BWA Vice President Dr. Wajeeha Al-Baharna and Ms. Roya Tariq member of Environmental Citizenship program participated in Arab conference on Sustainable Development Agenda and role of civil society, which was held in Doha on 20th and 21st April 2016. This is considered the first event in the region to discuss the involvement of civil society organizations as a partner in achieving 2030 sustainable development goals. The two-day conference was organized by Qatar Social Work Foundation (QSWF) in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The conference aimed to provide a platform to generate dialogue in the region on the role of civil society in implementing the sustainable development agenda , in addition to monitoring the progress in achieving its goals and objectives , so as to arrive at practical and concrete recommendations on how to enable civil society in Arab countries to participate in influencing policies as they are an active partner in the implementation of the goals of sustainable development agenda.
The conference attracted major civil society organizations, regional development networks in the Arab region , and government agencies concerned with corporate governance and participation of civil society organizations in the Arab region , experts and specialists from the Arab region and the world and GCC representatives.
Discussions during the conference focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals to reach a roadmap to enhance participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Arab countries for planning and implementing those goals and the important role they will play during the next fifteen years to contribute with governments to achieve the desired development goals, and to monitor and follow up the implementation of the sustainable development agenda through governmental data sources and other sources such as data collected by citizens , and to analyze the results, and contribute in preparing stakeholder reports, all those documents are provided as inputs in the follow-up of national, regional and international reviews.
In turn; participants from civil society organizations also stressed the importance of amending laws and legislation that restrict their freedom and level of authority, giving them the necessary facilities to carry out their foreseen role , besides they pointed out the importance of building trust and bridging the gap between civil society organizations and official institutions, and that CSOs should be considered as active partner for development not a competitor, and that achieving the 2030 sustainable development agenda requires activation of true partnership between the three parties namely civil society , public sector and the private sector.