The Global Strategy meeting between UNFPA and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on ICPD Beyond 2014 and the Post 2015 Development Agenda was held from 23-25 January 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. The aim of the meeting was to ensure meaningful engagement of civil society organizations, including youth networks, among which Y-PEER, YouAct, Youth Coalition and others to ensure that the outcomes of the ICPD Beyond 2014 review process are taken forward and integrated in the best possible way into the post 2015 agenda.
“The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will end in 2015. In September 2015, the United Nations will agree on and adopt the framework that will replace the Goals: these are known as the Sustainable Development Goals. The international community and stakeholders – such as country governments (known as ‘UN Member States’), UN agencies and civil society organizations – are currently working to influence what issues will be prioritized in the next framework.”1
The challenging phase of negotiating and agreeing on the post 2015 agenda is a vital time for involving young people and advocating for sexual reproductive health and rights perspectives. The presence of the youth networks representatives in the discussion towards 2015 and beyond is important to ensuring that youth priorities are not left out. The team composed of Irina Janevska (Y-PEER Macedonia), Yevgeniy Vlassov (Y-PEER Kazakhstan) and Ana Rizescu (YouAct) participated in the meeting to ensure the Youth Voice from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region is being heard. Fellow Y-PEER colleagues from Jordan – Dareen Abu Lail and Maha Al Saad as well as other youth representatives contributed to bringing the global youth perspectives.
As youth activists, working on field with peers and advocating at national level is part of our daily responsibility. That is one level and one area of the cross-cutting work that we do. The other area of our work is the one where we see all our actions, partnerships and collaborations as part of a wider effort – one that connects us with the regional and international levels. The ICPD Beyond 2014 and post 2015 agenda are such an example, where all our efforts are joined at international scale. Even prior to this meeting, the civil society sector actively participated in the ICPD thematic review conferences and other preparatory regional meetings. Now, the Global Strategy meeting between UNFPA and Civil Society Organizations built on previous dialogues and offered the opportunity for the CSO community and youth representatives to contribute towards the ongoing conversations and bring their voice in the discussions, provide meaningful inputs and plan further.
During the 3 days meeting, presentations were delivered by UNFPA representatives, experts, partners and CSO representatives, each followed by interactive discussions. The first day interactive discussions addressed participants’ views on the ICPD Beyond 2014 review, the political environment linked to national and international contexts, the challenges and opportunities around the post 2015 processes, as well as strategic collaborations and best practices for an effective CSO contribution.
The second day sessions covered the topics on Monitoring and accountability for the Post 2015 Development Agenda and Financing for Development. The interactive discussion were included in the sessions and participants gave their opinions and insights on the importance on defining funding trends which should improve the position of sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues which are not well addressed. At the discussion considerable time was given to discussing how all aspects of SRHR can be supported, and furthermore how governments can ensure meaningful CSO participation.
As youth representatives, one of our highlights taken from the sessions would be the importance on increased funding to policies and programmes dedicated to adolescents and youth. We strongly believe that the importance on securing funding for sexual and reproductive health requires full attention in the post 2015 processes, and only through it- targets and goals on SRHR can be met. The second part of the day was dedicated to working in small groups where participants discussed different topics: Strategic issues and linkages; Advocacy Strategies, Engagements/Partnerships between Civil Society, private sector and UNFPA, Financing for Development, followed by panel discussion where the outcomes were presented. Special attention was put on the revision of the indicators and revision of the Post 2015 Declaration where groups contributed with own inputs and remarks. Ana Rizescu, YouAct Coordinator from Romania was one of the small groups moderator and with the support of the groups’ rapporteurs, she presented the outcomes and recommendations in plenary.
“Meaningful Youth Participation in the design of the post 2015 agenda is essential to achieve sustainable development. This is one of our Youth Messages we have been sharing on the social media platforms and EECA YouthVoice website. But a thought shared today by one of the speakers still resonates with me “ A priority is something that has funds”. We should look closer at the potential and opportunities for going forward but we do need a strong call for focus on youth, focus on SRHR targets and of course –finances for all that. “ Irina
The last day, Y-PEER International Coordinator – Dareen Abu Lail presented the summarized the meeting’s main action points for ICPD Beyond 2014 and post 2015 work forward. The meeting concluded with an Open Forum lead by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the UNFPA Executive Director, where participants joined a dynamic and fruitful discussion.
Youth participation at this type of meetings, and networking with the aim of creating stronger platforms for further joint acting and leveling up the youth voice and participation is crucial. This event gave us opportunity for strengthening relations and building stronger coalitions. Also, the meeting provided us with the chance to familiarize ourselves closers with the Calendar for the post-201 5 development agenda and related processes and opened many perspectives on where and when we can act and make more meaningful contributions. So, until our next reporting from another important event, we greet you and we invite you to check the space here for more info and insights.
“Youth Voice” activist
1 Post-2015 made simple: Shaping the future of sexual and reproductive health and rights [Internet]. 1st ed. London: The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); 2014 [cited 1 February 2015]. Available from: http://www.ippf.org/sites/default/files/pp_ippf_post2015madesimple_web.pdf