Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together.
Republic of Korea to Host Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations Conference in Gyeongju, 30 May—1 June
Event to Enable Focus on Education in Pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals
The 66th United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference will be held in the City of Gyeongju, Republic of Korea from 30 May to 1 June 2016. The Conference title is “Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together.” The Conference will take place in the first year of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by United Nations (UN) Member States in September 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure human rights and prosperous and fulfilling lives for all, as part of a new sustainable development agenda to be achieved by 2030. This year, 2016, is a globally unprecedented opportunity to spark these transformational changes, following also on the successful conclusion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP) agreement in Paris in December 2015.
Co-sponsored by the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, the Conference is an important opportunity to mobilise global civil society around the Sustainable Development Goals. Conference participants will strive to define culturally appropriate international and regional messaging, learning and advocacy strategies, partnerships and governmental accountability frameworks including financing for development. By focusing on education for global citizenship, the 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference aims to build on the centrality of education and global citizenship as the bedrock of sustainable development and climate action. The 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference is the first in the Conference’s history to be held in Asia. The first 60 conferences were held in New York at United Nations Headquarters, as was the 65th conference. In between, the conference was held in Paris, Mexico City, Melbourne and Bonn.
Global citizenship is no longer an ideal, but rather a requirement for creating a peaceful, just, and environmentally sustainable world of interconnected societies. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), global citizenship education “aims to empower learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world.” Education for global citizenship should support innovative pedagogies aligned with these ideals and the Sustainable Development Goals. The purpose of this Conference, rooted in Sustainable Development Goal number 4, is to harness strategies, expertise and resources across the widest spectrum of civil society to unleash a range of education initiatives that ensure inclusive, safe and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 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, and thus, hinder achievement of Goal 4, and each of the additional sixteen Sustainable Development Goals. The expertise and reach of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF),
United Nations Academic Impact Initiative (UNAI) and other partners within and beyond the United Nations system will help bridge inclusive discussions across the spectrum of education communities.
Attendees at the Conference will finalize an education action agenda to mobilize civil society – its local and international NGOs, networks and activists, as well as academics, educators, policy makers, businesses and youth, reflecting the aspirations and ambitions of all global citizens, in the spirit of leaving no one behind. This agenda will be drafted through a global multi-stakeholder consultation process, leading up to and during the Conference. The agenda will be offered for adoption at the final plenary session of the Conference, and will be shared widely with civil society as well as UN Member States, UN Organizations and the UN Secretary-General.
The Hosts are the Republic of Korea, the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, which represents the NGOs associated with DPI, and the National Organizing Committee of Korea. The Conference Planning Committee shall make every effort to ensure that perspectives from diverse teaching communities; north/south; gender; youth; older persons; indigenous peoples; faith-based organizations; persons with disabilities; LGBTQI persons; global geographic areas; thematic/expert constituencies; and international networks (including the sustainable development and climate change constituencies) are represented.
The Conference will be held in the City of Gyeongju, located on the South-Eastern part of the Korean peninsula. Gyeongju is the capital city of the Silla dynasty (57BC-935AD), which achieved unification of the Korean Peninsula for the first time in history, and is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The Conference will be held at Hwabaek International Convention Center (HICO), which offers state-of-the-art facilities for meetings and exhibits.
Programme and Format:
The Conference Planning Committee will be responsible for developing all elements of the programme, which shall include opening and closing plenary sessions, interactive roundtables, workshops organized by conference participants, exhibits and side events to engage attendees, as well as a Conference reception. NGOs at large will be invited to offer their support in organizing the Conference, and to propose workshops, exhibits, off-site and side events inspired by the spirit of this concept note, to enrich the Conference programme and inform the action agenda.
The 65th UN DPI/NGO Conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York City was attended by an estimated 2,200 NGO representatives from some 700 NGOs hailing from an estimated 100 countries. In this 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference, NGOs are encouraged to support participation by their own representatives, including youth representatives, and also to support the participation of NGO representatives and voices from vulnerable communities most affected by poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change to contribute to and benefit from the gathering. NGOs that are associated with DPI or in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in addition to universities members of UNAI will automatically be able to register. Other organizations and institutions are encouraged to register and must demonstrate active support for UN values and ideals through their activities and mission statements.
The SDGs and Paris Agreement provide a comprehensive global action agenda for the years 2016 to 2030. These intensely negotiated agreements offer the international community a bold, people-centered and planet-sensitive development framework that requires transformational changes in governance and institutional performance. This Conference will provide an inclusive space focused on education for global citizenship as the key to advancing the SDGs.
Organized in cooperation with the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, the NGO community, the Government of the Republic of Korea and the National Organizing Committee of Korea, the Conference will be held under the theme “Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together”. It will be the first time for the DPI/NGO Conference to be held in Asia.
The Conference provides a unique opportunity for participating NGOs to engage members of civil society, diplomats, United Nations officials, policy experts, scientists, educators, businesses, trade unions, parliamentarians, local authorities and others from around the world in discussing key issues relevant during that given year. The 2016 Conference will focus on creating and strengthening global partnerships in support of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The support of civil society as a whole and NGOs and academia in particular will be key to our ability to achieve the sustainable development goals,” said Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division of the United Nations Department of Public Information. He continued, “We are very proud of our partnership with NGOs and universities and believe that the Gyeongju Conference offers a great opportunity to mobilize civil society’s creative talent and energy to support Agenda 2030 and beyond.”
This is the fifth time that the DPI/NGO Conference is taking place outside United Nations Headquarters in New York. Taking it “on the road” again in 2016 will offer an opportunity to forge new strategic partnerships with NGOs in the Asia region and maximize the participation of regional and local authorities, institutions and other relevant stakeholders.
“The Republic of Korea is pleased to host the sixty-sixth UN DPI/NGO Conference in Gyeongju,” said Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations. “We are committed to an inclusive planning process that will allow NGOs, Governments and a broad array of stakeholders to come together at the Conference and ensure that education in all of its forms is leveraged to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The National Organizing Committee of Korea, co-chaired by the President of Handong Global University, Soon-heung Chang, and the President of the National Council of Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) Korea, Il-ha Yi, will work with education and civil society partners, as well as local authorities to support every aspect of the Conference planning and ensure that attendees have a positive and constructive experience in Gyeongju. Mr. Chang observed: “We are thrilled that Korean academia and civil society have this opportunity to play a concrete role in catalysing implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals that can have lasting positive effects for millions.”
Two Conference chairs have been identified through a global online nomination process. Scott Carlin, Associate Professor of Geography at Long Island University and Yukang Choi, CEO of Korean NGO Dream Touch for All, will share the responsibility of shepherding the Conference planning process and multi-stakeholder consultations on the Conference outcome document.
“Education is an essential starting point for global NGO engagement on SDG implementation strategies,” said Mr. Carlin. “The potential for academia and civil society to work together is enormous; through new collaborations, innovative pedagogies and a culture of global citizenship we can build healthier, more resilient Earth communities.”
Mr. Choi added: “Korea is a shining example of how a focus on education can drive rapid and successful development. Korean NGOs will offer a strong platform in Gyeongju for NGOs from around the world to exchange best practices and cooperate in support of Agenda 2030.”
The last DPI/NGO Conference, held under the theme “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda”, was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 27 to 29 August 2014. More than 2,200 NGO delegates, representing some 700 organizations from approximately 100 countries took part in the premier United Nations forum for civil society, which resulted in the adoption of a robust Conference Outcome Document reflecting civil society contributions in support of the negotiations on the development of the Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information about the sixty-sixth DPI/NGO Conference, please contact:
Department of Public Information —Jeffrey Brez, Co-Chair, Conference Planning Committee, and Chief, NGO Relations and Advocacy,
or mobile: +1 917 328 6736
Republic of Korea (NGO Community) — Yukang Choi, Co-Chair, Conference Planning Committee, and CEO, Dream Touch for All,
or tel.: +82 2 6053 0041
and Civil Society — Bruce Knotts, Chair, NGO/DPI Executive Committee,
or mobile: +1 617 948 4287 and +1 703 629 5212.
In support of the upcoming66th Annual UN DPI.NGO Conference, e-circulated by:
TV Producer and Head
NGO Representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information
The Light Millennium – A Public Benefit Multi-Media Organization
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