Next week at the largest annual global women’s rights forum - the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women - CIVICUS will be calling on the governments to prioritse gender equality and to foster women´s rights movements taking the world by storm. We will convene several meetings with partners and activists highlighting the civic space restrictions linked with gender and call for actions through a two week campaign with activists telling governments to protect civic space because women’s rights can only be achieved together with civil society. 

CIVICUS calendar of events at the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (New York)
Date   Time   Event   Where   Sponsors
Tuesday March 14   10:00-12:00   Workshop: Using the CIVICUS Monitor to support women human rights defenders    Event now closed. For more information about the Monitor, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   CIVICUS
Tuesday March 14   16:30-18:00   Shrinking Space for the Feminist Movement - RSVP   Community Church Center, Assembly Hall, 40 East 35th Street   CIVICUS & other international CSOs
Friday March 17   17:00-20:00   Supporting Feminist Movement Building for Planet 50-50 by 2030 - RSVP   Great Hall of The Cooper Union, 7 East 7th Street   UN Women, OHCHR, the City of New York’s Commission on Gender Equity, ICRW, CIVICUS and Cooper Union

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Egyptian women's rights defenders risk life in prison

When: 15 March 2016, 10:30AM-12PM 

Where: Chapel of UN Church Center, New York City

As the Sustainable Development Goals are a priority theme of the 60th Session on the Status of Women(CSW60), 27 Global South and international civil society organizations will co-host a parallel event  to address the role of feminist organizations and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in realizing Goal 16, which focuses on building peace, justice and strong Institutions.

We write to you as members of the Civic Space Initiative, a global program jointly implemented by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy, who are committed to the creation of an enabling environment for civil society.

In April 2013, we made a joint submission on “Enabling Environment for Civil Society” to the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons. The submission highlighted cascading restrictions impeding the work of civil society actors around the globe and emphasized the centrality of civil society organisations (CSOs) to development.

We are deeply concerned that there is no explicit recognition of an “enabling environment for civil society” in the OWG’s proposal on Sustainable Development Goals and urge that the UN Secretary General’s synthesis report highlights this issue.  In addition, we urge that the report reinforces the key role of civil society in development.

Read the full letter

This e-newsletter will share with you the latest updates on our SD2015 projects and the most recent information on different post-2015 activities and processes.

For more regular SD2015 updates and insights we encourage you to follow our website:

Issue 7 - January 2015

Issue 6 - October 2014

Issue 5 - Septemer 2014

Issue 4 - August 2014

Issue 3 - July 2014

Issue 2 - July 2014

Issue 1 - June 2014

Following the release of the reports of the Open Working Group and the Experts Committee on SD Financing this summer, we invite you to prepare for the 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference on "2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda" taking place at UN HQ (NY), 27-29 August 2014. The Conference will provide an opportunity for civil society, international networks and activists to develop an “Action Agenda” to mobilize messaging, advocacy strategies, partnerships and accountability frameworks in the lead up to the start of the intergovernmental negotiations at the beginning of the 69th session of the General Assembly for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, due to culminate at a Summit in September 2015. The Conference will also be an important milestone ahead of the Secretary-General’s September 2014 Climate Summit and UN General Assembly, finalization of the Synthesis Report on the post-2015 development agenda, and the Lima (2014) and Paris (2015) UNFCCC COPs.
As planning for the Conference continues, we invite you to submit your proposals for midday workshops based upon the conference plenary themes which will include poverty eradication, sustainability, climate change and human rights, with partnerships and accountability frameworks as cross-cutting issues. Please find here the conference concept note and the guidelines for submitting workshop proposals.

The deadline to submit is 4 June 2014, at 11 pm (2300) US EST.

DEADLINE for NOMINATIONS 8 September: Expert Group meeting on Mainstreaming Sustainable Development in National Development Strategies

UN DESA is inviting each Major Group to nominate up to 3 people each to participate in the following national capacity building Workshop and Expert Group Meeting on mainstreaming sustainable development in developing countries. The Workshop and EGM will take place at the UN secretariat (NY), 9-11 October 2013.

Major Groups, civil society stakeholders and national and international experts together with a select group of UN Country Team members will be invited to join approximately 30 Government officials from key Ministries, mostly from least developed countries (see list below). The overall goal of the Workshop and EGM are to enhance the capacity of key stakeholders, including Government officials and civil society, to effectively integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development into national development planning and implementation.

Major Groups and Other Stakeholders Briefing Days
20 and 22 September 2013 New York City, USA

The United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UNDESA) in partnership with Stakeholder Forum and CIVICUS is organising two briefing days for Major Groups and other stakeholders in preparation for the High Level Segment of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York this September. The purpose of the the briefing days is to take stock of progress on outcomes from Rio+20, with a particular focus on the role of stakeholders in the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), High Level Political Forum (HLPF) and financing for sustainable development. Details are as follows:

Friday 20 September, 14:00 - 18:00 in Conference Room 2 (CB), UN Headquarters, New York
This event will assess the progress around the implementation of outcomes from Rio+20 and entry points into associated follow-up processes. In particular participants will be briefed on how the High Level Segment of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly will advance the post-Rio+20 processes, review lessons learned from the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and propose new models of stakeholder engagement for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF).


Sunday 22 September, 10:00 -13:00 in Conference Room 2 (CB), UN Headquarters, New York
This event will focus on the current state of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process, what happens next including the planning of the intersessional and morning meetings with the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, as well as advocacy planning for the OWG's report drafting phase from February-September 2014. In addition the event will explore the role of stakeholders in the convergence of the SDGs and Post-MDGs processes.


Statement by Jeffery Huffines, CIVICUS, NGO Major Group Organizing Partner on behalf of Major Groups and other Organizations

HLPF Informal Informals, 14 May 2013

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to OP 16 on Major Groups and other stakeholders that includes “enhanced consultative role and participation of the Major Groups”. I would also add that we fully support OP 24 that requests the SG “to carry over all the remaining funds from the CSD Trust Fund to a voluntary Trust Fund of the Forum” and would ask the Member States to not eliminate it as a cost cutting measure.

Last month members of the Major Groups and NGOs active in the post-2015 development agenda met to discuss issues of common concern where they all agreed that it is only through strong means of implementation which includes financing for sd, together with a robust institutional framework, will ensure the successful achievement of the future SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.

In this regard the Major Groups and other stakeholders call for the establishment of a dedicated high level institution with universal membership, complete with a secretariat and reporting to the UNGA and ECOSOC, to replace the CSD. Recognizing the “hlpf” is just a placeholder name, such an institution could be called the UN Sustainable Development Committee.

Modalities for Stakeholder Engagement in the high level political forum
14 May 2013

This document reflects an ongoing discussion among Major Groups (MGs) and relevant stakeholders on modalities for MG/CSO participation in the HLPF and builds on modalities granted the major groups by the UNGA  and in general decisions taken at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio, June 2012 (also called Rio+20) and found in the Outcome Document, “The Future We Want.”

Major Groups and other stakeholders take note of Member States agreement during the course of the Rio+20 negotiations, in particular paragraph 43 of the Rio Outcome Document , that the inclusion of Major Groups, civil society organizations, and relevant stakeholders – including persons with disabilities and volunteers -- is vitally important to effective sustainable development policy and implementation. Deliberations among MGs/CSOs have also begun to consider the “enhanced consultative role and participation of Major Groups” by considering specific practices for stakeholder engagement in the HLPF process, which build on the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), as well as drawing on best practice elsewhere, such as the FAO’s Strategy for Partnerships with Civil Society Organizations and its Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and Human Rights Council inter alia.

Draft Inputs from the Food and Agriculture Cluster of the NGO Major Group for upcoming thematic discussion at the third session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York, 22-24 May, 2013

The Food and Agriculture Cluster was formed in New York to support messages from Major Groups and Civil Society before, during and following the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The Cluster continues to coordinate messages for the Post Rio processes and Post 2015 Thematic Consultations on food security and nutrition. As the first thematic discussion of the OWG will be on food security, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, land degradation, desertification, drought and water and sanitation during its third session on 22-24, the Cluster is helping to bring civil society voices into intergovernmental processes in New York at United Nations Headquarters. We look forward to working with the Member States, UN System, Major Groups and other stakeholders to ensure that sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security are prioritized and recognized as critical to achieving sustainable development. 

Six key priorities for an SDG for food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture:

1. Progressive realization of the right to food and issues of equity of access to resources and social inclusion should be the foundation of any multistakeholder informed SDG for food and agriculture.
2. Improving the livelihoods of smallholder and women farmers should be at the forefront in SDG development and implementation
3. A transformative agenda should call for a systemic and holistic approach to diverse, sustainable and resilient food production to consumption systems
4. Sustainable and humane livestock systems should be included as key to sustainable agriculture and diets.
5. Strengthening urban rural linkages, decentralized and territorial planning for an ecosystem-based approach to nourishing cities should be recognized as a key element of the transformation agenda.
6. Progress on the post 2015 Goals need to be measured and monitored by independent bodies with relevant knowledge, competences and capabilities.

Major Groups/Post 2015 constituency consultation on post Rio+20/Post 2015
16 April 2013, NY

Submitted by Jeffery Huffines (CIVICUS) and Debra Jones (Save the Children), Meeting Co-Facilitators

The meeting co-facilitators opened the meeting highlighting the objectives of the meeting which focused on bringing together Major Groups and Civil Society Organizations (MG/CSOs) that are engaged with post Rio+20 and post 2015 processes.  Both agreed that it is a critical moment for these processes and reminded everyone that the meeting was not a decision-making meeting but an opportunity to discuss joint strategies to be shared with the broader constituency. Outcomes sought included: 1) Common understanding of the various processes and timeline; 2) Process for dialogue on producing coordinated advocacy strategies on post 2015/post Rio+20; 3) Begin to formulate concrete proposals for Member States on enhanced stakeholder engagement.

Sharing strategies for Post 2015 and Post Rio+20 SDGs

It was reported that the Expert Group Meeting on the high level political forum (hlpf) expressed unanimous support for stakeholder involvement and that what was successful in CSD should be carried over to hlpf. Specific references were made to FAO Committee on Food Security (CFS) as an interesting template.  

The Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) proposal for the Open Working Group (OWG) was outlined. Rio+20 occurred under CSD rules of procedure, but the OWG is under GA procedures where Major Groups and NGOs have no standing. In order to formalize rules of procedure for MG involvement in the SDG process, MGs came up with the MAG proposal that articulates agreed on principles where all stakeholders can participate to ensure an “open, transparent and inclusive” intergovernmental process promised by the Member States at Rio+20.

CSO strategies regarding the High Level Panel (HLP) on Post-2015 report were discussed, with the HLP now entering an intensive drafting period. There will be a HLP meeting on 13 -15 May, and the HLP report will be presented on 30th May. These are key opportunities that CSOs should use to follow-up with key Member States (MS), to give support to the report. Possibly there could be a civil society consultation in the summer.

For outreach, anything directed to the hlpf co-facilitators should also be directed to facilitators for ECOSOC reform.

October 20, 2011

To: All Member States of the UN General Assembly
Dear Ambassador,

In light of the Security Council’s failure to address the violence by Syria’s security forces against their own people, we call on the UN General Assembly urgently to adopt a resolution demanding that the Syrian government immediately halt all unlawful use of lethal and excessive force against demonstrators, end the arbitrary arrest and torture of detainees, account for all those who have been subject to enforced disappearances, cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council, allow the unrestricted deployment of human rights monitors, and grant access to humanitarian organizations and independent journalists.

Johannesburg 23 February 2011. Although, the 15 members of the UN Security Council have issued a unanimous statement condemning the violence in Libya, they have failed to take any concrete actions to restore peace and security to the people of Libya.

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation calls upon members of the UN Security Council to discharge their responsibility to guarantee international peace and security and prevent crimes against humanity by issuing a binding resolution calling upon the Libyan Government to immediately halt the attacks on protestors.

As news reports indicate, the violent and brutal crackdown against protestors is continuing in the country. Libya's 'supreme leader' Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has urged his supporters to come out on the streets to attack the "rats" and "cockroaches" opposing his 40 plus years iron grip on power.

Indications from Colonel's Gadaffi's public address of 22 February show that he has no intention of  relenting to the legitimate demands of the pro-democracy protestors. Instead he has threatened to purge opponents "house by house" and "inch by inch".



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