Civil society urges UN to address root causes of poverty, inequality

Jan 16, NEW YORK CITY, New York – In the first of a series of preparatory fora for the post-2015 negotiations, civil society representative Alejandro Barrios of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) urged the United Nations to end poverty and inequality by addressing its root causes. Barrios also called on policymakers to ensure an inclusive process in shaping the new development framework.

Around 400 participants including civil society and other Major Groups gathered at the United Nations Headquarters to comment on the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report. The Synthesis Report is a stock-taking document that draws on the lessons from the past decades to shape the post-2015 development agenda. It also talks about the means through which this agenda can be implemented–ranging from foreign direct investments to public sustainable financing.

The preparatory session jointly convened by the UN DESA Division for Sustainable Development (DESA-DSD) and the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS), aims to get the feedback of major stakeholders on how the new development agenda is to be framed based on the said report.

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Among the panelists, moderators and discussants, the forum featured civil society representatives from different continents and sectors including Barrios from the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) and a member of the CPDE Post-2015 Working Group.

“The Synthesis Report does not raise points to be a way to change the current development model and neoliberal scheme, which becomes a serious mistake. There is an urgent need to address the root causes of the multiple crises we live in”, Barrios empasised.

Barrios also raised critical points building on the principles of Buen Vivir and the need for development that is based on justice.

The various speakers highlighted points on (1) common responsibility and sense of urgency; (2) the need to shift to a development paradigm respectful of the natural, human and cultural diversities; (3) human rights as the cornerstone of the post-2015 development agenda; and (4) equality and overcoming all forms of discrimination.

The Synthesis Report was also criticised on its overemphasis on the role of the private sector and the promotion of foreign direct investments (FDI) and public-private partnerships (PPP) as sources of financial capital to implement the post-2015 development agenda. In addition, participants also raised concerns that the report falls short on ensuring state support for public services including health and education; protecting labor rights; and promotion gender equality, including girls and women’s rights and empowerment. They also criticised the report for failing to speak against colonial occupation and militarisation as major threats to peace and order.

Later in the afternoon, a dialogue on the Means of Implementation and Global Partnerships for Development was opened, rescuing the importance of the participation of civil society and partnerships at all parts of the process. Issues like science, technology and innovation as well as Financing for Development were also discussed.

The second preparatory forum was held last 19 February where a migrant domestic worker from the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) spoke on civil society’s stand on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ###

Read the French and Spanish versions here.

WATCH: Alejandro Barrios – CSO Update on the Post-2015 Negotiations (in Spanish)

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