Photo Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider, Location UN New York
Presidency of Hope: Delivering for People, Planet and Prosperity. Priorities for 2022-2023
On June 15, 2022, the President of the seventy-sixth session of UNGA, Abdulla Shahid (Maldives), had invited UN-accredited civil society organizations to a meeting in order to discuss his vision for his “Presidency of Hope” which consists of “Five Rays of Hope”: recovering from COVID-19, rebuilding sustainability, responding to the needs of the planet, respecting the rights of all, and reforming the UN. Shahid reiterated the importance of NGOs on the global stage, “NGO are the strength of the UN work in Geneva… [NGOs] hear the voice of the voiceless”.
The meeting took place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva and the World Federation of UN Associations – WFUNA – was invited to attend. Their area of work includes, since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, human rights advocacy as a central part of its programs. About fifteen of over twenty NGOs who applied for a statement were allowed to bring in their statement in the presence of more than 50 NGO representatives.
Cyril Ritchie (First Vice-President of CoNGO) stated the low implementation of UN resolutions, the cause of which lies with governments as they are accountable for it.
Athena Peralta (World Council of Churches) emphasized the intrinsic connection between environmental justice and the rights of indigenous people such as their right for ancestral land. The churches believe that hope lies in immediate action.
The statement of Sibylle von Heydebrand (International Alliance of Women) reminded the increasing gender inequality for girls worldwide and put the claim for human rights for girls into the slogan “leave no girl behind”.
In the discussions of present NGOs with the President of the General Assembly one theme integral to all subjects evoqued was the revitalization of the United Nations. Building capacity and accountability within the UN system are key elements to the President’s plan to create a “UN 2.0.”
Dr. Esther R. Suter
IAW Representative at the UN Geneva