Salt Lake City, USA. The 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference was held at Salt Lake City, Utah, USA from 26 to 28 August, with the theme, BUILDING INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLECITIES AND COMMUNITIES. This conference is known as United Nation’s leading event in the civil society calendar. Annually, it brings together representatives of civil society from around the world, and senior UN officials, to discuss a wide range of solutions to the challenges of the modern world and the planet. The 2019 Conference in Salt Lake City is the first time the event is held in the United States soil outside of United Nations, New York. Around 4,000 representatives of the civil society organizations and large number of youths have participated in the three-day event.
The Fondazione Proclade Internazionale onlus (FPI onlus), the Claretian Presence at the UN represented the Claretians at the Conference. Fr. Macillamani Gaspar from the Province of USA-Canada and Fr. Rohan Dominic participated in the conference. FPI onlus has co-sponsored a side event which was organized by the Vivat International under the title, “Integrating Migrants into Inclusive, Sustainable and peaceful Communities.”
This conference took place especially at a time when civic space is shrinking and under growing pressure worldwide and at the UN. The United Nations will celebrate its 75th year of foundation in 2020 and the Civil society is calling for a meaningful process of stocktaking, review and strengthening of the multilateral system at the UN.
The outcome document of the Conference was prepared by the participation of around 5000 persons from 138 countries all over the world and adopted during the conference. The document articulates UN Civil Society’s specific goal to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030 and highlighted the importance of inclusivity, peace, family, education, youth, and the empowerment of women and girls.
The young people played a major role in this year’s conference and they drafted a separate outcome document, the ‘Salt Lake City Youth Climate Compact’ and it was adopted in the closing session of the conference.
The Youth Compact contains twenty-five action points, from confronting policies that are harming the environment, to educating communities on the impacts of lifestyle choices, and prioritizing environmentally friendly transport options, such as walking, cycling or public transport. The youth declared, “Through this collective agreement, we strive to harness the power of the youth to build a future that is certain and free of the devastation of the climate crisis.”