33rd Informal Working Breakfast on Agenda 2030

Rethinking the role of civil society in an evolving UN system and Agenda 2030

To look back at the history of Civil Society engagement at the UN, 1946 marked the setting up of the UN and the Charter where relationships with civil society were established and ECOSOC was deemed as the body for engagement. The 1993 review and 1994 Resolution govern the relationship with Civil Society today. At present, the universality and inclusive nature of Agenda 2030 calls for more than the UN is doing and requires more in terms of implementation and accountability. There is a need of fit for purpose and effective partnerships. Therefore, the need for all hands on deck – private, public, individuals, and civil society.


Civil Society at the UN has the desire to collaborate and to ensure the goals of the UN are achieved and while civil society participation is praised in principle it is marginalized in practice. Often CSOs see themselves being treated as lesser partners even if it is recognize that their input at every level offers invaluable insights into reality and challenges that must be addressed.

The post 2015 process created unprecedented mobilization and participation of civil society in the negotiation of Agenda 2030. Thereafter the question that arises now is: how will the HLPF engage with civil society? Furthermore, CSOs accredited at the UN tend to represent more established, affluent, international NGOs, but how can NGOs working at the national and local level express their needs at the international level? These and other questions were discussed by a diverse group of stakeholders that attended the working breakfast on the role of civil society in advancing Agenda 2030. To read more here is a link to the notes.