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Over 30 representatives from International Civil Society Organisations gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh for the Leave No One Behind Annual Meeting between 2 – 3 May. The group focussed on the progress made in the project’s pilot countries* and developing a joint political message, for the high-level political forum, from the initial key findings.
The next phase of the project pilot will involve rolling out the projects unique data collaboration between country offices of ICSOs. The aim is to ensure the recognition and validation of community-based data in the official SDG implementation of the five pilot countries. This will achieve the project’s main target: to make sure that people’s voices are heard, understood and acted upon.
Wolfgang Jamann, International Civil Society Centre Executive Director, said:
“The SDGs were created in the spirit of “leaving no one behind”. This means that they will only be considered fulfilled if all goals are reached, for everyone – especially those who live at the margins of society.
“This project is about raising the voices of those marginalised people around the world. By bringing together the wealth of evidence that is being collected by international civil society organisations we can put their voices at the centre of SDG implementation.
“Collectively, as a coalition, we have made some huge strides since this project started last year. The project shows that when leading ICSOs connect, they can go beyond organisational limits. By collaborating, we stand a better chance of reaching the SDG targets in more places. That can only be a positive thing.”
Peter Koblowsky, Leave No One Behind Project Manager, said:
“I am really pleased with the progress we have made in the two days. Our next steps will focus on consolidating country-level experiences and findings. This will help us to refine our planned activities and develop a scaling-up strategy for the project to be carried out in an increased number of countries, thereby reaching more marginalised communities around the globe. In addition, the outcomes from Dhaka will be used to prepare a joint message to be delivered at the High Level Political Forum. I hope that our common effort will be a success, so that the voices of the most marginalised around the world will be heard and make a difference in the implementation of the SDGs.”
*Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Kenya and India
This paper is based on a statement by the BOND network of British development organisations and a discussion among international civil society organisations (ICSOs). The International Civil Society Centre Centre recommends that ICSOs use the statement as a basis for further developing and enforcing their ethical standards. We recommend that all ICSOs sign up to and implement the action points listed.
As organisations whose core aim is to help the most vulnerable people in the world, to secure human rights and protect the environment we must always confront and eradicate abusive behaviour and the misuse of power. When it comes from individuals within our own staff it is a
double betrayal, not just of the people we exist to serve, but of the people (staff, volunteers, supporters, donors) who work with extraordinary engagement to achieve our mission. There can be no tolerance for the abuse of power, privilege or trust by individuals within our organisations or in our work. Our utmost priority is to those victims and survivors of abuse – to atone for damage that has been done and to stand in solidarity with those women who have faced such injustice. We have an absolute duty to our staff, our supporters and, above all, the people we seek to help to ensure we do everything in our power to prevent, detect and eradicate unethical behaviour.
We take every necessary step to prevent any wrongs occurring and to respond quickly and decisively if they do – and we will deepen these efforts further. We also have a clear responsibility to ensure that the people we seek to serve are not the ones punished for our mistakes. The
widespread public outcry at this behaviour demonstrates that people feel profound compassion for those who need civil society organisations’ help. We must honour that drive, and the rights and needs of the communities with which we work, by continuing to provide vital support but also by constantly seeking to improve.
We are fully committed to being transparent and accountable towards the people we serve, our partners, supporters and the public at large. That is why we are collectively announcing the following series of urgent and immediate measures:
In taking these steps, we are also asking people to come forward to report unacceptable behaviour. We hope these measures send a clear message to those who experience or witness any form of abuse or have done so in the past – it is essential that they know we take their reports
seriously and that we will take action.
These actions are only the first step as, collectively and individually, we do everything possible to ensure that our organisations, our staff and our work meet the most fundamental principle for all civil society organisations – to do no harm. We are truly sorry that there have been occasions when this has not been the case. We must and will do better.