HLPF update: day four

11 July 2022


Our focus at HLPF 2022 is to share our eight calls to action developed by members in reflection of the Sendai Framework Mid-Term Review – and integrate the voice of civil society on localisation and risk-informed development.

Becky Murphy, GNDR Policy Lead and UNDRR Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism (SEM) Co-Chair is representing GNDR at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York from 5-12 July 2022.

These are the key messages coming from key sessions in day four of the conference:

NGO Major Group / UNmute civil society day

  • Hosted by the NGO Major Group and UNmute civil society campaign at the Ford Foundation in New York 
  • The day focused on the need to include civil society more meaningfully in UN systems, processes and decision making
  • The President of ECOSOC stated that we need to meaningfully engage the communities on the ground in the UN process; the UN system needs to open space to civil society and civil society needs to bing the voice of the communities living on the front line of risk 
  • Key messages included: civil society is essential to achieve the SDGs; the role of civil society in bringing the voice of the community on the front line of risk to the table and  in breaking down the silos and bringing people together
  • Also, coming through were messages on the importance of community voice, youth, women leadership and gender equality 
  • The pandemic has set us back in the SDG progress and inclusion
  • Covid has been used as an excuse to shrink civil society space and prevent civil society from being in the room 
  • Message from member state: yes civil society needs to put pressure on member states in order to hold us to account but we must also be in partnership and figure out a way to work together; don’t look at intergovernmental processes as the enemy but work with us, together, in partnership 
  • Message from member state: we must overcome the challenge of space of civil society both at global and national levels 
  • Message from the NGO Major Group: we must remember that the UN is for the people, not the member states, so we need the people in the room 
  • Must take a rights-based approach to all of the UN frameworks and systems
  • How do we break down the silos together? 
  • We must work together in the lead up to next year – the SDG mid-term review and the Summit for the Future in 2023; use this opportunity; influence your member state too, not just the UN 
  • We must work across borders and civil society is really well placed to do this
  • We must realign goal 17 on partnerships to be stronger 
  • We would like to see the UN profiling civil society better 
  • Civil society needs to be included in the ministerial deceleration 
  • We need radical optimism going forward with a shared responsibility 

Read more about the UNmute civil society day at HLPF22

GNDR co-chaired a breakout session on engaging civil society on the UNDRR (Sendai Framework) and key lessons from the GPDRR and the need to integrate messages across UN framework 

What has been the learning of the past year in terms of CSO participation at the UN?

  • Here this year in the HLPF there is not a lot of space for the civil society 
  • There is not enough space of civil society here to engage 
  • Give space and resources 
  • They are giving much more priority to the government but we as civil society are needed at the table too
  • We only get 1 min here to speak as civil society in these sessions – it is just not enough 
  • Need to invite and support the whole of society to be there 
  • Comparison to UNDRR and the Global Platform for DRR: at the GPDRR 2022 it was a much more constructive space, much more inclusive, with UNDRR you are in, you are there, your voice is heard
  • One positive with how  at HLPF the major groups are asked to choose speakers from the stakeholder groups, whereas usually UNDRR pick themselves
  • However, UNDRR  reach out to civil society to be in the room, to engage and to bring civil society voice
  • Recommendation: we need to increase the capacity of civil society to understand the Sendai Framework and how to advocate at the national level 

What steps can be taken to strengthen the opportunity for engagement and dialogue in the coming year?

  • Increase the awareness of the different UN systems and structures – like UNDRR
  • Capacity development on the framework of DRR for civil society 
  • Engage multi stakeholder government – security, private – all of society 
  • Localise
  • Reduce fracturing / division in civil society 
  • Must focus on implementation 
  • Need recognition from the government on DRR – make sure policy is reaching the local level; very important to recognise civil society in national framework of DRR 
  • How to make sure laws and policies are including civil society in the DRR policies and laws at the local level
  • GNDR presented back and introduced GNDR and the UNDRR SEM to the SDG focused NGO major group; increasing awareness of GNDR and the UNDRR SEM to approx 70 CSOs in the room and a further 100 online 
  • Key takeaway: reduce the silos of our engagement, take advantage of the opportunities that do exist such as with UNDRR
  • Key question: how do we make the VNRs (SDG Voluntary National Reviews)  more accountable and more participatory? How do we make sure we are leaving no one behind in  the VNRs?
  • Read more about the work of UNmute civil society
  • The last session of the day called on civil society to get involved in a campaign called Act4SDG: Flip the script on climate, peace and justice under the hashtag #act4sdg on 25 September 2022



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