Secretary-General candidate responses to question 5

Jane Alver

Australia – WYCA Australia & Center for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at University of Canberra

How will you ensure the crucial involvement of civil society is valued and not further eroded?


Ms. Helen Clark’s answer

I am a firm believer in drawing in the wisdom and experience of civil society.  They have a valuable contribution to make to the work of the UN.  There is scope to make the UN more accessible and an exciting digital space for dialogue by using modern communications proactively.


Mr. Miroslav Lajčák’s answer

I think the United Nations can only benefit in its work from the vision, leadership and work of civil society on many issues of global importance, including climate change, development or human rights.


Dr. Igor Lukšić’s answer

Given the importance of civil society to human rights, peace and security and development, if elected as next UN Secretary General, I will undertake activities towards enhancing consultation with civil society, as it played key roles in defining milestones agreements. Thus, I strongly believe that today’s world needs to see strategic partnerships between the UN, civil society, private sector and governments. We must unlock potential of all mentioned actors in order to fully implement UN’s vast agenda. Therefore, it is obvious that UN leadership has to be able to mobilize the UN system, Member States, civil society, private sector and scientific community to ensure transformative changes take place to achieve the concluded agreements.


Dr. Danilo Türk’s answer

In my long experience of work at the United Nations I have seen a growing role of the civil society organizations, not an erosion. Many of the UN priorities today, in particular in areas of development, environment and human rights came into being as a result of NGO activity and pressure. The implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, the UN human rights agenda and humanitarian work will increasingly depend on the cooperation of civil society groups with the UN and within the UN. The question is what should be the nature of involvement of civil society groups in the UN the future. I am encouraged that the Economic and Social Council in its decisions on consultative relationship between the NGOs and the UN insisted on the need to take into account the full diversity of NGOs at the national, regional and international levels.