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Open Letter on Global CSO Coalition-building on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We members of the Asia Development Alliance (ADA) and undersigned participants would like to share our collective views on the issues related to the global civil society coalition-building on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Bangkok Proposal”

1. We members of the Asia Development Alliance (ADA) and undersigned participants would like to share our collective views on the issues related to the global civil society coalition-building on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2. We would particularly like to draw the attention of leaders of global civil society organizations and networks such as “So Now What (SNW)”, Together 2030, CIVICUS, International Federation of NGO National Platforms (IFP), Climate Action Network (CAN), Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) and other international NGOs who have engaged in the global campaigns on the post-2015 developmenet agenda such as Beyond 2015 and action/2015 last few years.

3. All of us who gathered in Bangkok this time felt that this was a particular opportune time as international community had just entered a 15-year period of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

4. Our views are based on the various sessions on CSO engagement on SDGs at national, sub-regional, regional and global levels and follow-up discussion on the position and proposal of ADA on the evening of 10 Jan among mainly ADA members and key partners during the ADA annual meeting held in Bangkok on 9 to 11 January 2016

5. The following persons have made presentation on the topics as a way of input for wider discussion among participants.
a) “So Now What (SNW)” by Beckie Malay, member of Transition Team of SNW
b) Together 2030 by Gomer Padong, PSEN, member of the Founding Members
c) Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) by Pradeep Baisakh, GCAP-Asia Secretariat
d) UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) Major Group and other Stakeholders (MGoS) system, by Jeff Huffines, CIVICUS Representative to the UN in New York
e) Asia-Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (AP-RCEM) by Wandarina, APWLD

6. The following is a summary of key common components, specifically future work plan of three presentations by SNW, Together 2030 and GCAP.
a) Creating a streamlined information flow for effective monitoring and accountability of the SDGs;
b) Facilitating a bottom-up process to influence policies, from local to national to regional and global levels;
c) Adding value to local and national initiatives of civil society, especially those of the global South, by way of sharing of knowledge and experience of implementation and accountability and other means;
d) Working on awareness building and public mobilisation for issues related to the SDGs.
e) Establishing a governance structure to implement and coordinate the international activities.

7. Several participants expressed their concerns about those presentations from their own, mainly national perspectives while many others expressed their appreciation for the efforts made globally. Below is a summary of main points.
a) Sufficient information about SDGs was not available to many CSOs specially human
rights and environmental NGOs working at grassroots level in Asia;
b) Different civil society dynamics, specially the challenges CSO coordination at national, sub-regional and regional context were not sufficiently taken into consideration.
c) It was not easy to figure out the differences among those initiatives in terms of division of labour and complementarity as “singing the same lyrics to different tunes” quote from one participant.
d) Collective voices of Asian CSOs not sufficiently reflected in the global process

8. At the end of the discussion, we became concerned about the fact that regional or national CSOs like ADA and its members may face the difficult situation to choose one of them or all unless an effective coordination mechanism among them is established in time.

9. In view of the above, we would like to share with you the following concerns and proposaL
a) Any global CSO initiatives on coalition-building regarding the 2030 agenda / SDGs need to take into account the same principles of the 2030 Agenda such as universal, accountable, inclusive, comprehensive and transformative.
b) Maximum efforts need to be made to avoid duplication and ensure added-values and synergy among various initiatives.
c) Division of labour need to be taken into account in terms of different constituency, expertise and type of activities – information sharing, monitoring, mobilization and campaign, policy advocacy, representation, financial resource mobilization and funding, etc.
d) Decision on global coordination mechanisms need to be made in a timely manner as the governments and UN are moving fast to develop implementation modalities and national action plans at national and international levels.
e) Any governance structure need to take into account collective view of the national NGO platforms and regional CSOs like ADA and Asia Democracy Network (ADN), and their meaningful participation need to be ensured.

10. We would be very much grateful if you can continue to update us about future development so that we can continue to engage and contribute to the global process with our regional (Asia) perspectives and expertise.

11. We look forward to meeting you for further discussion in the global consultation process in particular during the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) in Bogota, late April 2016.

Source: Asia Development Alliance (ADA)