This week, member states, civil society and UN representatives met to discuss the linkages between two of the major policy discussions at the UN at the moment: the Sustainable Development agenda and the Sustaining Peace agenda. The High Level Dialogue "Building Sustainable Peace for All" was arranged by the President of the General Assembly and was scheduled to last all Tuesday January 24, but continued through Wednesday due to high interest among member states - many of them represented by foreign ministers - in contributing to the general debate. Only two civil society representatives had been selected to speak at the high level part of the debate, both women from the African continent whose work combine development, conflict prevention and women's rights. See the full agenda and list of speakers here and see GPPAC's tweets from the debate here.
The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, co-facilitated by GPPAC and the Quaker UN's Office (QUNO) in partnership with UN's Department of Political Affairs (DPA), hosted a side-event to the High Level Dialogue to provide more time for discussion about how civil society can work with the UN on leveraging the twin agendas to advance conflict prevention. Nigerian Joy Onyesoh from Women's International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) who also spoke at the high level dialogue shared her experiences on women, peace and security grassroots work and Bridget Moix from Peacedirect in Washington DC talked about her how international actors can support local conflict prevention work. David Steven from Center for International Cooperation (NYU-CIC) gave examples of how the prevention agenda is reflected beyond Goal 16 and throughput the sustainable development agenda and Stephen Jackson from DPA analysed the challenges in fostering more cooperation between the UN's efforts on the two agendas. The discussion was moderated by Cedric de Coning from ACCORD/NUPI and the substantial audience of UN and civil society actors and member states demonstrated the current high interest in both conflict prevention and sustainable development.