Thank you for this opportunity. To be part of the official delegation in these United Nations meetings is something us Finnish CSOs appreciate – it gives us a change to be in genuine contact with the state officials, give our opinions as well as to follow up the official meetings closely. This is especially important, as there are some recent trends and policies also in Finland to shrink CSO´s space. There is a functioning dialogue in Finland between the public sector and civil society. CSOs role might be as a serviceprovider, but most importantly civil society is engaging as propositionsmakers and watchdogs. Enabling the work of an independent, competent and active civil society everywhere is utmost important for the SDGs to be achieved.
Also us, civil society, have to take a new approach to multi-stakeholder partnerships within our own Agenda -work. In Finland we have started to build a new kind of coalition consisting organisations like trade unions, church and youth-, sports-, social- and development sector working both with national and global issues. It hasn´t been always easy – the most difficult part has perhaps been to convince the national actors about the universal spirit of the SDGs – it´s not anymore only about development aid, it´s also about issues related to the lives of common Finnish people.
This is a challenge both to government and other stakeholders – raising the awareness of the general public. Education should also support participation and global citizen skills that promote sustainable development. Civil society knows how to reach people. Let´s co-operate and make SDGs familiar to everyone.
P.S. The moderator of the meeting, who by the way wielded the event in a very warm and witty way, came to hug me afterwards apologizing for the happened. No hard feelings, after all I have you, the internet -audience.
Kirjoittaja osallistuu New Yorkissa 11.-20.7. pidettävään YK:n High Level Political Forumiin ulkoministeriön delegaation kansalaisjärjestöedustajana