Deirdre de Burca, Forus Advocacy Coordinator
A Working Group on Agenda 2030 was held during the Forus GA in Santiago, Participants agreed that the focus of this Working Group should be on Goal 16 & 17. This was decided because the current Forus Strategy prioritises these goals, and this position was subsequently endorsed by Forus members in the Agenda 2030 Working Group.
A lively and wide-ranging discussion took place in Santiago. These are the key recommendations that were agreed by participants at the end of the session:
- Goal 16 needs to be “institutionalized” (i.e. formally reviewed by HLPF each year). This is important for civil society because Goal 16 involves governance issues, corruption, participation, civic and political rights, accountability, transparency, access to justice and its implementation is very relevant for civil society.
- The human rights dimension of Agenda 2030 needs to be emphasised and a stronger link made between human rights and Goal 16.
- Forus should make Goal 16 a focus of its advocacy work as this Goal will be investigated in details by the HLPF in 2019. Forus should consider developing a spotlight report similar to the Civicus Monitor which collates data on freedom of speech, association, etc. Forus members should collect facts and figures about the implementation of Goal 16 in their countries. Data should be collected and case studies systematized every month or second month. These should be collated and form an evidence base for Forus advocacy. The report should collate information on Goal 16 from different countries and then take it to international arena, such as the HLPF.
- The SDGs could be a prison for civil society and the UN is not enough as an advocacy space, Forus members should accumulate information and data on Goal 16 and promote connections with other spaces. Forus should target its advocacy towards other spaces also, including the World Bank, International Financial Institutions etc.
- Forus should develop a document: setting out the common understanding of its members of Goal 16. This would help to build the legitimacy of Forus on this goal. Forus should also see if there are important aspects of Goal 16 that aren't properly covered, such as how to develop a culture of peace.
- Goal 17 is reviewed every single year at the HLPF. Forus should focus on the two aspects of this goal that are most interesting to it which include Capacity Development and Financing for Development. It is important for Forus to define what kind of resources (including financial resources) that civil society needs to become more effective in monitoring and implementing Agenda 2030.
- Forus should direct its advocacy at UN member states also and call for tangible Multi Stakeholder spaces to be put in place and to function at national level.
- Forus needs to focus on domestic resource mobilization and tax avoidance. Huge resources are being lost to the developing world each year through tax avoidance and evasion. Global negotiations are ongoing on that. Forus should try to bring together different platforms to work on different work streams in this area.
- Forus should position itself as a facilitator in relation to the EU’s current negotiations of a new Agreement for the Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) agreement. Forus should position itself as a facilitator, playing a catalytic role and proposing and developing tools to properly integrate civil society into this process. Forus could position itself post-2020 in relation to the ACP negotiations in close collaboration with CONCORD. Forus should also use Goal 17 to talk with the EU about financial instruments post-2020.
- Forus should take a leadership role on consolidating and collecting information, data and case studies linked to Goal 16 & 17 and then should formulate reports. These could function as monitoring tools for members and could be produced by members, with facilitation from Forus. The network could facilitate inter-regional processes and share updates, information and case studies
More Forus members should join the new Forus Sub Working Groups on Goal 16 and 17. Those who are interested in doing so should email Deirdre at firstname.lastname@example.org