Greentree, New York

15 April 2015

Secretary-General's message to International Civil Society Center Reception on Strategic Cooperation between the UN and Civil Society Organizations [delivered by Mr. Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change]

I am pleased to send greetings to this important meeting.  This year is a unique opportunity to make history for the future of people and the planet.  It is the year for global action on an ambitious and transformative post-2015 development agenda, including new sustainable development goals.  It is the year for governments to reach a meaningful, global agreement on climate change.  And last, but not least, 2015 is also the 70th anniversary of the UN’s founding.

There can be no better way to celebrate the UN’s birth than by working in close partnership with civil society to build a safer, more equitable and habitable world for ourselves and for those who come after us.

The Millennium Development Goals have shown how working together can deliver results.  We have achieved much over the past fifteen years.  But our work is far from over.  Moreover, climate change threatens to undo years of hard-earned development gains.  That is why I ask you to take the next step with us to realize the promise of the post-2015 development agenda. 

I have four requests of you today.  First, continue to raise your voices and advocate for the rights and needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.  Second, mobilize your constituencies.  We need all hands on deck to ensure that governments respond to the demands of society and adopt the sustainable development goals and an ambitious agreement in Paris.

Third, continue to collaborate with each other, and with other sectors of society, so that the sum is greater than the parts.  The Climate Summit that I convened, and the climate march organized by civil society last September, are excellent examples of the power of creative collaboration.

Fourth, I ask you to reflect on what a strong partnership between civil society and the UN should look like as we move from advocacy to implementing the post 2015 sustainable development agenda.  Do we have the right organizational mechanisms in place to maximize efficiency and minimize duplication?  How do we ensure transparency and accountability?  How should we measure progress, and communicate this to our stakeholders?

I thank you for your continued leadership and commitment.  I wish you a productive discussion.