NGO meeting with Director General UNOG
Brief summary of presentation of information made
(NB: This section seeks to factually report what was said in the presentation. No inference should be drawn in terms of Salvation Army position or policy from this section).
Mr Michel Mollet was pleased to share with various NGO representatives, focusing particularly on the progress being made with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG lab - www.sdglab.ch - has been set up and is open to NGOs and private sectors. It explores the 2030 agenda and encourages the sharing of best practice. The small staff is international and is paid by member states. The aim is to ensure that the SDGs have an impact on the ground. This platform helps look for solutions in different parts of the world.
A booklet was introduced to all present at the meeting: 170 actions to transform the world, available in French and English (www.youneedtoknow.ch). This booklet is also being widely distributed to school children. The booklet encourages young reporters to engage with experts. They tell positive stories that do not always make the headlines. There are interviews, videos with leaders from the UN and stories of the implementation of the SDGs. Mr Mollet stressed the importance of embracing all 17 of the SDGs and adopting a holistic way of thinking. The SDGs are integrated and interconnected. It involves a different way of thinking.
In the UN itself, emphasis has been placed on accountability and there has been an increase on pledges of champions. They are called to lead by example. In strategic areas there has been a growth of gender awareness (only two women have been Presidents of the UN, which is not good). Many leaders also in the NGO community have adopted the pledge of gender equality.
The library has a new resource guide – https://www.unog.ch/library - where there are new presentations each year.
In the UN, they are gradually introducing an online platform to speed up the accreditation process. This cuts down the time of waiting in Geneva. New York is also transitioning, so that the registration of all UN attendees will be easier.
The Human Rights Council, where there are NGO representatives, has increased the budget, but has reduced speaking times. Lunch sessions have been cut. On 26 October 2017, the HR Council will meet.
Civil society must have a strong voice. The General Assembly gave them the right to hold 100 meetings. Member states are held to account.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
The Salvation Army is already involved in working towards the realization of the 17 SDGs in various parts of the world. It would be good to share on these platforms (e.g. youneedtoknow).
The emphasis that is being placed on accountability at all levels is something that will eventually apply to all organisations.
With the new streamlined procedures in place, it is much easier for young people and others to obtain permission to attend meetings at the UN to represent The Salvation Army.