Planning for the 66TH Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference is officially underway. The Conference will be held in the City of Gyeongju, southeast of Seoul. Gyeongju is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and was the capital city of the Silla dynasty until almost 1000 AD. This will be the first DPI/NGO
Scott Carlin, Ph.D.
conference ever held in Asia. The theme for this year’s conference is: Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together. In September 2015, the United Nations adopted seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a major milestone for the UN. These goals replace the eight Millennium Development Goals of 2000 to 2015. These SDGs are designed to:
Address the interlinked economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability;
Be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, aspirational, and universally applicable.
The 66th Annual Conference will use the theme of education as a springboard for engaging the seventeen SDGs. As Malala Yousafzai, a recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize notes, “All the SDGs come down to education.” As noted in the Conference Concept Note, “Three pillars of i) formal education, ii) informal education and training and iii) advocacy and public information will be examined as means to correct gender, ability, social, economic and other inequalities that create or perpetuate marginalization and disenfranchisement.”
The SDGs, coupled with the COP 21 Climate agreement in Paris (December 2015), offer opportunities for transforming north-south global relationships to improve global education, health, peace and social justice, clean water and climate protection. These are just a few of the critically important SDGs. The 66th Annual Conference is the first DPI/NGO conference since the historic adoption of the seventeen SDG goals. It is an important opportunity for NGOs to take a deeper look at the strengths and weaknesses of these SDGs and to develop coherent strategies for advancing the SDGs and the broader goals of sustainable, resilient and nonviolent civil societies.
Successful implementation of the SDGs requires not only the engagement of civil societies but also a stronger commitment to global citizenship. On this ever-shrinking planet, we are each others brothers and sisters. Global citizenship affirms our commitments to peace, sustainability, human rights, and the dignity of all people. Global citizenship rejects the propaganda of war. Global citizenship affirms that we are one human family, entitled to the same rights.
The full Concept Note can be read under the Conference link at http://outreach.un.org/ngorelations/. A call for Workshop Proposals will also be posted to this website mid-February.
Scott Carlin, Ph.D.
LIU Post and the International Society of Doctors for the Environment
Dr. Scott Carlin, Co-Chair of the 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference, is Associate Professor of Geography at Long Island University Post and teaches in the Master’s Program in Environmental Sustainability. He has been active in civil society initiatives at the UN for nearly a decade. Dr. Carlin is a national advisor to the Graduation Pledge Alliance (of Social and Environmental Responsibility), which is offered at colleges and universities around the world.