Thousands to Participate in United Nations Annual Civil Society Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 26-28 August

12 July 2019

Thousands to Participate in United Nations Annual Civil Society Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 26-28 August

Activists battling climate change, a former child soldier and health workers pioneering new treatments around the world are among thousands of participants who will gather in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 26 to 28 August at the sixty-eighth annual United Nations Civil Society Conference for a global conversation on building inclusive and sustainable cities and communities.

The Utah capital is the first city in the United States to host the annual conference outside United Nations Headquarters in New York, reflecting the city’s leadership and demonstrated commitment on sustainability issues.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said:  “I can think of no better time or place than Salt Lake City, for the United Nations to reintroduce its vision, mission, and values to the American people.  With everything we are doing to build a sustainable and resilient city, from investing in more equitable transit and housing to becoming a clean energy city — Salt Lake City is the perfect place to have these important conversations.”

Alison Smale, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, said:  “In visiting Salt Lake City I was struck by the rapid growth and innovation there, symbolized by the construction cranes dotting the beautiful mountain landscape, and by the sense of opportunity as young people flock to the region for its educational and job offerings.  It is a great setting for a global conversation on inclusion and sustainability in cities and communities of all sizes.”

Maruxa Cardama, Secretary General of the non-governmental organization Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SloCaT), who will chair the event, explained:  “The Sustainable Development Goals are a global framework for cooperation to tackle the great challenges of our day.  Cities are growing so quickly that it is imperative we build them thoughtfully and make extra efforts to ensure that no person or group is left behind.  Our outcome document will reflect what civil society demands from Governments and corporations, but most importantly what we ourselves can concretely do as empowered citizens to ensure our communities are inclusive and sustainable.”

Draft elements of the Conference outcome document and a survey have been posted on the conference website for public comment ahead of the event.  Youth representatives of civil society are playing a leadership role and have posted their own survey to develop a stand-alone youth declaration on the communities of the future.

Youth co-chairs Ali Mustafa and Madison Denkers stressed:  “We are carving out a dedicated space within the conference for youth-led conversations, and as equal partners are contributing to every aspect of planning and the broader outcome document.  We want not only to be visible as part of the legacy of this conference but also to inform the broader conversation on behalf of youth around the world who will inherit this earth.”

The civil society co-host, the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, is based in New York and represents the more than 1,500 civil society organizations that are formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications.  “This conference is meaningful for NGOs and civil society organizations around the world because we are not simply invited by the United Nations to share our views but we are equal partners who are shaping the dialogue and making a substantive difference in the strategic planning to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” added Bruce Knotts, Chair of the Committee.

For more information, please contact:  Jeff Brez, Chief of the NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section, at the United Nations Department of Global Communications:; +1 212 963 8070.

Matt Rojas, Director of Communications, Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office:, +1 801 535 6040.

For Further Reference

Conference website:

Concept Note:


Outcome Document and Online Consultation:

Youth Survey:

The United Nations Civil Society Conference (previously known as the Department of Public Information (DPI) Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference) is the premier event in the civil society calendar at the United Nations.  It typically attracts more than 3,000 participants representing over 700 civil society organizations from over 100 countries.  Each Conference focuses on a different United Nations topic of interest related to the work of civil society and NGOs.  This international forum also brings together senior United Nations system officials, prominent international civil society organizations, academicians, public opinion makers and international media to discuss issues of global concern.  More on the United Nations Civil Society Conference:

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.  At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are an urgent call for action by all countries — developed and developing — in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth — all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

More on the Sustainable Development Goals:

For information media. Not an official record.