Claretians engage in the 68th UN Civil Society Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

May 23, 2024 | UN Presence

Nairobi, Kenya. The 68th UN Civil Society Conference 2024 was a major event held from 9 to 10 May at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), Kenya. A team of five Claretians took part in the conference. It brought together 3,600 participants from 2,650 civil society organisations, along with 400 representatives from 64 governments, 7 international NGOs, 37 UN agencies and 100 media reporters. Notably, 70% of participants were from Africa and 40% were young people aged 18-34, marking the first time the conference was held in the Global South.

The conference was themed ‘Summit of the Future’ and aimed to make meaningful progress ahead of the next Summit in New York in September. On the opening day, 9 May, 37 workshops took place on the ground, focusing on the 5 chapters of the proposed Pact for the Future. Discussions focused on civil society recommendations for the Pact, the Declaration on Future Generations and the Global Digital Compact.

The five-member Claretian team was strategically divided to cover the various workshop tracks on the first day and the relevant ImPact Coalition sessions on the second day. This was the first UN meeting for both Franco Torres and Kenneth Opara.

Before and after the conference, the Claretian delegation convened meetings to strategise their approach to engagement and to evaluate their participation. In the post-conference meeting on 11 May, they reflected on the main lessons learned, formulated plans for sustained engagement in the run-up to the Summit, and outlined participation in the consultations on the Pact for the Future and related documents.

Franco Torres, impressed by his first experience at the UN, remarked: “To love the world as our Father Claret does requires deepening relations with social organisations and movements, learning from their good practices and seeking a new multilateralism so that all power serves life”.

Earlier, the Claretian delegation, together with religious representatives from New York (RUN) participating in the UN Civil Society Conference, had the privilege of meeting Dr Iyad Abumoghli, Director of Faith for Earth, UNEP, at the UNON Nairobi on 8 May. The meeting was both enlightening and motivating, providing valuable insights and inspiration.

The Claretians had a strong delegation at the conference with the following members:

– Kenneth Opara – Independent Delegation of West Nigeria

– Franco Torres – Independent Delegation of Democratic Republic of Congo & Coordinator of SOMI ACLA

– Antonio Llamas – JPIC General Secretary, Rome  

– Robert Omondi – Prefect of Apostolate, Claretian Representative to UNEP, Nairobi

– Rohan Dominic – Coordinator, Claretian Team at the UN

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