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#withSyria

GCAP has joined with more than 110 other civil society networks and organisations to call for a peaceful resolution to the violence in Syria.

Three years after a brutal crackdown and civil war have forced 9 million Syrians - some 40% of the country's population - from their homes and killed at least 100,000 more, civil society activists across the globe held #withSyria peace vigils to show their support for the Syrian people.

From Za'atari - the largest Syrian refugee camp in Jordan - to New York, Khartoum, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Melbourne and London's Trafalgar Square, people lit candles, uploaded photos and released red balloons, a symbol of 'There is Always Hope' popularised by the British graffiti artist, Banksy.

G20 Updates and Consulations

The Civil G20 (C20) is asking for input on several G20 topics, including infrastructure, climate financing, education and growth.  The deadline though is 12 March.  

Below are links and information from the C20 Secretariat as well as a number of resources that we hope you find useful, including analysis, calenders, dossiers about the B20 and L20 and more.

From the C20

On the C20 Conversations site, you can help shape civil society’s recommendations to the G20 for a more inclusive and sustainable global economy.

The second round of discussion topics is now open for comment until Wednesday 12 March:

SDG Focus Areas & Indicators | Provide Feedback to the OWG

Following the completion of eight 'information sessions' on a variety of themes over the course of nearly one year, the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals has published a list of 19 “Focus Areas”, while another group commissioned by Ban Ki-moon has put out a list of possible SDG Indicators.

The OWG co-chairs (from Hungary and Kenya) write that the focus areas do not constitute a 'zero-draft' of the OWG's upcoming report, but that UN member states should use this document as a basis to identify SDGs and accompanying targets.

From now through 14 March, you can provide input on the overall document or specific focus areas on the WorldWeWant2015 portal. We're told that these submissions will be shared with the members of the Open Working Group.

Here's a complete list of the 19 Focus Areas:

Post-2015: The Istanbul Meeting

Fifty people from six continents representing 30 organisations adn platforms, incluing GCAP, gathered in Istanbul at the end of February, in a meeting convened by CIVICUS with the financial support of the United Nations, to discuss Post-2015 campaigning and explore possibilities of joint action.

CIVICUS Secretary-General Danny Sriskandarajah writes that the meetings "have the potential to transform the role of civil society in the post-2015 process".

Other participants and observers aren't so sure. They point to a lack of gender and regional balance in the room as well as an outcome document, a "meta-narrative" called The Istanbul Text, that does not seem to go far enough on many of the key Post-2015 issues identified by GCAP, Social Watch and others.

The Istanbul document envisions a "flotilla approach" in which different organisations have their own messages but are all pointing in the same direction.

Climate Change, Dams and Deforestation: The Bolivian Tragedy

By Carmen Capriles

I must share with you a little of the grief that we are suffering here in Bolivia over the past month.

Bolivia has endured the worst wet season in years, despite the fact that this has been caused by neither an El Nino or La Nina weather pattern.

58,000 families have already been affected, including 80% of the indigenous people living in the lowlands of the Amazonian forest.  At least 56 people have been killed.

Let's be clear. This is not just an act of Mother Nature. There are three major causes:

  • Climate Change
  • The Dams in Brazil
  • Deforestation

  

 

 

BRICS: The Club in the Club

The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – risk losing their international credibility if they don't behave as responsible donors, writes GCAP Russia co-chair Vitaliy Kartamyshev.

These five countries produce about 20% of the world's economic output and account for a growing percentage of official development assistance. But it's clear that the BRIC have “fewer scruples” about how this aid impacts human rights, democracy, women and ethnic minorities.

At a minimum, the BRICS should adopt a set of guiding principles to ensure that they do not uphold political regimes that impoverish communities, exploit natural resources and undermine the development prospects of recipient countries.

In an article originally published by the Heinrich Boell Foundation as part of a series of G20 updates, Kartamyshev also argues that decisions by the BRICS, G20, G8 and other such clubs are poorly understood by the country's citizens and even the media. Civil society networks and movements have a role to play here – through education and adding to the political discourse.

The Uruguayan Experience - A Letter to Civil Society and the UN

At a time when inequality is growing across the globe, Uruguay has managed to dramatically reduce poverty and inequality over the past decade.  It now has the most equal income distribution in Latin America.

The country is also working to generate 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio writes that the Uruguayan experience shows that "there are, indeed, viable alternatives to the classical neoliberal formulas" which can be models for the Post-2015 agenda.

Following the 2002 economic crisis, Uruguay chose not to follow the austerity path recommended by multilateral institutions and instead promoted decent work and a social safety net through

  • emergency cash transfers
  • active state participation in the economy to promote growth
  • collective bargaining that led to salary increases and
  • enforcing labour rights for rural and domestic workers.

Instead of repelling investors, Uruguay's Labour Minister told a recent global gathering of civil society activists in Montevideo that the policies boosted economic growth and coincided with a peak in foreign greenfield investment.

Building Post-2015 from the Grassroots

Despite lip service and some efforts to the contrary, international organisations and campaigners rarely manage to really build an agenda from the grassroots.

That's the conclusion of veteran activist Olivier Consolo, a GCAP supporter who served as the director of the European NGO confederation CONCORD from 2003 - 2013.

"We mainly encourage local movements and organisations to input our own international agenda or to join our global campaign . . . it is unlikely that we propose to local leaders and movements to support their processes or to co-build joint action."

Instead, as we work on the Post-2015 agenda, Consolo proposes an alternative course . . .

First, we must make explicit two important assumptions: