UN civil society summit in Kenya ends with call for sustainable future

  • World
  • Saturday, 11 May 2024

NAIROBI, May 10 (Xinhua) -- A two-day UN civil society conference concluded in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Friday, with delegates renewing a call for robust commitment to actions aimed at securing a sustainable future for humanity.

Kenyan President William Ruto and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres graced the closing ceremony of the first UN Civil Society conference. Ruto, in his remarks at the summit, emphasized the critical role civil society plays in shaping a sustainable, inclusive, peaceful and green future for the planet and its inhabitants.

He said that climate change, geopolitical tensions, technological disruptions, poverty and inequality pose threats to the transition to a sustainable future.

Ruto called upon social movements to advocate for policies that foster resilience, inclusivity and shared prosperity, emphasizing that civil society should be at the forefront of fighting exclusion, divisions, and unsustainable practices that could slow down the realization of sustainable development goals.

The summit, held under the theme "Shaping a Future of Global and Sustainable Progress," was attended by over 2,000 delegates from governments, multilateral institutions, industry, civil society, think tanks and academia. The conference, held in the lead-up to the Summit of the Future slated for New York from Sept. 22-23, sought to raise the voices of grassroots campaigners advocating for a more just, climate-resilient and equitable world.

The forum discussed the growing ecological crisis, the threat posed by emerging technologies, rising inequality linked to an outdated international financial architecture, and the eruption of conflicts. Delegates in their declaration pledged to galvanize action on threats to planetary health, fight disinformation, expand civic space, empower marginalized groups, and stand up against exclusionary policies championed by far-right politicians in some countries in the Global North.

Guterres urged civil society organizations to advocate for peace, justice, inclusive growth, environmental sustainability and gender parity to help realize the UN 2030 goals.

He said that the involvement of civil society will be key to renewing multilateralism and restructuring the international financial system to make it responsive to the needs and aspirations of developing countries.

Harnessing the expertise, networks and convening power of civil society groups will help unlock climate finance, boost conflict resolution, reshape governance and promote long-term stability, Guterres said.

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