Sustainable development: new steps forward for a stronger collaboration between the UN Economic Commission for Europe and Civil Society

By Marion Steff, European Disability Forum

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Secretary General Olga Algayerova of Slovakia met with the ECE Regional Civil Society Mechanism (RCEM) on the first day of the High Level Political Forum in New York. EDF is an active member of the RCEM, as we coordinate the Constituency of Persons with Disabilities. We were therefore pleased to have a chance to talk with Secretary General Algayerova as well as Monika Linn, the Chief of the Sustainable Development and Gender Unit in the Office of the Executive Secretary of ECE.

Both were very keen to hear about the progress we made to organise ourselves as a strong and coordinated civil society platform, to ensure all voices are included in the regional processes around sustainable development.

Ms Algayerova explained that the next regional forum will be on 21-22 March 2019, with the CSO Forum the day before. The agenda and content will be decided after the summer, with a first coordination meeting in September, however the focus will most likely be on peer-learning.

The RCEM agreed to organise a working group to support the agenda and make recommendations for an efficient event. For instance, we suggested the possibility to organise parallel sessions for the SDGs under review, with, for instance presentations, by CSO of alternative reports such as EDF’s second human right report on the SDGs and the CRPD. We also asked for CSO speakers to be included in the programme, to have a clear and transparent system to submit side-events co-hosted by countries, and we also insisted on making the event accessible, with captioning for instance.  We also would like to have the possibility to input in any official documents to ensure the expertise and knowledge of CSO is recognised and valued.

The European Disability Forum is an independent NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities. EDF is a unique platform which brings together representative organisation of persons with disabilities from across Europe. EDF is run by persons with disabilities and their families. We are a front runner for disability rights. We are a strong, united voice of persons with disabilities in Europe.

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