“We know the power of people to be agents of change, to change themselves and change their communities.”
The inspiring opening session of the 65th Annual UN DPI NGO Conference held at UN Headquarters, New York (27 – 29 August 2014) opened the way for thematic round tables on Poverty Eradication and Fighting Inequalities, Sustainable Development, Human Rights and Climate Change, workshops and side events.
Our representatives joined the thousands of participants from around the world for the event. Doryne Kirby ibvm, Ann McGowan (Director, Mary Ward Center, Toronto), Mary-Eileen Donovan (Board Member Mary Ward Center), Gerry Graham (IBVM Associate), Evanne Hunter ibvm, all from Canada, along with more than two thousand participants gathered in New York for the 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference.
The DPI Conference was a great opportunity to become aware of people from other parts of the world. The voices, the stories, the diversity of people from civil society organizations reminded us of our globalized world. After the experience of the MDGs as a Development Agenda we are looking towards the future with a new vision as we prepare for the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
The focus of the Conference was on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the role of civil society. The interconnection between the various dimensions was constantly stressed, along with the complexity of goals, targets and indicators that are both universal and local. It obliges us to embrace the paradoxical realities of being focused and clear about what we can do and at the same time being open to the huge complexity of it all. There is no one solution.
The hope is for a person-centered development agenda. Given the limits of our planet, access to food, water, sanitation and energy, along with sustainable production and consumption of these resources, are basic challenges for our survival. The crucial question is: what can be done to go beyond a definition of human beings as merely consumers. A youth representative reminded the participants that “a moral and spiritual slumber has blinded us from seeing that we are travelling on the same journey”. “Our organizations, he said,” must go beyond the material journey and heal the soul as well”.
The implementation of the post 2015 agenda will be crucial. Questions as to how the post 2015 Agenda will be financed and how, and by whom, the outcomes will be measured require further elaboration. The Conference Declaration provides civil society an opportunity to contribute to the negotiations of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.