By Juan Chebly, World We Want 2015 Coordinator
Do you think we can we have an open, inclusive and transparent UN system?
Back in 2012, after a decade of international efforts to end poverty, the world was ready to start thinking of a new Sustainable Development Agenda. To be launched in 2015, this agenda is to be the “most inclusive development agenda the world has ever seen” according to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Following this mandate, the United Nations and Civil Society kick-started a ‘Global Conversation’ to be captured by the World We Want 2015 platform. A joint venture between the UN system and civil society organizations, with oversight by an open and multi-stakeholder Policy Strategy Group (PSG), worldwewant2015.org features voices from more than 8 million people worldwide. The synthesis and aggregation of consultations has been fed into the official post-2015 political global process as Peoples’ Voices Briefs.
In order to make sense of the massive and substantive wealth of information being gathered by the Global Conversation, cutting-edge data-mining technology and powerful visualizations were designed and purpose built. The Visualizing Peoples’ Voices App has been featuring hundreds of outcome documents from UN-led and Civil Society-led consultations worldwide, and has been the main tool for the UN system to understand and make sense out of the ‘Global Conversation’ on post-2015.
After the first two sessions of post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations and working closely with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Millennium Campaign has added new capabilities to the World We Want 2015 platform that allow anyone to quickly see which member states and civil society organizations are supporting specific thematic areas during the post-2015 negotiations. This powerful tool gives you a bird’s eye view of everything that has formally been submitted, and can help target specific supportive messages to specific member states as well as building novel, issue-based advocacy partnerships across traditional regional boundaries.
Never before have negotiations been visible through such an open way in near-real-time. A particularly interesting use of this tool is to see which countries are advocating for the same things, though they might not readily know each other’s positions. For example, the EU, the LDC bloc, Canada, Turkey and Japan are all advocating for “Private Investment”, and a group of 10 member states, including Pakistan, New Zealand and the USA are all specifically mentioning the importance of the “energy+health” nexus. It is also interesting to compare and contrast what member states said in January with the positions of civil society groups.
As negotiations on ‘review and follow up’ of the post-2015 agenda happen later this May, it will be interesting to see how citizen participation in the style of the ‘Global Conversation’, including the MY World Survey, and extensive UN and Civil Society consultations, can be institutionalized. Social participation is key to achieving social inclusion and accountability, where governments are accountable to their people. After all, better informed governments can make better decisions, and innovative tools such as the People’s Voices App can help bridge this gap.
For more information, see the guide on how to visualize member state declarations via support.worldwewant2015.org