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Civil society gathers at UN to help shape new vision for global development, prosperity

India Blooms News Service | | 28 Aug 2014, 09:18 am
New York, Aug 28 (IBNS) Civil society converged on United Nations Headquarters in New York on Wednesday to make their voices heard regarding the future global development agenda that will point the way forward on a range of issues such as eradicating poverty, eliminating hunger and combating disease.

The 65th Annual UN Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations, on the theme “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,” brings together an unprecedented number of civil society members to discuss the way forward after the deadline for achieving the set of anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“All of you are raising your voices for our common values. I’m deeply encouraged by this unprecedented show of interest,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the opening session in a video message.

“I depend on NGOs to push world leaders along the right path. You understand that sovereignty carries responsibility. You know that political power is a sacred duty. And you have grassroots influence that can make history.”

He said that the UN is now poised to make “monumental decisions for our world,” noting that the MDGs have achieved unprecedented success, lifting more families out of poverty, putting more children in school and preventing more disease than any campaign ever.

“I thank you for contributing to these results. I call on you to intensify progress. And I count on you to help shape a new vision for sustainable development.”

In particular, the conference – a joint effort between the UN Department of Public Information and the Executive Committee of NGOs associated with DPI – will focus on the following areas: poverty eradication; sustainability; climate justice; human rights; and partnerships and accountability frameworks.

Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, told the gathering that the conference is both crucial and timely as it comes while Member States are negotiating the post-2015 development agenda.

“That new agenda will point the way forward on some of the biggest issues of our time, from eradicating poverty, eliminating hunger and combating disease to empowering women and girls, boosting health care, improving education, strengthening institutions, promoting rights, transforming economies, protecting the environment and tackling unsustainable production and consumption practices.

“Across this spectrum of opportunity and challenge, civil society needs to be heard more than ever before,” she stressed. “No discussion or negotiation of a post-2015 development agenda will succeed without your voices and input.”

This year’s conference is also timely, as it comes less than a month before the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, slated for 23 September, and the start of the General Debate of the 69th General Assembly one day later, when world leaders will gather to discuss, among other world priorities, the post-2015 development agenda.

“We are indeed gathered here at a critical time in the post-2015 process as the international community strives to achieve the Millennium Development Goals while formulating the post-2015 development agenda,” said the Acting Head of the Department of Public Information, Maher Nasser.

He added that 2015, which also marks the 70th anniversary since the establishment of the UN, is recognized as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for global action.

“DPI is co-hosting this conference because of the tremendous importance that the UN attaches to civil society,” said  Nasser. “We are committed to working with our NGO partners to ensure their voices are part of the conversation around all major global issues.”

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm