The year 2010 marks a number of key milestones in international development. It is the 20th anniversary of the launch of the UNDP Human Development Report, the ten-year review of the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals, as well as “Beijing + 15.” Together they present the United Nations with an important occasion to engage in strategic partnership with civil society to advance civic engagement, which is vital to the UN’s human development mission. Since its definition in the 1990s as a process of enlarging people’s choices, human development has focused attention on the goals of development, and is thus a precursor to the MDGs.
These reviews take place at a time of global financial crisis and turmoil, worldwide loss of livelihoods, and rising concerns over hunger, water resources, and accelerating climate change. All this has given rise to a deep questioning of the role of global governance institutions and the United Nations in particular, as seen from the perspective of a myriad of stakeholders, especially citizens and civil society. It is increasingly clear that while governments are still the paramount authorities at the national level, they cannot alone resolve today’s global problems. An ever widening array of actors — civil society, communities, local action networks, social entrepreneurs, local authorities, parliamentarians and corporations — is seeking a role in defining development priorities and contributing to solutions, thus reshaping multilateralism as it is traditionally understood
Civil society, whose influence in the global arena has been transformed by the forces and logic of globalization, is integral to the future vision of a revitalized multilateralism. It seeks a strong UN role in contributing to solutions to the multiple crises of today, especially since the global downturns could mean major setbacks to reducing extreme poverty, as well as progress towards the other MDGs. There are already calls, from a number of governments, as well as civil society and other non-state actors, for a new multilateralism to deal with such turmoil – one that focuses attention on the poorest, emphasizes a more flexible financial network, and maximizes the strengths of public, private and civil society organizations, along with the United Nations. Many see the current crises as an opportunity to transform global governance and re-prioritise human development.
Against this background, UNDP will mobilize Platform HD2010, as a forum to develop a vision for the next decade that actively involves a range of civil society actors for an outward looking multilateralism reinforcing civic engagement and human development. UNDP envisages the platform as a space in which it can engage with civil society actors at multiple levels and areas to generate critical debate and perspectives on the emerging vision of an inclusive multilateralism, governance and accountability, and civic engagement in human development and the Millennium Development Goals. Specifically, Platform HD2010 will:
The programme, for an initial period of two years, will focus on inclusive partnerships with national civil society actors, with the objective of strengthening national ownership by broadening country-level policy dialogue on multilateralism, human development and the MDGs.