On August 22nd and 23rd 2018, the United Nations in collaboration with the Department of Public information(DPI) hosted the 67th UN DPI/NGO Conference with 2000 representatives from 300 plus non-governmental organizations and 80 countries for dialogue and exchange of ideas on current global issues, with the primary aim of raising awareness about sustainable development goals (SDGs). The conference’s purpose was also geared towards advocating NGOs to work more closely with the UN to implement the 2030 UN Agenda through providing global platforms and perspectives to explore multilateral global solutions to global problems.
The SDGs goals were set in 2016 and are seventeen in number: eradication of poverty, eradication of hunger, eradication of gender inequality, climate change, life below water, life on land, clean water and sanitation, quality education, clean energy, peace and justice through institutions, build of strong institutions through partnerships, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, improvement of well-being, industry innovation and infrastructure, and responsible consumption and population.
During the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70 Roundtable, several NGO leaders pressed the UN panelists hard on the role of the UN in failed states, using Honduras as case in point. They called for the protection of Human Rights of the Honduran citizens in the face of the country’s current violence and unstable state of affairs. The NGO leaders compared the death toll in Honduras to the Rwanda genocide and charged the UN to take more active steps in peacekeeping and conflict resolution rather than a passive approach.
Consequently, the NGO leaders challenged the UN to define and articulate its role in conflict resolution and peacekeeping in failed states through transparent, substantive discussions with the NGOs. To meet the global challenges that lie ahead, NGOs must work hand in hand with the UN while assessing its own strengths and refinement areas. A fundamental recalibration towards partnership is necessary between the UN and NGOs consisting of transparency, accountability and effective leadership in other to find global solutions to the global problems.
This conference depicted a glaring picture of the integral and key role NGOs play in global policymaking and reform in today’s society, more than ever before. NGOs help the UN further its agenda and effectiveness on a global scale. Moreover, they help create a safer world, home and abroad, through policy reforms, active engagement and UN accountability.