Civil society to be involved in implementing SDGs in Fiji

Civil society organizations, key government stakeholders and technical experts, participated today in discussions on the post-2015 development agenda and the role civil society plays in meeting the objectives of this new development agenda. Guided by lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) process, a draft set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) have been proposed as part of the post-2015 development agenda which will be approved at a special summit in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2015. 

The consultation focused on how small island developing states (SIDS) like Fiji, can localize and contextualize the new development goals. Participants addressed how civil society and government actors can ensure wider public understanding of the post-2015 development agenda and work together to ensure proper alignment with Fiji’s needs and local context.

Opening the event UNDP Pacific Centre Manager, Peter Batchelor said: “The purpose of today’s consultation is to raise awareness about the new SDGs amongst CSOs in Fiji and to start thinking about the role of civil society in implementing the SDGs in partnership with the government of Fiji.”

“The global development agenda that replaces the MDGs must put people at the center of sustainable development,” stated Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “For Fiji and all SIDS, the Samoa Pathway or the SIDS conference outcome document reflects Fiji’s priorities and represents the SDGs contribution towards the post-2015 development agenda.”

Ambassador Andrew Jacobs, Head of Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific said that: “The EU remains strongly committed. We believe that global challenges require a new global partnership to achieve a truly transformative agenda. Nobody should be left behind”.

The consultation was facilitated by the Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Fiji Initiative (SCEFI), a three-year project implemented by UNDP and funded by the European Union. The project supports civil society and local government actors in their efforts to advance public dialogue on a variety of development issues. In a newly democratic Fiji, enhanced levels of civic engagement coupled with constructive relations between government and civil society organizations can ensure that Fiji’s development pathway is inclusive, equitable and sustainable.