Director-General’s Briefing with NGOs

On the 16th of April, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, invited the leaders of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC to a briefing on the Secretary-General’s five-year action agenda. The meeting focused on the key challenges before the United Nations and the role of civil society in addressing these challenges. Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s agenda consisted of five priorities: sustainable development, prevention, world safety and security, supporting nations in transition, and working with and for women and young people.

In regards to sustainable development, the Secretary-General stressed the need to accelerate the progress of the Millennium Development Goals, address climate change and forge a consensus around a post-2015 sustainable development framework. Secondly, the focus on prevention requires the strengthening of national disaster risk reduction plans, building resilience to external economic shocks and promoting conflict prevention mechanisms; in fact Mr. Tokayev highlighted the importance of disarmament efforts in light of the 1.2 trillion dollars collectively spent by Governments on arms in 2011. In addition to this, Mr.Ban Ki-moon’s agenda promotes world safety and security through a call for stronger partnerships for peacekeeping, and better support for counter-terrorism efforts while combating organized crime and drug trafficking. Furthermore, nations in transition require increased accountability against impunity and strategic collaborations with stakeholders. Lastly, the five-year action agenda emphasizes the advancement of women and young people through the promotion of the United Nations’ campaign to end violence against women, women’s political participation worldwide and an action plan for women’s full participation in social and economic recovery. Most importantly, the five-year action agenda addresses the major challenge of creating jobs for today’s generation of young people by calling for existing programs on employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, rights’ protection and education to deepen their focus on the youth. To aid in this priority, the United Nations will execute an action plan, create a youth volunteer program under the UN Volunteers organization, as well as appoint a new Special Advisor for Youth. For the full implementation of these priorities, Mr. Ban Ki-moon underlined in his five-year action agenda the UN’s commitment to engage in multi-stakeholder partnerships to meet the challenges of today’s constantly changing world.