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Report- GALA Central Asia - Almaty (10-12 December, 2018)

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Writer secretariat Date Created19-02-20 18:19 count303 Reply0

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Mission report
Kazakhstan GALA

ADA organized three days national capacity building workshop for CSs from Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) from 10 to 12th December, 2018 at Almaty, Kazakhstan. The selection of the day was ironical since 10th December is also celebrated as the World’s Human Rights Day and this year it marked the 70th Anniversary of UN General assembly’s adaptation to Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The training also focused on linking human rights with development (SDGs) since the advocates of both (HR and development) work in silo.

The event was attended by officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNESCAP, Almaty, office apart from approximately 30 civil society participants from the five central Asian countries. Ms Kaisha Atakhanova from ARGO talked about ADA expertise on SDGs in the capacity building during her opening remark.
 And opening up to link with sub regional, regional and global level. She also mentioned about the UN ESCAP sub-regional forum in Tbilisi, Georgia, earlier and how the CSOs came together to discuss SDGS through that platform. She also mentioned that its time to start working on the SDGs though monitoring the implementation at the national level.

The official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Kazakhstan highlighted the importance of 10th December as the World’s Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of UN declaration on Human Rights. She further mentioned that Kazakhstan is a participant and members of all the international treaties, and the country has supported the SDGs by sticking to the compliance, which are also imbibed in their national policies. She added that CSOs have a great role to play in promoting and achieving the promotion of human rights, including the preparation of the Voluntary national review report on SDGs in the country which will eventually result in sustainable and political sustainability in the country.
She further added that all 5 thematic working groups have been established and the stakeholders include the UN institutions, CSOs , ministries well-coordinated by the  MoFA by recognizing their contribution to the implementation of VNRs implementation in the country.
MoFA is always been supportive in all the collaboration.
The UNESAP official from the Kazakhstan national office acknowledged the works and contribution of ARGO and the great role of the CSOs. He added that today we have the agenda 2030, that contains 17 SDGs and this agenda is to be implemented and achieved by all the UN states. Speaking about the implementation of SDGs , he said that at the sub  region level  , central Asia, southern Caucasus and Russia and Afghanistan are covered by the UN ESCAP.
He further mentioned about the UN ESCAP meeting with the government official and other stakeholders on 10-12 of December, in Astana, was being organized. He said that the meeting was going to highlight the preparation of Voluntary National Reporting of Kazakhstan for High Level Political Forum, 2019. He added that a special UN publication will be dedicated on ensuring equality and freedom, for the whole Asia and Pacific region. This issue will be discussed in APFSD in Bangkok
He also acknowledged that the voice of CSOs is heard effectively at the sub-regional and the regional levels in Asia and the, ESCAP like any other UN bodies welcomes to actively collaborating with the CSOs in the process.
 He further added the UN ESCAP calendar which will be important to see the ESCAP’s forthcoming events. Lastly, he acknowledged the importance of this three days workshop which will become the foundation for collaboration with the CSOs at the regional level and later at the global level during HLPF.

Anselmo LEE, ADA advisor and the main resource person for the three days’ workshop Introduced the program and the list of participants. He highlighted that it’s the first time that ADA is also venturing in Central Asia and hence we become truly Asia. He invited the participants from all the five central Asian participants to make presentation on National CSO coalition and SDGs implementation.


Kyrgyzstan

There are several organizations in the Kyrgyzstan to work on monitoring and evaluation (M&E), who are working with the parliamentarians and they also have a working group on SDGs. Then there is already a human rights movement in the country with focus on Freedom of association and freedom of assembly. There was an international festival in Kyrgyzstan and in 2018, the festival was coincided with 70 the HR declaration.
The political arena for the CSOs are-equality and non-discrimination within the framework of human rights.
Overall, since independence, there have been various social political revolution in 2004, 2010, however, they could not impact the CSOs.
The parliamentarians drafted a law on Foreign funding, which made difficult for the organizations to survive. The hate speech further worsened the situation for the CSOs in the country especially the organizations which had focus on on social and political project, and human rights. In 2016, however, the national partners and the various networks of CSOs protested against it and the law was re-drafted and reversed.
They hope
On the 4th of oct they won the case on the right of peaceful assembly. This is the sign of CSOs efficiency and their goals are not restricted by any authority. They have legal framework to work on.  Then there is a law on the state procurement, which implies that ministry will allocate the funding, they developed the model, and last year they (CSOs) developed a model of evaluation with the ministry of education.
The CSOs believe that the SDGs will be implemented within the framework of social contacts especially on the rights of discrimination against the under-privileged groups.
Now the CSOs are working to promote the equality, program on inter-ethnic relationship, there is a platform and political will.

Tajikistan
There is a coalition of 39 CSOs for legal equality
Legal equality to actual equality was created in 2008 which started with the issue on discrimination against women.
The network not only They deal with the gender issues, and also represent the 30 organization that communicate with the states and work on the issues on environment, legal and other. However, another legal implication on the CSOs is mandatory to have websites , sadly not many NGOs have one or they cannot afford
On the issues of SDGs in the recent years, the CSO representatives have participated in regional forum in Geneva.
Uzbekistan
Starting 2007, Uzbekistan is upgraded to a new level of changes, in February 2017, the president announced the strategy until 20121 in 5 areas.
To mark the occasion a virtual reception room was created earlier where the CSOs started sharing the issues of restricted data sharing, based on those grievance, the draft action plan for 5 years by the government. It was for the first time in the history when the public discussion for one month and the CSOs were able to discuss the strategy.
These action plans are reviewed every year. Summing up, the CSO sector receives good and active support from the government.

Turkmenistan

The environment NGO is the third largest and the oldest in Turkmenistan founded in 1968 together with the state committee on nature’s protection. They are also working with ARGO on development of the CSOs as well apart from working on nature’s protection since 2012.
Part from them, there are together 120 NGOs operating in the country.

The CSOs are working united with the government and the government in turn have introduced many regulatory laws which according to the CSOs are beneficial for them.

law on social procurement., law on mass gathering, the law on freedom of religious expression passed in 2016, after that over 5 organizations were registered, law on registration on NGOs (where the CSOs engaged in the commercial activities, needs to be registered, where  the profit generated t be used for the main objective of the NGOs.
charity organizations and international organizations also needs to be legalized.
There is a need to develop capacity building for activities, looking at neibouring countries experience, related to the social needs of the courtiers.
There is a catalog of registered organization that does not require any verification.
Resolution of the president on SDGs, a working group was created combining the  65 ministries and NGOs.

Kazakhstan,

There is a specific group of NGO which is involved in the SDGs issues with the government , otherwise, NGOs are not much involved on SDGs development and promotion with hardly any translation available in Russian or Kazakh language.
MoFA has been established as the focal point to get involved in the VNR, however, so far there is no mechanism to engage the NGOs in the VNR.
Regarding NGOs registration, 27000, NGOs are registered in Kazakhstan, however, only 500 are fully functional in the country. The NGO sector works in collaboration with the public development.
In the last 5 years, the NGOs sector had opportunities to express the opinion, however, their recommendations are yet to be heard. There are national action plan on Human Rights that is imbibed in  2016-2020 plan, with focus on SDGs 6 and 16,
Apart from this, there is a coalition of NGO against torture for child. Also, the sector works closely on human rights with the UN.
Next year Kazakhstan will be presenting on torture against Children in the UN.
They are also preparing the shadow report on discrimination against women.

Presentation on National CSO platform toolkit

The presentation was made by the ADA coordinator, Jyotsna Mohan based on the previous presentation by CSO colleagues from the five countries of central asia. The presention began with the definition of a NGO CSO coalition “NGO Coalition could be defined as a category of CSOs working on various thematic groups, assembled together in a coordinated way as members of an identified structured coalition  formally or informally on the basis of a common purpose and seeking changes to government policies and practices or to national/international laws.”

Key elements for a coalition are:
• Organizational Capabilities
• Flexible structure
• Understand the need for leadership and committed workers
• Always have an action plan and deadlines, with outcome-oriented meetings
• Communication, communication and more communication
• Follow-up and follow through
• Provide expertise and documentation
• Articulate goals and messages clearly and simply
• Focus on the human cost
• Use as many forums as possible to promote the message
• Be inclusive, be diverse, yet speak with one voice
• Recognise that international context and timing do matter

Common Characteristics of a CSO Coalition

A Membership
The basic characteristic of all global civil society coalitions is the membership:
• A coalition’s membership might include a handful of organisations or several hundred.
• Members might sign up to a charter with specific duties and responsibilities, or the affiliation might simply require endorsement of a common call.
• Members are usually organisations rather than individuals, but there are often ways to include individuals in the coalition in one way or another.
A Common Call for Change
Global civil society coalitions come together in order to change practice, policy and sometimes laws at the global level:
• This purpose is usually expressed as a call or mission statement and endorsing it is often the core requirement for becoming a coalition member.
• This joint call is often the subject of negotiation among the members; it can be detailed or very broad but in any case it sets the parameters of the coalition’s work.
A Leadership
Many coalitions have in place a leadership to guide the policy and planning of the coalition and help facilitate the activities of the membership
• The roles and responsibilities of the leadership vary greatly among coalitions.
• Terms used to refer to the role of a coalition leadership include: advisory, governance, steering, executive, strategy and management.
• Terms used to describe the structure include: council, committee, board and group.
• Leaderships groups are either elected or appointed. Staff members are often employed to work on behalf of the coalition. Sometimes staff will be part of the leadership group and sometimes they may have a more administrative role.
A Common Plan to Achieve Change
There is often a general plan of action to achieve the global change that the coalition seeks.
• Depending on the level of coherence within the coalition, this plan might be more or less detailed at the global level.
• It could be a set of objectives on which to lobby governments through a campaign of global meetings, or it could be a more detailed analysis of the power dynamics and political targets among decision makers at the international level.
• Members will often determine the best way to effect change in their own national or regional context.
A Collective Identity
Coalitions often promote a collective identity for themselves.
• This can include a name, slogan, logo and visual identity.
• Individual member organisations may communicate on behalf of the coalition, or identify themselves as members when undertaking specific actions, such as talking to governments or the media.

Benefits of the CSO Coalition

• The desire to maximise NGO influence on advocacy targets in different countries, including helping activists overcome obstacles at a national level by drawing on international support.
• The need to make the most of scarce human and financial resources and to avoid duplication of effort among NGOs working on similar issues.
• The desire to ensure effective communications among key NGO actors working on a particular issue and to pool the expertise available to NGOs.
• The desire to avoid NGO disunity on an issue. Opponents will be all too willing to exploit differences in opinion among NGOs in order to undermine the overall goal being pursued.
Starting a new Coalition : Issues , Challenges and Opportunities
Its very important to think and discuss with the like-minded people and groups before starting a new CSO coalition. This also depends on the urgency of the issues , common agenda for the united action that needs to be advocated or linked to other regional and global platforms and institutions and also have the ability to connect  with governments and intergovernmental organisations like the UN.
This also explains the need to build a coalition. The coalition should not be made, just because a set of like minded people want to establish a new network. This will have its own sustainability issues once the ideas and logic of building the coalition fizzles out.

Followed by the presentation, there were Question on legitimacy of voices heard through the coalition, Could there be a standalone coalition.
 It was commonly agreed that there is a need to have our collective voices heard at national, regional and global level and coalitions indeed plays an important role as the collective
recommendations are heard by the UN and the policy makers.
There were questions and doubts, as English is the commonly used language at the regional and the global level and those who are not very proficient in the language can be part of the coalition and hence there are assurance that the local voices will be heard and taken to the regional and the global level.


Day 2

Day two, began with the review of day one by the participants and then linking with the day -2 activities. Anselmo Lee, the main resource person and ADA advisor, made the presentation on SDG 16 and linking it with peace and justice.
He highlighted that coalition is important to have integration of human rights with the development and advised the NGO to avoid working in Silos. He added that 2018 is the 6th year of GALA training and the highlgh has been linking SDGS with human rights and peace including three pillars of SDGs economic, social and environment.
Later, he showed connection and sequencing among 17 SDGs through SDGs story telling exercise and made the participants practiced. The participants made small presentation during the SDGs story telling exercise.

He also narrated the SDG 16 approaches, which are:
• peaceful: Peace-building and Sustaining Peace, PBC
• Just : human rights-based approach, OHCHR, HRC, etc. 
• Inclusive : ‘Leave no one behind’, UNDP, OECD, IDLO, etc.

Further, the goal 16 and their targets were linked to various human rights, for example, 16.6 is liked with Good governance (WB) , Democratic governance (UNDP), Effective institution (OECD) and so on.

In his next presentation, he addressed the UDHAR and it’s key words. H mentioned the three key words from article 1 (Freedom, Equality and Fraternity/Brotherhood) taken from the French revolution of 1798 and similarly all the key words from 30 articles were liked and sequenced in order for the participants to grasp easily. He further added that the first part of UDHR are political while the second part id more economic and social. He also mentioned that UDHR was born out of WW-II in Europe with the key words like Asylum, nationality, freedom of movement
Later, all the 30 articles were linked with SDGs goals.
Output: reality about the life from the perspective of HR and development

Eg, climate change was never imagined in the UDHR.
Article did talk about article 28.
Goal 16 is civil and political righ1-15-econmic, social and environmental rights.
 

Day 3

Day 3 began with the review of Day 1 and 2 and followed by SDGs monitoring and review process at the national level. Jyotsna Mohan, ADA Coordinator, made a presentation on VNR process at the national level and CSOs engagement in the process since 2016. She also explained how there are some good , bad ad worse examples of CSOs enagagmen in the VNR process sin last 3 years. The good example are Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia etc. where the level of CSO enagagement in the process has been good and their inputs were solicited in the official VNR process while the not so good example like, India, where the engagement has not been good .
She also explained the ways and means to get connected at the national level VNR process and how the engagement with the government is important since SDGs provide an opportunities to work closely with the government and other stakeholders including the UN institutions. She also explained the need of capacity building on SDGs as the bigger mass yet to know about the SDGs.
Later there were many questions from the floor after showing the web VNR presentation from Tajikistan in 2018:
The questions:
• the ministers applaud each other in the UN is very critical,
• what is the guarantee that all CSO reports and their recommendations are followed and taken into account,
• what is the follow up of the VNR.
• Where the shadow reprts are presented and documented.

Later Anselmo LEE, explained the difference between the VNR and the UPR process, whereas in the VNR (New York) approximately 25 minutes are given to each country including the presentation and and the question answer rouds from the stakeholders. On the other hand, approximately, 3.5 hrs. are dedicated to one country presentation including the question answer session during the UPR (Geneva), which is more co-herent and systematic in nature.

Strategic Planning

 




UN SDGs and Human Rights



SDGs Human Rights
Origin UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (MDGs (2000-2015)and Rio (1992-2012) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) and 9 HR Treaties
Contents 17 Goals, 169 Targets, 232 Indicators (5 Pillars) 30 Articles, 9 HR Treaties
Political
Body High-level Political Forum (HLPF) UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
Venue and Dates New York
July for 10 days Geneva,
Mar., June and Sept. for 10 weeks
Monitoring Mechanisms Voluntary National Review (VNR) since 2016 Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
UN Secretariat UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Established HLPF 2013
VNR 2016 HRC 2006 
UPR 2008 
Civil Society Questions at VNR Stake-holder report

Can we bring HR into SDGs to strengthen this.
SDGs with human rights angle, unfortunately UN fragmentation, Geneva/Newyork.
OHCHR website

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SDGS/Pages/The2030Agenda.aspx
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