LWF joins call to ensure civil society participation at UN SDG forum

LWF is joining other civil society organizations to ensure the participation of non-government organizations at this year’s High-Level Political Forum  Photo: LWF/S. Cox
LWF is joining other civil society organizations to ensure the participation of non-government organizations at this year’s High-Level Political Forum Photo: LWF/S. Cox

“Experience on the ground can contribute to global discussions”

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has joined a call by 460 civil society organizations to ensure the participation of non-government organizations at this year’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). The purpose of the HLPF, scheduled for 7-16 July 2020, is to evaluate the global implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Organizations are concerned that measures are not in place to ensure their meaningful participation in the meeting, which will take place virtually due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We as churches have invested significantly in the implementation of the SDGs and our experience on the ground could contribute to global level discussions such as those in the HLPF”, says Isaiah Toroitich, LWF Head of Global Advocacy.

Fear that voices will be “muted”

The LWF through the initiative “Waking the Giant”, builds on the potential of the 148 LWF member churches to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. At the national level, Waking the Giant helps to establish and strengthen the link between faith-based actors, relevant government ministries and UN agencies. It facilitates joint planning and new partnerships to further strengthen the churches’ engagement.

Like the almost 500 signatories of the letter, LWF also fears that the perspective gathered in working with local communities will be lost if the virtual conference does not open up sufficient spaces for civil society actors, including churches. The organizations urge the UN member states to adjust formal procedures in order to ensure visibility and participation of civil society.

“About people and communities”

As countries evaluate the efforts made to address issues such as civil freedoms, gender equality and poverty, “It is vital that civil society actors actively participate to provide insights into the impacts of efforts made to general populations around the world,” the letter reads.

“The SDGs are about people and communities,” Toroitich adds. “Without the meaningful participation of civil society in the High-level Political Forum, the entire agenda loses meaning. No one should be left behind in the SDGs work”.