On June 22, Rebecca Nelson, our executive director, participated in an interactive hearing with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This consultation with organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC focused on the relationship between civil society organizations and the UN, and how these relationships have been developing. As an NGO with consultative status, America Solidaria was eager to give feedback and participate in the hearing. Other organizations involved with the hearing included CIVICUS, Amnesty International, the League of Women Voters, and representatives from many other prominent NGOs connected from Geneva and Mexico City as well as New York.
In her statement, Rebecca emphasized the challenges the Global South faces to fully participating in UN policymaking. She stated that, through its extensive network of local organizations, America Solidaria and similarly structured NGOs can extend the UN’s global reach and impact. Our work with ECLAC and UNICEF has increased awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America, especially within the youth population. America Solidaria has also been able to participate in other UN policymaking groups, such as the Major Group on Children and Youth and the Volunteer Groups Alliance.
Rebecca also suggested linking UN Country Teams and local NGOs with consultative status to further dialogue between the UN and local organizations, as well as promoting dialogues between regional and national NGOs with consultative status. These interactions and relationships would foster an exchange of knowledge between member-states and local organizations to further necessary development in the country.
Other organizations at the hearing brought up additional points, including the need to host meetings in different locations to make them more accessible to organizations based in developing countries and to mentor new organizations who might be unaware of what their consultative status allows them to do. We hope that America Solidaria’s and the other NGOs’ suggestions from this hearing will bring about a lasting change to how the UN sees NGOs, in addition to enabling greater participation from countries from the Global South.