an important watchdog role over public resources.  However as crucial civic space is to the realisation of the SDGs, the CIVICUS Monitor finds that only 4% of the world’s population live in countries where these freedoms are adequately protected.

Although democracy, good governance and rule of law are most readily realised through civic space and civil society partnerships as enshrined in Agenda 2030 in Goal 16.7, 16.10 and 17.17 we are witnessing more development actors coming under attack. Some are being swept up in drag net tactics that include disproportionate enforcement of anti-terrorism laws while others are being deliberately targeted by States and non-state actors alike. This is a worrying trend that threatens the full realization of the SDGs.

Additionally, the pledge to 'Leave No One Behind' will not be met if we do not actively enable the agency of women and other traditionally excluded groups to organise and hold governments to account.

CIVICUS encourage States to set positive examples in relation to civic space and civil society participation, including through moves to adopt enabling NGO laws and by involving civil society representatives in decision making structures. But how can you as Deputy Secretary General, as spokesperson for the SDGs, help us to further,  accelerate the civic space agenda and the rights-based approach to development and the 2030 Agenda also into the NY discussions?