2018 UN/DPI NGO Conference
“We the Peoples…Together Finding Global Solutions to Global Problems”
The 2018 UN/DPI NGO Conference (August 22-23 at UN Headquarters in New York) is an opportunity for NGOs across the world to come together to address global issues of interest to the work of the United Nations. Recent annual conferences have attracted over 2000 civil society delegates from every region of the earth. This year’s theme, “We the Peoples…Together Finding Global Solutions to Global Problems”, will focus on the importance of multilateralism in solving world problems.
The conference seeks to build upon and deepen the relationship between the United Nations and civil society. NGOs are increasingly playing an important role within the life of the UN, especially in building public support and implementation of the Sustainable D
evelopment Goals. The conference is an opportunity for NGOs to network and to interact on an international level. This year’s event will feature roundtable discussions, NGO-led workshops, exhibits, and a variety of side events reflecting the theme of the conference. With the goal of building partnerships across generations, ensuring that the unique and valuable voices of youth are heard, young people are being included in all phases of the planning process and there will be several youth-led activities .
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, has recently been appointed chair of the conference. Noting the potential for the conference to strengthen the bond between the UN and NGOs she states, “This conference will be our platform to highlight the critical value of multilateralism, to reaffirm our faith in working together through a multilateral system and to advocate strongly for a just and rules-based global governance system – one that upholds human rights, secures peace
in the world and enables sustainable development. Let us speak frankly and advance proposals about the areas that need reform.”
The concept note for the conference admits that “skepticism is rising worldwide about the value of multilateralism and the United Nations faces the challenge of remaining relevant and effective.” However, the conference is not meant to be dominated by this theme. Rather, it establishes three objectives, two of which concern the 2030 Agenda:
- To assess how the UN, Member States and NGOs, among others, are relaying and enacting the 2030 Agenda.
- To identify platforms, approaches and technologies for NGOs to transmit the 2030 Agenda.
- To explore how to tackle global perceptions regarding the UN’s accomplishments and failures that have shaped attitudes toward the values the Organization represents.
It appears a healthy amount of self-reflection will be included along with discussion of obstacles to the implementation of the SDGs. The goal is for NGOs to be drawn into a closer partnership with the UN in implementing the SDGs.
Though the conference will take place in New York, its main work is the exchange of ideas—and for this a common physical locale is not necessary. However, physical presence leads to personal connection, opportunities for networking, and a deepened sense of camaraderie between groups, as well as between NGOs and the UN itself. It builds trust, and enables partnerships to form. Further, the construction of thoughtforms and ideas is aided by the close interaction of participants.
The construction of the thoughtform of the conference is already underway as the central ideas are circulating through the minds of those involved. This process will culminate in the conference itself and continue for weeks afterward as the ideas discussed work their way into diverse channels of outer expression
The success of the conference will be measured not just by what occurs in New York on August 22 and 23, but also by the ability of the collective thoughtform to inspire reflection and action, and for a deepened sense of unity and cooperation between NGOs and the UN. Thus, the theme ‘Global Solutions to Global Problems’ can fulfill its purpose.
Humanity today is in a state of flux, and great changes are occurring on individual, national, and international levels within this greater life. We are at a time when 21st century identities are being cemented, and it is vital that the voices of those who are able to think in terms of the whole are heard. It is the task of the Group of World Servers to hold the ideas and ideals of the future before the eyes of humanity. Through intelligent and inclusive thinking propelled into activity by a strong will to love, this can be brought about.
The conference is open to the public, and those interested may register here.
Plenary sessions will be broadcast live on UN TV.
A concept note is also available.