“Central to leaving no one behind, of course, is ensuring that no one is rendered invisible.”
The CSO Partnership on Development Effectiveness (CPDE) unites with civil society organisations (CSOs) in the region in putting forward the people’s agenda on the 3rd Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD).
The APFSD is a forum convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) with the function of being a long-term consultation process that includes the participation of countries in the region, as well as organisations from the UN system and other stakeholders such as civil society. The theme of this year’s forum is on setting regional priorities for the implementation of the 2030 agenda in the region, which includes the road map as well as the form, function, and modalities of the APFSD from this day forward.
CPDE members the Reality of Aid Asia-Pacific, Asia-Pacific Research Network (APRN) and Roots for Equity participated with a roster of organisations, which made planned interventions on the floor.
CSOs came united following their own preparatory event called the Asia-Pacific CSO forum on Sustainable Development during the three days leading up to the forum in the UN.
During the APFSD formal sessions, CSOs have pushed for the true means of ensuring that no one gets left behind, breaking the monotony of governments’ statements and eschewing in people’s priorities.
Despite this, the decision to not come up with decisions is a severe blow not only to the region but the whole 2030 agenda process. The postponement of the discussion on the regional roadmap up until the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is reflective of the refusal of Member States to be accountable. Instead, these very same countries dish-out a shallow excuse that depicts regional level processes as an additional burden and a duplication of already existing mechanisms.
The stall on the regional roadmap is not the only cause for concern for CSOs. The space for CSOs also became a major point of contention among Member States during the forum, in informal meetings and formal sessions. Member-states pondered whether the APFSD should remain a multi-stakeholder platform or strictly transform into an intergovernmental event.
In spite of these setbacks, CPDE members together with other CSOs forwarded overarching calls that put to light the need to institutionalise a space for civil society and more regional calls that include action on militarism, women and youth. APRN, which leads CPDE’s working group on CSO Development Effectiveness, hit the seeming shrinking of spaces available for CSOs. According to the network, ‘CSOs are continuously being pushed towards the sidelines of the Forum, which can be observed in the decreasing number of CSO-selected representatives in the panel sessions, as well as in the number of intervention opportunities given to CSOs at the end of each panel session.’ Only ten (10) spaces, which includes presenters/speakers and interventions, were given to CSOs. This is the lowest compared to 2014 and 2015, which had 24 and 17 respectively.
CPDE, given its mandate to champion inclusive partnerships, realises the importance of following the discussions on the 2030 Agenda to deliver genuine, people-centred development which is at the heart of development effectiveness. Given its works on the Post-2015 development agenda, CPDE is well-suited in continuing its engagement and ensuring the proper and just implementation of Agenda 2030. With its structure uniting thousands of CSOs, CPDE is capable of effectively engaging global-level advocacy while still remaining rooted to the priorities of peoples at the regional, national, and local levels.
CPDE has released a statement on the recently concluded APFSD. Read here.