A Seat at the Table
Canadian Civil Society & Youth Join Canada at UN
July 13, 2017 – Two Canadian civil society representatives and two youth delegates will participate in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development alongside the government of Canada this week in New York City (July 10th – 19th). The Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation (ICN) has advocated for months for the inclusion of civil society and youth on the official Canadian delegation. The participation of these four delegates is a result of this advocacy.
The nine day forum brings together a diversity of heads of state, dignitaries, and representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world, to engage with this year’s theme, “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world,”which includes a revision of 6 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs and indicators, adopted as part of the 2030 Global Agenda, comprise the international community’s ambitious global framework that will guide global, regional and domestic policy in order to tackle the world’s most pressing issues, including poverty, inequality and climate change.
A network of eight councils, representing nearly 400 CSOs from coast to coast to coast, the ICN has worked in ensuring that the voices of youth and Canadian CSOs are part of Canada’s international development conversations. This initiative is in line with the Government of Canada’s focus on youth and commitment to engaging and mobilizing Canadians as global citizens. Selected for their commitment to and expertise in sustainable development work, the four representatives will equip the Canadian delegation with the important perspectives of youth and CSOs, whose involvement in the SDGs has been recognized as essential to their achievement.
Representing Canadian CSOs are Deborah Glaser, Senior Policy Analyst for the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC), and Adil Skalli, Project Officer at the United Nations Association in Canada.
Deborah joins the delegation with over 15 years experience working in sustainable development and climate change, which includes liaising between BCCIC member organizations and the provincial and federal government to ensure effective Canadian international development policy, managing the policy engagement arm of BC 2030 – an initiative to promote provincial and municipal engagement with the SDGs. Follow her on Twitter at: @BCCIC
Based in Ottawa, CSO delegate Adil Skalli oversees a variety of the UNA Canada’s youth-oriented educational programming in diplomacy, entrepreneurship, negotiation and climate change action. He is passionate about the work of the UN, notably in terms of the SDGs and their related projects, and is particularly motivated to promote youth engagement in the resolution of international issues and the promotion of sustainable development. Follow Adil on Twitter at: @AdilSkalli
The ICN is also excited to welcome youth delegates Marilyn Verghis and Morrell Andrews, recent university graduates with a passion for global issues. Marilyn Verghis’ advocacy for the advancement of social justice and sustainable international development has led to her leadership on the youth advisory council for the federal Member of Parliament of Brampton-North, the Board of Directors of Equal Voice Canada, and the United Nations InterAgency Network for Youth Development’s Gender Working Group. Over the course of her studies, delegate Morrell Andrews, has travelled to 20 countries, was internationally recognized for her research on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, interned for the U.S. State Department reporting on human trafficking trends and at Global Affairs Canada in European trade relations as well as North American advocacy, and served as a Fellow at the Mosaic. Follow Morell on Twitter at @morrellandrews
The ICN welcomes the Government of Canada’s recognition of the key role that CSOs and youth must play in achieving SDGs. The ICN will continue to advocate for the participation of CSOs and global citizens at national and international fora to create space for the voice and contribution of partners, and development practitioners to local and global policy and practice.
*Editor’s Note: While Canada is not submitting a Voluntary National Review (VNR) this year, BCCIC’s new report “Where Canada Stands,” evaluates Canada’s progress on the goals under review at HLPF. The report provides a civil society perspective on Canadian SDG progress, opportunities for improvement, and recommendations on where indicators need to be adjusted to a Canadian context to facilitate future reporting.