NGOs & SDGs: Happy Together?

Civil Society and Global Goals – lessons for engagement in the era of the SDGs

By Mike Rowson* on July 22, 2016

At a time when major discussions on the SDGs are ongoing at the high-level ministerial discussion on the SDGs taking place at the UN this week (as well as other global fora such as AIDS2016 and UNCTAD), researchers Julia Smith, Kent Buse and Case Gordon have published a valuable reflection on the role of civil society in achieving the global goals.

The authors acknowledge the ambitious nature of the goals – including goal three on health – and the need to engage with stakeholders, including civil society organizations, in achieving them. Those of us who have worked in civil society will recognize the facilitating roles that the authors set out for CSOs, including building coalitions, democratizing debates, acting as watchdogs and leading the transformation of health systems to make them more participatory and multisectoral. The authors in the paper highlight the role of CSOs and illustrate them with inspiring examples of change and good practice.

But how far can these effective examples line-up in the face of the scale of demands presented by the SDGs? And do the SDGs represent a good vision of the changes that NGOs should be lobbying for in the first place?

Read more

On The Road to WHO4ALL 2017

WHO4ALL_Democrat_280pxThe World Health Organization (WHO) and its annual Assembly (WHA) determine the policies that affect the health and well being of billions of people in communities around the world. However, only the delegates from Member States (governments) have a say in these decisions. As the mantra of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is “Leave no one behind”, we think that the WHO must be reminded of “Nothing about us without us” – that the participation of the community in the design and implementation of all health policies is essential for achieving the global goals of the 2030 Agenda. It’s also our human right.

Our response to the exclusion of marginalised people and communities in the decision-making process of the UN’s World Health Organization, is WHO4ALL. It’s a participatory tool towards making the WHO more inclusive, democratic and open, while building bridges across many sectors of civil society engaged in advancing the different elements of the Right to Health. Specifically, WHO4ALL is a series of online events that connect WHO policy-making meetings with the public to provide both a bottom-up amplifier of community voices and a small step towards a future of accountability up at the top. It’s not the ’meaningful participation’ that we demand, but it’s a loud knock on the doors of the Ivory Tower.

Following on from WHO4ALL at the recent World Health Assembly in May, and with the encouragement of many of the ‘moderators’ that help the event including Rob Yates, ITPC, Kent Buse, Sarah Hawkes, Mat Southwell, Teresia Njoki & the Athena Network, Shamiso Zinzombe, Claire Morris, Jim Cleary, Eric Friedman, Benjamin Meier Justin Mendoza and others, we are now preparing the next WHO4ALL events beginning in October 2016.  Come meet-up and speak-up — join us on the road to the WHO’s Executive Board meeting and the WHA 2017.

#WHO4ALL — Open to all.
Join @WHO4ALL on twitter