May 2024

QUNO NY and AFSC Join the UN Civil Society Conference

QUNO NY attended the 2024 United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) with a focus on peace and connecting with civil society from around the world. Alongside Eunice Ndonga, Migration Director for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Pauline Kamau, Quaker International Affairs Representative for the Africa Region of AFSC, QUNO NY UN Rep Kavita Desai joined the 2024 UNCSC from 9-10 May, at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The #2024UNCSC provided a forum for over 1500 participants from civil society organizations around the world to gather.   

The Conference created spaces for information and experience sharing, reflecting on common challenges and provided an opportunity to raise the perspectives of civil society with senior UN System officials. The Conference is intended to provide input on the UN Summit of the Future, to be held in September 2024, which seeks to forge a new international consensus on how to cooperate to meet the needs of today and prepare for the challenges of the future. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a surprise appearance at the closing session with HE President William Ruto of Kenya to emphasize the important role of civil society.  

In addition to the Conference itself, QUNO also joined the Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16) Workshop on 5 May to facilitate a conversation on peace amongst over 25 colleagues. SDG16, part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, seeks to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” The SDG16 Workshop, organized by the TAP (Transparency, Accountability, and Participation) Network aimed to identify shared policy priorities across SDG16 that the campaign at large can elevate and collectively push forward. QUNO has worked to advance SDG16 for over ten years, and provided a framework for how the experiences and inputs shared during the workshop could be connected to different policy discussions at the UN Headquarters in NY. 

Highlights from the thematic discussion on peace include the need to shift investment towards prevention and peacebuilding rather than the increasing militarization and arms spending we are seeing globally, as well as the need for solidarity and support for those facing violence and conflict across the world from Sudan to Haiti, Palestine, Ukraine and more. The SDG16 Workshop also included thematic groups on justice; inclusion, civic space and human rights; institutions and accountability; and interlinkages and financing. A summary of the full workshop will be included in the outcomes package of the UNCSC.

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